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HMS Arabis (K73)

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Name  HMS Arabis
Ordered  19 September 1939
Laid down  30 October 1939
Construction started  30 October 1939
Length  62 m
Displacement  852,800 kg
Builder  Harland and Wolff
Namesake  Arabis
Yard number  1058
Completed  5 April 1940
Launched  14 February 1940
Weight  955.1 tons
Draft  3.51 m
HMS Arabis (K73) wwwnavsourceorgarchives12120906501jpg

HMS Arabis was a Flower-class corvette of the Royal Navy. Originally ordered for the French Navy in the early days of the war, the ship was commissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Arabis. She was transferred to the United States Navy in 1942, serving as USS Saucy. Returned to the United Kingdom in 1945, she was recommissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Snapdragon.


World War II service

Arabis was built at Harland & Wolff, Belfast, as part of the 1939 War Emergency Programme for the Royal Navy. One of the early Flower class corvettes, she was ordered on 19 September 1939, and laid down a month later. She was launched on 14 February 1940 and completed on 5 April 1940.

Royal Navy

After working up, Arabis was assigned to the Western Approaches Escort Force for service as a convoy escort. In this role Arabis was engaged in all the duties performed by escort ships; protecting convoys, searching for and attacking U-boats which attacked ships in convoy, and rescuing survivors. During this period she fought in several convoy battles. In September 1940 Arabis was part of the force escorting convoy OB 216, which lost four ships and in October with OB 229 which lost two. The same month she was with the ill-fated HX 79 which lost twelve ships in a matter of hours. In May 1941 Arabis was part of the force escorting HX 126, which lost seven ships sunk, and in June with HX 133 which saw six ships sunk and one U-boat destroyed.

During her two years service in the Battle of the Atlantic Arabis escorted 47 Atlantic and 11 Gibraltar convoys, assisting in the safe passage of over 2,000 ships, though some were subsequently lost.

US Navy

Whilst at Belfast in April 1942 she was transferred to the United States Navy under Reverse Lend Lease, one of ten Flower-class corvettes to be so transferred during 1942. After escorting a convoy to Halifax, Nova Scotia she sailed to Boston for refitting. Following this she escorted ships between Trinidad and Barbados. In September was transferred to the Trinidad-Guantanamo Bay convoy route and in January 1943 was changed again, to the Trinidad-Recife, route. She returned to North Atlantic convoy duties in March 1944 and was decommissioned from the United States Navy at Chatham, England in August 1945.

Post-war service

Recommissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Snapdragon, she was sold in 1946.

Mercantile service

She worked as the merchant vessel SS Katina and in 1950 was renamed SS Tewfik.


HMS Arabis (K73) Wikipedia