Service Record
H.M.S. POPPY
March 1942 - October 1944

The photographs are courtesy of Chris Drage and are from John Beardmore, former navigating officer of HMS Poppy.

March 42

Aberdeen: Built by Alexander Hall.
Commissioning Lieut. N. K. Boyd R.N.R. in command..
Tobermoray: (H.M.S. Western Isles) workinq up exercises with 'Lotus'
Exercises In the Hebrides (Landing party at Fingal's Cave)
Londonderry: Chanqe of camouflage. Load maximum ammunition. Sail with Palomares, Pozarica, Lotus, La Malouine and Dianella for Seydhisfjordur.

July 42

Convoy PQ17: July 4th attacks. Ordered to scatter - on to Novaya Zemlya and into the White Sea.
Molotovsk - Ekonomia: out again to collect more ships.
Ran aground and lost asdic dome. "Out sweeps" at 2am and sailed up Davina River
Archangel - Kola Inlet: for new dome taking survivors with us. Football, fighters and burial at sea.

Sept 42

Convoy QP14. Adm. Burnett and 20 fleet destroyers, Avenger, Scylla, AA ship Alynbank. Lost minesweeper Leda , Somali and Commodore's ship to U-boats
Londonderry: stop for mail

Oct 42

Cardiff : refit at Mnt. Stewart Dry Dock Company - after gun sponsons fitted (rush job at the end) and sailed for Londonderry then immediately in company with Lotus for Greenock.

Nov 42

KMS 1 Operation Torch - oiled from Glairdale on the way
Gibralta: Convoy formed Lotus as S.O. - sank U-boat off Cape Caxine with Lotus on Nov 13th.
Algiers: topped up with depth charges - smoke screen and air raid warnings. Convoy to . . .
Gibraltar: Convoy MKS 3 to UK

Dec 42

Cardiff : Complete refit (four weeks leave to each watch). Minesweeping reel, acoustic hammer etc removed.

[NOTE: The photo at right shows Poppy after her December refit. The minesweeping gear is gone and she is now in an Admiralty Disruptive scheme. Compare this photo to the heading image which shows her as built in a Western Approaches pattern - RNP]

Jan 43

Londonderry

Feb 43

Convoy JW53: Loch Ewe, Seydhisfjordur - heavy icing, bad weather all the way to Kola Inlet, Vaenga Bay.

Mar 43

OS?? Atlantic Convoy as part of the 24th Escort group - 18 day convoy - icebergs diversion and excursions but no attacks - fog 2 knots - arrived Easter Sunday 27th at Newfoundland.
St Johns: shopping expedition - ice cream!!
SC?? Atlantic Convoy : SS Wanstead disabled by U-boat and abandoned by crew. We detach from escort to pick up a number of survivors and sink her by gunfire and depth charges.

April 43

Londonderry: Lt. Com. Boyd succeeded by Lieut. D. Onslow R.N.R. during boiler clean stop

May 43

Admiralty Floating Dock escorted to latitude of Gibralta - fog and gale upset Poppy's station keeping - Lotus, Starwort and Chanticleer do it better. Return to Londonderry playing "Atlantic Uckers".

June 43

Larne (Ireland) in company with Lotus, Dianella and Starwort for exercises with former yacht - Philante in preparation Sicily landings.
June 24th sailed with Group D with supply convoy for Operation Husky. Lotus and Poppy leave Gibraltar to unload gold then rejoin convoy - hand over to fast escort.

[NOTE: in this photo, taken in June 1943, can be seen the extra 20mm Oerlikons fitted for Torch in October 1942. Three of which were on sponsons and the fourth one was one located on the deckhouse between the funnel and the pompom platform on the port side. An interesting asymetrical arrangement. She looks lopsided in the onboard pix. - RNP]

July 43

Bone (Nth Africa): refuel
Small convoy of five ships for Algiers (Lotus S.O.) - attacked on day of departure - two ships sunk - contacts on asdic obtained - Poppy detailed to take remaining ships to Algiers.
Convoy to Tripoli return via Malta to Gibralta - 31st Escort Group formed.

Aug 43

Convoy to Alexandria collecting and delivering ships all the way. Four days in Alex.
Convoy to Gibralta
Convoy to Port Said: (torpedoed ship sinks vertically) Boiler clean
Ismailia: lake Timsah rest camp.

Sept 43

Port Said: paint ship - arab labourers paint everything!
Escorted troopships headed by Leopoldville to Alexandria. Convoy zigzagged - escorts going flat out - Starwort retired "hurt"
Convoy to Gibraltar then take a single ship to Tobruk.

Oct 43

Dry dock in Gibraltar to fix one rivet hole in bow. Missed one convoy. U-boat pack attempts to run through the Straits - all Gibraltar force out to patrol off Tangier next night off Ceuta.

Nov 43

Return to UK with landing ships escorted to Falmouth - Lotus, Dianella and Starwort in company.
Londonderry: seven days leave.
Convoy JW54B with Rhododendron and Dianella

Dec 43

Anchored at Kola Inlet. Into White Sea with the Archangel portion.
Polyarhoe alongside: Ships concert party "Poppycock" - Rear Admiral on board for dinner. "Corvette Capers" combined concert party with Dianella performed ashore. Duke of York arrives with CinC Bruce Frazer - reception and concert at Red navy Club. Sail on 23rd of Dec.
Convoy RA 55A Christmas day gales. Scharnhorst sunk on Boxing Day.

Jan 44

Londonderry: leave
Convoy JW56A: gale scatters convoy on way to Iceland. Sweeps back and fore with Dianella to gather up ships in to Seydhisfjordur
Akureyi in Iceland: convoy sails on 21st. Attacks in darkness 26th-27th. U-boats sink three ships and hit destroyer HMS Obdurate ahead of us in the screen.

Feb 44

Kola Inlet: sailed on Feb 3rd with escort of RA56. Uneventful voyage back to UK
Londonderry: exercises and more exercises then refit at Belfast.
Belfast: Harland and Wolf - football gear stolen - No.1 clears lower deck and addresses Dockyard Mateys about pilfering. Dockyard at a standstill due to strike.

Mar 44

Training at Campbeltown on new asdic set for the whole a/s team.

Apr 44

Liverpool: continue refit in dry dock. Bow further extended.
Birkenhead: painting and gun fitting (further oerlikon fitted to bring the total up to six).

May 44

Londonderry: then to Larne again for battle training with Philante - combined action - towed targets air and surface, dummy attacks by aircraft and M.T.B.s - disasterous night action exercise.
Londonderry : Commodore's inspection.

June 44

Preparations for operation Neptune - convoy of pre-loaded coasters to Portsmouth - narrowly avoided collision with merchant ship at Spithead.
June 6th : D-Day - Neptune
Sheerness to Southend for convoy conference - sailed pm. Keyed up for action - uneventful trip as far as Dungeness - ordered to return to reinforce escort of later convoy. Sailed from Southend D+2
Sword beach: D+3 - returned with empty LSTs - regular routine to Sword, Juno and Gold beaches with coasters, LSTs and old ships for Mulberry harbour.

July 44

Air raids and E-boat attacks while at anchor off beaches and German heavy gun bombardment in Straits of Dover. V-rockets cross the channel. Last convoy home with No.1 as C.O. Attacked by E-boats - several ships torpedoed but afloat - Poppy takes one in tow (later got salvage money).

Aug 44

Londonderry: Lt. Com. Vernon takes temporary command for operation.
Operation Goodwood: the Fleet Air Arm attack on Tirpitz - Poppy escorts oilers pounding a good stretch of ocean.

Sept 44

Londonderry: Leave. C.O. rejoins - new Atlantic Escort Group B1
O.S. convoy - took 15 days to cross Atlantic - ship torpedoed two days before St. Johns - good social atmosphere.
S.C. convoy return to UK - uneventful - calm weather.

Oct 44

Londonderry: Lt. Com. Onslow left ship sick. Lt. Brooke left for Rhododendron.

Winter of 44

Convoys to Canada throughout winter.
Christmas at St. Johns

Spring 45

Atlantic convoys - last convoy May 45
V.E. Day in Londonderry
Into reserve fleet

1948

Sold to RIN
Operated in the far east as the RIN Rami.

1953

Scrapped