Allied Warships

HMS Pimpernel (K 71)

Corvette of the Flower class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeCorvette
ClassFlower 
PennantK 71 
Built byHarland & Wolff Ltd. (Belfast, Northern Ireland) 
Ordered19 Sep 1939 
Laid down19 Jul 1940 
Launched16 Nov 1940 
Commissioned9 Jan 1941 
End service 
History

HMS Pimpernel is not listed as active unit in the October 1945 Navy List

Sold to be broken up for scrap on 6 February 1948.
Scrapped at Portaferry in October 1948.

 

Commands listed for HMS Pimpernel (K 71)

Please note that we're still working on this section.

CommanderFromTo
1Lt. Frederick Harold Thornton, RNR5 Dec 1940early 1943
2Lt. Hugh Dudley Hayes, RNRearly 194324 Nov 1944
3T/A/Lt.Cdr. Arthur Charles Palmer, DSC, RNR24 Nov 1944early 1945
4T/Lt. William George Tooley Tooley-Hawkins, RNRearly 1945mid 1945

You can help improve our commands section
Click here to Submit events/comments/updates for this vessel.
Please use this if you spot mistakes or want to improve this ships page.

Notable events involving Pimpernel include:


26 Feb 1941
HMS Pimpernel (Lt. F.H. Thornton, RNR) picks up 7 survivors of the Norwegian merchant Benjamin Franklin that was torpedoed and sunk on 19 February 1941 south of Iceland in position 58°50'N, 16°30'W by German U-boat U-103.

HMS Pimpernel also picks up 32 survivors from the Norwegian merchant Borgland that was torpedoed and sunk that day, east of Ireland in position 55°45'N, 14°29'W, by German U-boat U-47.

26 Feb 1941
Pimpernel rescued 28 men from the sinking Swedish ship Rydboholm, that had been torpedoed by U-47 in the morning. (1)

28 Feb 1941

Convoy SC 24.

This convoy departed Halifax for the U.K. on 28 February 1941.

On departure from Halifax the convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Annavore (Norwegian, 3324 GRT, built 1921), Asiatic (British, 3741 GRT, built 1923), Atlanticos (Greek, 5446 GRT, built 1919), Berkel (Dutch, 2130 GRT, built 1930), Bernhard (Norwegian, 3563 GRT, built 1924), Borgfred (British, 2183 GRT, built 1920), Brave Coeur (British, 6458 GRT, built 1919), Brisk (Norwegian, 1594 GRT, built 1923), Bruxelles (Belgium, 5085 GRT, built 1919), Emmy (Greek, 3895 GRT, built 1914), Flynderborg (Norwegian, 2022 GRT, built 1930), Framlington Court (British, 4888 GRT, built 1924), Inga I (Norwegian, 1304 GRT, built 1921), Kalypso Vergotti (Greek, 5686 GRT, built 1918), Kyma (Greek, 3959 GRT, built 1911), Ledaal (Norwegian, 3076 GRT, built 1899), Manchester Commerce (British, 5343 GRT, built 1925), Photinia (British, 4010 GRT, built 1929), Sheaf Crown (British, 4868 GRT, built 1929), Star (Norwegian, 1531 GRT, built 1922), Start Point (British, 5293 GRT, built 1919), Swiftpool (British, 5205 GRT, built 1929), Thistleglen (British, 4748 GRT, built 1929), Tilsington Court (British, 6910 GRT, built 1928), Treworlas (British, 4692 GRT, built 1922), Victo (Norwegian, 3655 GRT, built 1906), Western Chief (British, 5759 GRT, built 1918) and Winterswijk (Dutch, 3205 GRT, built 1914).

On departure from Halifax the convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Wolfe (A/Capt.(Retd.) W.G.A. Shuttleworth, RN) and the corvette HMCS Collingwood (T/Lt. W. Woods, RCNR). The corvette however soon returned to harbour.

The merchant vessel Bernhard turned back during the night of 28 February / 1 March due to engine defects.

At 1100Q/1, the merchant vessel Kalypso Vergotti turned back to Halifax due to a leak.

From 5 March the heavy cruiser HMS Norfolk (Capt. A.J.L. Phillips, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.F. Wake-Walker CB, OBE, RN) was nearby to provide cover for the convoy (and convoy HX 112 as well).

On 14 March, the merchant vessel Western Chief, which had straggled from the convoy, was torpedoed and sunk by the Italian submarine Emo.

At 1200A/15, HMS Wolfe parted company with the convoy.

Later on the 15th the destroyers HMS Vanquisher (Cdr. N.V. Dickinson, DSC, RN), HMS Whitehall (Lt.Cdr. A.B. Russell, RN) and HMS Winchelsea (Lt.Cdr. W.A.F. Hawkins, DSC, RN) joined the convoy followed by the corvettes HMS Campanula (Lt.Cdr. R.V.E. Case, DSC and Bar, RD, RNR), HMS Freesia (Lt.Cdr. T.P.G. Crick, RN) and HMS Pimpernel (Lt. F.H. Thornton, RNR) the following day.

The convoy arrived in U.K. waters on 19 March 1941.

13 Mar 1941
HMS Pimpernel (Lt. F.H. Thornton, RNR) picks up the sole survivor of the Norwegian merchant Augvald that was torpedoed and sunk on 2 March 1941 north-west of the Hebrides in position 59°30'N, 07°30'W by German U-boat U-147.

21 Mar 1941

Convoy HX 116.

This convoy departed Halifax on 21 March 1941 for Liverpool where it arrived on 9 April 1941.

Upon departure from Halifax the convoy was made up of the following merchant ships: Anna Knudsen (Norwegian (tanker), 9057 GRT, built 1931), Birgitte (British, 1595 GRT, built 1930), British Dominion (British (tanker), 6983 GRT, built 1928), British Prince (British, 4879 GRT, built 1935), Coulbeg (British, 5237 GRT, built 1940), Duke of Athens (British, 5217 GRT, built 1940), Ferncastle (British (tanker), 9940 GRT, built 1936), Gregalia (British, 5802 GRT, built 1929), Grey County (Norwegian, 5194 GRT, built 1918), Haakon Hauan (Norwegian (tanker), 6582 GRT, built 1935), Hercules (Dutch, 2317 GRT, built 1914), Iddesleigh (British, 5205 GRT, built 1927), Innerton (British, 5276 GRT, built 1919), Kaipara (British, 5882 GRT, built 1938), Lyras (Greek, 5685 GRT, built 1918), Mahout (British, 7921 GRT, built 1925), Mariso (Dutch, 7659 GRT, built 1930), Murena (Dutch (tanker), 8252 GRT, built 1931), Nellie (Greek, 4826 GRT, built 1913), Pacific Shipper (British, 6290 GRT, built 1924), Port Campbell (British, 7851 GRT, built 1924), Richmond Hill (British, 7579 GRT, built 1940), San Arcadio (British (tanker), 7419 GRT, built 1935), San Florentino (British (tanker), 12842 GRT, built 1919), Sovac (British (tanker), 6724 GRT, built 1938), Stanwell (British, 5767 GRT, built 1914), Tetela (British, 5389 GRT, built 1926) and Tornus (British (tanker), 8054 GRT, built 1936).

On departure from Halifax the convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Ausonia (Capt.(Retd.) G.H. Freyberg, OBE, RN).

On 23 March the battleship HMS Royal Sovereign (Capt. H.B. Jacomb, RN) joined the convoy.

On 31 March HMS Royal Sovereign parted company with the convoy.

On 4 March 1941 HMS Ausonia parted company with the convoy after the destroyers HMS Ambuscade (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN), HMS Bulldog (Cdr. A.J.B. Cresswell, RN), HMS Vanquisher (Cdr. N.V. Dickinson, DSC, RN) and corvettes HMS Campanula (Lt.Cdr. R.V.E. Case, DSC and Bar, RD, RNR), HMS Freesia (Lt.Cdr. T.P.G. Crick, RN), HMS Heartsease (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) F.B. Proudfoot, RN), HMS Pimpernel (Lt. F.H. Thornton, RNR) and A/S trawler HMS St. Apollo (T/Lt. R.H. Marchington, RNVR) had joined. The destroyer HMS Winchelsea (Lt.Cdr. W.A.F. Hawkins, DSC, RN) joined on 5 April. The destroyer HMS Whitehall (Lt.Cdr. A.B. Russell, RN) and corvette HMS Orchis (Lt. A.D. White, RNR)both joined on 6 April. HMS Orchis was detached on 7 April.

The convoy arrived at Liverpool on 9 April.

6 Apr 1941

Convoy HX 119

This convoy departed Halifax on 6 April 1941 in two sections, convoy HX 119A and convoy HX 119B. They merged in the morning of April 13th.

Convoy HX 119A was made up of the following merchant vessels;
Argos Hill (British, 7178 GRT, built 1922), Bendoran (British, 5567 GRT, built 1910), Bra-Kar (Norwegian, 3778 GRT, built 1928), British Consul (British (tanker), 6940 GRT, built 1924), British Tenacity (British (tanker), 8439 GRT, built 1939), Brittany (British, 4772 GRT, built 1928), Ceronia (British (tanker), 4955 GRT, built 1929), Clan MacIlwraith (British, 4839 GRT, built 1924), Cliona (British (tanker), 8375 GRT, built 1931), Curacao (British, 8269 GRT, built 1930), Cymbula (British (tanker), 8082 GRT, built 1938), Davila (British (tanker), 8053 GRT, built 1938), Dolius (British, 5507 GRT, built 1924), Dromus (British (tanker), 8036 GRT, built 1938), Goolistan (British, 5851 GRT, built 1929), Induna (British, 5086 GRT, built 1925), Kentar (British, 5878 GRT, built 1920), Lista (British, 3671 GRT, built 1920), Lobos (British, 6479 GRT, built 1921), Mangkalihat (Dutch, 8457 GRT, built 1928), Mount Helmos (Greek, 6481 GRT, built 1923), Oscilla (Dutch (tanker), 6341 GRT, built 1939), Port Auckland (British, 8789 GRT, built 1922), Port Sydney (British, 9129 GRT, built 1914), Radmanso (Swedish, 4280 GRT, built 1914), Reaveley (British, 4998 GRT, built 1940), Robert Maersk (British, 2290 GRT, built 1937), San Eliseo (British (tanker), 8042 GRT, built 1939), Schuylkill (British (tanker), 8965 GRT, built 1928), Spondilus (British (tanker), 7402 GRT, built 1927), Toorak (British (tanker), 8627 GRT, built 1927), Trevalgan (British, 5299 GRT, built 1937), Tucurinca (British, 5412 GRT, built 1926) and West Totant (British, 5628 GRT, built 1919).

On departure from Halifax convoy HX 119A was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Aurania (A/Capt. I.W. Whitehorn, RN) and the corvettes HMCS Chambly (T/A/Cdr. J.D. Prentice, RCN) and HMCS Orillia (T/Lt.Cdr. W.E.S. Briggs, RCNR). The corvettes were detached to return to Halifax the next day.

The convoy was joined by the battleship HMS Revenge (Capt. E.R. Archer, RN) around 0900Q/8.

Around 1400P/11, HMS Revenge parted company with the convoy to return to Halifax.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Convoy HX 119B was made up of the following merchant vessels;
Alphacca (British, 5759 GRT, built 1928), Barberrys (British, 5170 GRT, built 1920), Braddock (British, 6619 GRT, built 1919), Edward Blyden (British, 5003 GRT, built 1930), Gard (Norwegian (tanker), 8259 GRT, built 1938), Glaiglas (British, 4312 GRT, built 1940), Hermiston (British, 4813 GRT, built 1939), Idefjord (British, 4287 GRT, built 1921), Kars (British (tanker), 8888 GRT, built 1939), Leerdam (Dutch, 8815 GRT, built 1921), Maasdam (Dutch, 8812 GRT, built 1921), Maihar (British, 7563 GRT, built 1917), Merchant Prince (British, 5229 GRT, built 1939), Mercier (Belgian, 7556 GRT, built 1915), Peder Bogen (British (tanker), 9741 GRT, built 1925), Rio Azul (British, 4088 GRT, built 1921), San Ernesto (British (tanker), 8078 GRT, built 1939), Soekaboemi (Dutch, 7051 GRT, built 1923), Southgate (British, 4862 GRT, built 1926) and Tureby (British, 4372 GRT, built 1936).

On departure from Halifax convoy HX 119B was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Montclare (Capt.(Retd.) H.M. Spreckley, RN) and the corvettes HMCS Cobalt (T/A/Lt.Cdr. R.B. Campbell, RCNR) and HMCS Collingwood (T/Lt. W. Woods, RCNR). The corvettes were detached to return to Halifax the next day.

Around 0900P/13, Convoy HX 119B merged with convoy HX 119A.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

At 1215Z/14, the convoy was joined by the heavy cruiser HMS Norfolk (Capt. A.J.L. Phillips, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.F. Wake-Walker CB, OBE, RN).

At 1210Z/15, the armed merchant cruisers HMS Aurania and HMS Montclare parted company with convoy HX 119 (now combined).

At 1815Z/15, the destroyers HMS Havelock (Cdr. E.H. Thomas, RN) and HMS Hurricane (Lt.Cdr. H.C. Simms, RN) joined the convoy. Followed during the night of 15/16 April by the destroyers HMCS Restigouche (Cdr. H.N. Lay, OBE, RN) and HMCS Saguenay (Lt. P.E. Haddon, RCN).

At 2130Z/16, HMS Norfolk parted company with the convoy to proceed to Hvalfjord.

On the 17th, destroyer HMS Viscount (Lt.Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN), sloop HMS Scarborough (Lt. A.P. Northey, DSC, RN) and corvettes HMS Auricula (T/Lt. W.W. White, RNR), HMS Campanula (Lt.Cdr. R.V.E. Case, DSC and Bar, RD, RNR), HMS Hibiscus (Lt. H. Roach, RNR), HMS Pimpernel (Lt. F.H. Thornton, RNR) and HMS Rhododendron (Lt.Cdr. W.N.M. Faichney, DSO, RNR) joined the convoy.

On the 18th, destroyer HMS Rockingham (Lt. A.H.T. Johns, RN) and corvette HMS Freesia (Lt.Cdr. T.P.G. Crick, RN) joined the convoy.

On the 19th, corvette HMS Hollyhock (Lt. T.E. Davies, OBE, RNR) joined the convoy

On the 20th, HMS Havelock, HMS Hurricane, HMS Restigouche and HMS Saguenay parted company with the convoy.

On the 21st, HMS Viscount and corvette HMS Freesia parted company with the convoy.

The convoy arrived in U.K. waters on 22 April.

10 May 1941

Convoy SL 74

This convoy departed Freetown on 10 May 1941 for the U.K. where it was dissolved on 4 June 1941.

It was made up of the following merchant ships;
Afghanistan (British, 6992 GRT, built 1940), Aliakmon (Greek, 4521 GRT, built 1913) retuned 11-04 after collision with Zephyros, Amstelkerk (Dutch, 4457 GRT, built 1929), Anselm (British, 5954 GRT, built 1935), Arosa (Norwegian, 5043 GRT, built 1924), Benalder (British, 5161 GRT, built 1919), Bonita (Panamanian, 4929 GRT, built 1918), City of Lyons (British, 7063 GRT, built 1926), Clan MacNair (British, 6096 GRT, built 1921), Corvus (Norwegian, 1317 GRT, built 1921), Empire Success (British, 5988 GRT, built 1921), Empire Trader (British, 9990 GRT, built 1908), Evros (Greek, 5283 GRT, built 1918), Gamaria (British, 5255 GRT, built 1918), Glenstrae (British, 9460 GRT, built 1922), Holmside (British, 3433 GRT, built 1930), Koumoundouros (Greek, 3598 GRT, built 1925), Liberian (British, 5129 GRT, built 1936), Llandaff (British, 4825 GRT, built 1937), Linge (Dutch, 2114 GRT, built 1928), Marsa (British, 4405 GRT, built 1928), Melpomene (French, 7011 GRT, built 1923), Nagara (British, 8791 GRT, built 1919), Nicolas Pateras (Greek, 4362 GRT, built 1910), Norita (Swedish, 1516 GRT, built 1924), Olivebank (British, 5154 GRT, built 1926), Olympos (Greek, 5216 GRT, built 1918), P.L.M. 17 (French, 4008 GRT, built 1922) left the convoy on 20 May with engine trouble, Pendeen (British, 4174 GRT, built 1923), Queensbury (British, 3911 GRT, built 1931), Rosenberg (Dutch, 2068 GRT, built 1918), Saturnus (Dutch, 2741 GRT, built 1909), Scotia (Swedish, 1874 GRT, built 1918), Shahristan (British, 6935 GRT, built 1938), Southern Empress (British, 12398 GRT, built 1914), Taurus (Norwegian, 4767 GRT, built 1925), Tombouctou (French, 5636 GRT, built 1919), Tovelil (Danish, 2225 GRT, built 1925), Trentbank (British, 5060 GRT, built 1929), Tudor Star (British, 7199 GRT, built 1919), Vassilios A. Polemis (Greek, 3429 GRT, built 1907), Viking Star (British, 6445 GRT, built 1920), Waterland (Dutch, 6847 GRT, built 1922), Wentworth (British, 5212 GRT, built 1919) and Zephyros (Greek, 4796 GRT, built 1909).

Escort was initially provided by the British armed merchant cruiser HMS Bulolo (Capt.(Retd.) R.L. Hamer, RN) (10 May 1941 to 3 June 1941) and the corvettes HMS Amaranthus (Lt. N.B.J. Stapleton, RNR), HMS Anchusa (T/Lt. P. Everett-Price, DSC, RNR), HMS Asphodel (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) K.W. Stewart, RN) and HMS Calendula (Lt.Cdr. A.D. Bruford, RNVR). (All from 10 May 1941 to 19 May 1941).

They were joined on 12 May 1941 by the heavy cruiser HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. B.C.S. Martin, RN).

At 1300N/13, in approximate position 13°07'N, 19°22'W, HMS Bulolo sighted a ship which turned out to be the Vichy-French transport Bourbonnais (4484 GRT, built 1914). The ship was ordered to stop but she refused to do so initially. A shot was fired across her bow which resulted in the ship to stop. She was then boarded. It turned out that she was en-route from Dakar to Tamatave with stores and 400 native troops. HMS Bulolo and the Vichy ship then remained in the general area while the light cruiser HMS Dragon (Capt. R.J. Shaw, MBE, RN) was sent out from Freetown to take her over and then escort her to Freetown so that HMS Bulolo could rejoin the convoy. HMS Dragon joined around 0930N/14 and the Vichy ship was then turned over to her custody.

On 26 May 1941, HMS Dorsetshire parted company with the convoy to join the pursuit of the German battleship Bismarck. She succeeded in making contact on the next day he delivered the coup de grace to her and torpedoed the heavily damaged German battleship from both sides and she sank soon afterwards. HMS Dorsetshire picked up German survivors until she was forced to leave the scene after a U-Boat alarm. More survivors had to be left in the water.

The convoy was joined by more escorts for the passage through the Western Approaces, these were;
Destroyer HMS Reading (Lt.Cdr. D.V. Clift, RN) and the corvettes HMS Gentian (Lt.Cdr. R.O. Yeomans, RD, RNR), HMS Hibiscus (Lt. H. Roach, RNR), HMS Pimpernel (Lt. F.H. Thornton, RNR), HMS Rhododendron (Lt.Cdr. W.N.M. Faichney, DSO, RNR). These ships all joined on 30 May 1941 and remained with the convoy until it was dissolved on 4 June 1941. The destroyers HMS Vanquisher (Cdr. N.V. Dickinson, DSC, RN) and HMS Winchelsea (Lt.Cdr. W.A.F. Hawkins, DSC, RN) also joined on 30 May but left the convoy on 2 June 1941. Finally the corvette HMS Freesia (Lt.Cdr. T.P.G. Crick, RN) joined the convoy on 31 May and remained with it until dissolved on 4 June 1941.

12 Jun 1941
The British merchant Chinese Prince is torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-552 south of Rockall in position 56°12'N, 14°18'W. 18 survivors are later picked up by the British corvettes HMS Arbutus (Lt. A.L.W. Warren, RNR) and HMS Pimpernel (Lt. F.H. Thornton, RNR).

17 Aug 1942
HMS Pimpernel (Lt.Cdr. F.H. Thornton, RNR) picks up 29 survivors from the British merchant Fort la Reine that was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-658 in the Windward Passage west of Haiti in position 18°30'N, 75°20'W.

18 Aug 1942
HMS Pimpernel (Lt.Cdr. F.H. Thornton, RNR) picks up 43 survivors from the British merchant Empire Bede that was torpedoed and damaged by German U-boat U-553 north of Jamaica in position 19°35'N, 76°25'W. The wreck of the Empire Bede is finally sunk by gunfire from the corvette in position 19?41'N, 76?50'W.

6 Mar 1943
HMS Pimpernel (Lt. H.D. Hayes, RNR) picks up 62 men from the American merchant Thomas Hooker that was damaged by bad weather and abandoned by her crew. The drifting wreck of the Thomas Hooker was found and sunk by German U-boat U-653 on 12 March 1943 and sunk with two torpedoes in approximate position 53°00'N, 43°00'W.

14 Jul 1943
HMS Untiring (Lt. R. Boyd, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Larne with HMS Hesperus (Cdr. D.G.F.W. MacIntyre, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Mourne (Lt.Cdr. R.S. Holland, RD, RNR), HMS Vimy (Lt.Cdr. J.N.K. Knight, RN) and HMS Pimpernel (Lt. H.D. Hayes, RNR). (2)

30 Nov 1943
HMS H 28 (Lt. J.W. Kelly, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Tobermory with HMS Pimpernel (Lt. H.D. Hayes, RNR), HMS Burdock (T/Lt. F.R.M. Greasley, RNR), HMS Helmsdale (T/A/Lt.Cdr. L.J. Simpson, RNR) and HMS Portchester Castle (Lt. A.G. Scott, RNR). (3)

30 Nov 1943
HMS Sealion (Lt. N.J. Coe, DSC, RNR) conducted A/S exercises off Tobermory with HMS Pimpernel (Lt. H.D. Hayes, RNR), HMS Burdock (T/Lt. F.R.M. Greasley, RNR), HMS Helmsdale (T/A/Lt.Cdr. L.J. Simpson, RNR) and HMS Portchester Castle (Lt. A.G. Scott, RNR). (4)

1 Dec 1943
HMS H 28 (Lt. J.W. Kelly, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Tobermory with HMS Pimpernel (Lt. H.D. Hayes, RNR), HMS Burdock (T/Lt. F.R.M. Greasley, RNR) and HMS Helmsdale (T/A/Lt.Cdr. L.J. Simpson, RNR). (5)

1 Dec 1943
HMS Sealion (Lt. N.J. Coe, DSC, RNR) conducted A/S exercises off Tobermory with HMS Pimpernel (Lt. H.D. Hayes, RNR), HMS Helmsdale (T/A/Lt.Cdr. L.J. Simpson, RNR) and HMS Burdock (T/Lt. F.R.M. Greasley, RNR). (6)

21 Sep 1944
HrMs O 15 (Lt. W.C.M. de Jonge van Ellemeet, RNN) conducted A/S exercises off Campbeltown with HMS Pimpernel (Lt. H.D. Hayes, RNR). (7)

22 Sep 1944
HrMs O 15 (Lt. W.C.M. de Jonge van Ellemeet, RNN) conducted A/S exercises off Campbeltown with HMS Pimpernel (Lt. H.D. Hayes, RNR). (7)

Sources

  1. Personal communication
  2. ADM 173/18436
  3. ADM 173/17764
  4. ADM 173/18021
  5. ADM 173/17765
  6. ADM 173/18022
  7. File 2.12.03.6400 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.


Return to the Allied Warships section