Flower Class (1915) SL
Flower Class sloops comprised five sub-classes built as part of the WW1
Emergency War Programme. All being named after flowers. The term sloop was
the revival of an old sailing ship term which had last been used in the
Victorian Navy for a 'gunboat' and now used for a completely type of ship.
The initial design was for a general duties vessel able to undertake wire minesweeping work, singly or in pairs, and also escort merchant ships to combat the rising submarine threat; undertake anti-submarine patrols and lastly act as a liberty boat for the Grand Fleet able to carry 1,000 men standing under cover. This last requirement resulted in a hull larger than would otherwise be needed for its other work. But it also meant a longer useful life as it had the room for additional equipment to be added.
Before the Flower Class Sloops, trawlers were requisitioned and used as makeshift minesweepers and patrol vessels.
But a vessel with more speed and shallower draught was needed.
The precise specifications fell into three categories
The Flowers began as minesweepers but soon gravitated to ocean escort. Their place as minesweepers being taken by the more specialised Hunt Class Minesweepers.
The Flowers were at sea in large numbers by the end of WW1 but due to post war economies their numbers quickly reduced. However five were still available at the outbreak of WW2.
(Despite the rundown in numbers the Sloop as a type of vessel had been firmly established, and low level development continued from the mid-1920's. In 1937 the term Sloop was officially dropped and replaced with the term Escort. But it still remained in unofficial use, ending when the Frigate classification was introduced late in WW2.
After WW1 a descriptive title was added to the 'Sloop' name to more clearly show what the principal duties of the class had become. e.g. convoy or escort sloop, coastal sloop or minesweeping sloop.)
Of the five Flower sub-classes, the first four completed as minesweepers, and the fifth Anchusa Class were designed to look like merchant ships and were deployed as Q-ships.
A total of 112 Flowers were completed for the Royal Navy plus another 8
for the French Navy.
This page last edited -
19 June, 2012.
Copyright © Ian M King, except where otherwise indicated.