Flower Class (1915) SL

The 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
- Convoy escort sloop with a large range for ocean work;
- Patrol sloop with less range as a coastal escort; 
- Shallow draught sloop for minesweeping work.

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.
Acacia Class comprised 24 ships;
Azalea Class comprised 12 ships;
Arabis Class comprised 36 ships;
Aubretia Class comprised 12 ships;
Anchusa Class comprised 28 ships.


- Acacia Class
- Azalea Class
- Arabis Class
- Aubretia Class
- Anchusa Class

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This page last edited - 19 June, 2012.

Copyright Ian M King, except where otherwise indicated.