Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Q-Ship: H.M.S. Tamarisk

In a recent post on Q-ships, I mentioned H.M.S. Tamarisk as a possible source for the S. S. Samaritan in Under The Volcano.

H.M.S. Tamarisk was a Aubretia class sloop — built by Lobnitz & Company, Renfrew, launched 2 June 1916. Sold for breaking up 17 October 1922.

The Aubretia class sloops were a class of twelve sloops built under the Emergency War Programme for the Royal Navy in World War I as part of the larger "Flower" class. They were also referred to as the "cabbage class", or "herbaceous borders". The Flowers were the first ships designed as minesweepers.

Like all the Flowers, the Aubretia class were originally designed as single-screw Fleet Sweeping Vessels, with triple hulls at the bows and an above-water magazine located aft, to give extra protection against loss from mine damage when working. However, the utility of the design was found to be as a convoy escort, and as such other classes took over the minesweeping role. The Aubretias were re-classified as Convoy Sloops.

Unlike the preceding "Flower"s of the Acacia, Azalea and Arabis classes, with their unmistakable warship appearance, the Aubretias were designed to look like small merchantmen, in the hope of deceiving U-boat commanders, a tactic known as the Q-ship. These vessels were built by commercial shipbuilders to Lloyd's Register standards, to make use of vacant capacity, and the individual builders were asked to use their existing designs for merchantmen, based on the standard Flower-type hull.

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