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Leith Shipyards

A history of the Ships built at the Henry Robb Shipyard in Leith, Scotland. Also a testimony to the men who built the Ships and to all who sailed in them.
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HMS DIANTHUS - Yard No 307 - Flower Class Corvette - Royal Navy - Built 1940


 HMS DIANTHUS a "Flower Class" Corvette.  
Owners   Royal Navy
Registered     Keel Laid    31/10/1939
Type of Ship    Flower Class Corvette Launched    09/09/1940
      Commissioned    17/03/1941
Ship Details          
Length Overall     Launch Details    
Length B.P.    190' 0"  Weather    
Beam    33' 0" Time to Water    
Depth Mld     17' 6"      
Draught    11' 5"      
G.R.T.    811 tons      
Complement     85 Officers and Men      
Engines    1 X 4-cyl. triple expansion steam engine, 2750 hp      
Props    1      
Speed    16 knots      
Armament     1 X 4" Gun, 2 x 0.50 cal machine gun in twin mounts

2 Lewis .303 cal machine guns in twin mounts, 40 depth charges

Other known names    1949-Renamed as Thorslep, converted to Whale Chaser/Catcher    
Current Status   Broken up in 1968    

Content on HMS DIANTHUS will be added as and when available. 




(photo credit unknown)


History of the Royal Navy, A: World War II

History of the Royal Navy, A: World War II

The Royal Navy's operations in World War II started on 3 September 1939 and continued until the surrender of Japan in August 1945 - there was no phoney war' at sea. The navy played a central role in the evacuation of the retreating British army at Dunkirk, and later orchestrated the sinking of Germany's mighty battleship and Hitler's pride, the Bismarck. Without the Royal Navy's attention to the defence of Britain's seaborne trade - especially in the struggle against German U-boats in the Battle of the Atlantic - there would not have been food for the country, fuel for the RAF's operations or supplies to keep the army fighting in Europe, North Africa and the Far East. Yet the outstanding naval contribution to Britain's survival and eventual victory came at a heavy cost in terms of ships and to the men who had to face not just the violence of the enemy, but also the violence of the sea. This book argues that World War II was, effectively, a maritime war; it was the Royal Navy's war

Ships History

Once a ship had been built and launched she then had to be out-fitted, and then complete sea trials
before being handed over to her new owners, in the case of a ship for the Royal Navy this meant she also had to be commissioned as fit for purpose, once commissioned she was then considered ready for action and would take her place in the fleet.

HMS DIANTHUS was to have many adventures during her time as an escort of convoys during the battle of the Atlantic, we shall bring you as much of her history as can be found here on the Leith Shipyards website. 

She was the second "Flower Class" corvette built in the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb and it should be noted that she had a modified Foc'sle deck where the deck had now been continued past the bridge making for a slightly more comfortable ship in heavy weather. She would still roll on wet grass, but it was a small improvement.

To be continued.

We try here to give as full an account of her history as time and research permits, if you know of missing info
or you have any photographs of her, then please get in touch and we shall update her story as we go along.



This great picture gives some idea of the ship in a moderate sea.

(photo credit unknown)

 HMS DIANTHUS after her conversion and renamed as Thorslep (photo credit unknown)
Flower Class Corvettes

Flower Class Corvettes

The ‘ShipCraft’ series provides in-depth information about building and modifying model kits of famous warship types. Lavishly illustrated, each book takes the modeller through a brief history of the subject class, highlighting differences between sister-ships and changes in their appearance over their careers. This includes paint schemes and camouflage, featuring colour profiles and highly-detailed line drawings and scale plans. The modelling section reviews the strengths and weaknesses of available kits, lists commercial accessory sets for super-detailing of the ships, and provides hints on modifying and improving the basic kit. This is followed by an extensive photographic gallery of selected high-quality models in a variety of scales, and the book concludes with a section on research references - books, monographs, large-scale plans and relevant websites.This volume includes all the features of the regular series but the extent has been doubled to include far more detailed drawings of a class of ship that was built in huge numbers and in many variations. Mainstay of the Atlantic battle against the U-boats, Flower class corvettes were used by the British, Canadian, French and US Navies.

Tales from the Ship

Here you will find the stories from the men and women who sailed on the ships, what was it really like to be working on a ship in a raging sea and in the pitch dark of night, the real stories some funny some sad, some good and some bad.

The battle with U-379 

A first-hand account of the battle between the corvette Dianthus and a U-boat, U-379 just off the coast of Greenland on 8th of August 1942, of which details have only just been revealed, has been given by  A.B. (Able Bodied Seaman)  R Johnson, who took part in the action.

Described how Dianthus "tackled the surfaced U-boat with everything she had".

In 19 minutes of what has been described as perhaps the most exciting minutes in the Battle of the Atlantic, the corvette rammed the U-boat four times, raked her with continuous fire from Hotchkiss and pom-pom guns and rifles and revolvers in the hands of seamen who lined the rails, and one excited stoker determined to hit the underwater raider with something, and having nothing else to hand, pelted it with potatoes from the potato locker.

"In the final ramming which finished it off the sub, its bows reared up and crashed down on the fo'c'sle of our ship, and when it slid off, it was found that the crash had holed us," said A.B. Johnson.



HMS DIANTHUS unloads some prisoners of war in this staged photo for the press at the time.



This picture shows men loading a depth charge, and must have been taken in dock as this operation would have been pretty difficult to do at sea and under pressure.

(Photo credit unknown) 

 Atlantic Escorts

HMS DIANTHUS Invitation sent into website by Derek Rhodes

His Father in Law Thomas Charnock served on HMS DIANTHUS

Farewell dance for the crew of HMS DIANTHUS Flower Class and First Class war effort



Below is the back of the card for the farewell dance to the crew of HMS DIANTHUS and signed by all front and back

The back of the farewell invitation dance for the crew of HMS DIANTHUS

Dedicated to all the brave men and women who sailed the vessels from the Leith Shipyards.

Should you know of anyone who may have sailed on her, then please feel free to get in touch so that we can add the story here.



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0 #9 Robert Young 2017-07-05 19:43
Please contact me as I may have information on HMS Dianthus
0 #8 P.Tibbles 2017-03-29 11:34
trying to find out the crew list of HMS Dianthus, according to my family my grandad served on this ship during the war but cannot find any history of him, any information would be grateful
0 #7 Kieran 2016-08-23 12:26
I am the Executive Officer at Woking Sea Cadets (T.S. Dianthus) and we are doing research into our namesake ship for a History project. If any of you have personal accounts, photographs, memorabilia etc regarding HMS Dianthus I would very much like to see them.

The Administrator of the site is happy for information to be passed to him who will then pass onto myself.

I have very much enjoyed finding out about the ship and her crew and look forward to finding out more.
0 #6 june mann/ thomason. 2015-11-19 19:15
My father,Cyril Thomason.Served on the dianthus as a stoker.And told me maney stories of newfoundland and the antics he got up to,he was also there when they captured prisioners.
+3 #5 Lyn cook 2014-05-31 19:39
My father Percy Jones served on this ship, I have some photographs of him on there , he was on it when it sank the U Boat.
0 #4 Lin Sirah 2014-05-13 06:32
My father D J Rogers served on the Dianthus 1940 onwards and I would like to hear from anyone who knew him
+1 #3 Derek Rhodes 2013-11-18 22:41
I have a invitation card off my late father in law. Thomas Charnock. to a farewell dance on 4th june 1945 at Penarth. Signed by a lot of the crew, if you would like a copy I could email it to you.
+1 #2 John H Darlington 2013-10-22 15:16
I have just been looking at your website looking for information about my fathers ship the Dianthus and have noticed that while it was being built my mother visited my father who was petty officer James Howaed Darlington and she must have concieved while she was there and ended up with me. my mother lived in shropshire at the time
+2 #1 John Musselwhite 2013-10-13 21:32
My father Clinton Musselwhite sailed on HMS Dianthus, I have no details other than that I'm afraid. Some time ago I managed to contact Mr John Kerwin who turned out to be great mates with my father on board.

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