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HMS Florizel (J404)
HMS Florizel (J404) 1944
HMS Florizel in 1944
Career (UK) Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom
Name: HMS Florizel (J404)
Ordered: 24 March 1942
Builder: Associated Shipbuilders
Laid down: 27 Jan 1943
Launched: 20 May 1943
Commissioned: 14 Apr 1944
Out of service: 14 Dec 1946 Sold to Greece
Renamed: 1947 Merchant Ship Aida
1959 HNS Lasithi
Status: 1967 Broken Up at Messina
General characteristics
Class & type: Auk-class minesweeper
Displacement: 945 tons
Length: 184 ft 6 in (56.24 m)
Beam: 33 ft (10 m)
Draft: 9 ft 6 in (2.90 m)
Propulsion: 2 x 1,710shp Cooper Bessemer GSB-8 diesel engines
Speed: 14.8 kts.
Complement: 104
Armament: 3"/50 dual purpose gun mount
2 x twin 40mm gun mounts
2 x 20mm gun mounts
2 x depth charge tracks
5 x depth charge projectors
Notes: Convert 1952 to Cargo Ship

HMS Florizel (J404), US pennant No. BAM-26, was a Auk-class minesweeper ordered by the US Navy to be supplied to the Royal Navy (RN) under Lend-lease. Florizel was built by Associated Ship Builders at Harbour Island, Seattle, Washington, USA and commissioned by the Royal Navy as Pennant No. J404. She was ordered 24 March 1942, laid down 27 January 1943, launched 20 May 1943 and commissioned 14 April 1944.

1944 CollisionEdit

HMS Florizel Patch

Patch of the HMS Florizel

On 10 December 1944 HMS Charlestown collided with Florizel off Harwich, England. Due to the Charlestown’s advanced age — the keel was laid more than 26½ years earlier — and the pressing need for experienced crews on newer warships, the Royal Navy declined repairs. Florizel survived the encounter and returned to duty.[1]

CommandersEdit

T/A/Lt.Cdr James Martin Smith RNR took Command of Florizel 14 March 1944. He Commanded her for the launch, commissioning and sailing to England. A/Cdr Michael Anthony Biddulph, DSC, OBE, RN, Commanded Florizel from 5 August 1944 to December 1946. While in command of Florizel a Mentioned in Dispatches (MID) was awarded for courage and skill in minesweeping operations in the approaches to Le Havre, France, 23 Jan 1945. Also, while in command, he was appointed OBE 1946 Birthday Honours. He retired 30 Jan 1947 after Florizel was sold to Greece 14 Dec 1946.[2][3]

Post War HistoryEdit

  • 14th Dec 1946 Sold to Greece
  • 1947 Renamed Merchant Ship Aida
  • (1952) Converted to a cargo ship
  • 1959 Renamed HNS Lasithi
  • 1967 Broken up in Messina

Other Ships Names FlorizelEdit

  • SS Florizel a passenger ship commissioned in 1909 and sank off of St. John's, Newfoundland.
  • SS Empire Florizel (169503) was a short lived UK transport ship launched 21 April 1943 and was bombed and sunk on 21 Jul 1943 off Augusta, Sicily.[4][5]

ReferencesEdit

This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

  1. http://abbot.us/DD629/official/dd184.shtml
  2. World War II unit Histories and Officers; Royal Navy (RN) Officers 1939–1945 www.unithistories.com/officers/RN_officersB3.html#Biddulph_MAO Accessed 30 May 2014
  3. Minewarfare & Clearance Diving Officers' Association; WW II Awards for RN Minesweeping; www.mcdoa.org.uk/ww_ii_awards_for_rn_minesweeping_B.htm accessed 30 May 2014
  4. Record of Convoy KMS 19 Malta to Augusta www.warsailors.com/convoys/kms19.html accessed 26 May 2014
  5. http://www.clydesite.co.uk/clydebuilt/viewship.asp?id=18315 accessed 25 May 2014


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