HMS Arabis (K73)

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For other ships with the same name, see HMS Arabis, HMS Snapdragon, and HMNZS Arabis (K385).
Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Arabis
Namesake: Arabis
Ordered: 19 September 1939
Builder: Harland & Wolff, Belfast
Yard number: 1058[1]
Laid down: 30 October 1939
Launched: 14 February 1940
Completed: 5 April 1940[1]
Commissioned: 5 April 1940
Out of service: 30 April 1942
Identification: Pennant number: K73
Name: USS Saucy
Commissioned: 30 April 1942
Decommissioned: 20 August 1945
Out of service: 26 August 1945
Struck: 19 September 1945
Identification: Hull number: PG-65
Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Snapdragon
Namesake: Snapdragon
Identification: Pennant number: K73
Fate: Sold into merchant service in 1946.[Note 1] Renamed SS Katina in 1947. Renamed SS Tewfik in 1950
General characteristics
Class and type: Flower-class corvette
Displacement: 940 tons
Length: 205 ft (62 m)
Beam: 33 ft (10 m)
Draught: 11 ft 6 in (3.51 m)
  • Two fire tube boilers
  • One 4-cycle triple-expansion steam engine,
  • generating 2,750 hp
Speed: 16 kn (30 km/h)
Range: 3,500 nmi (6,500 km) at 12 kn (22 km/h)
Complement: 85 men

HMS Arabis was a Flower-class corvette of the Royal Navy. Originally ordered for the French Navy[citation needed] in the early days of the war, the ship was commissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Arabis. She was transferred to the United States Navy in 1942, serving as USS Saucy. Returned to the United Kingdom in 1945, she was recommissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Snapdragon.

World War II service[edit]

Arabis was built at Harland & Wolff, Belfast, as part of the 1939 War Emergency Programme for the Royal Navy. One of the early Flower class corvettes, she was ordered on 19 September 1939, and laid down a month later. She was launched on 14 February 1940 and completed on 5 April 1940.[2]

Royal Navy[edit]

After working up, Arabis was assigned to the Western Approaches Escort Force for service as a convoy escort. In this role Arabis was engaged in all the duties performed by escort ships; protecting convoys, searching for and attacking U-boats which attacked ships in convoy, and rescuing survivors. During this period she fought in several convoy battles. In September 1940 Arabis was part of the force escorting convoy OB 216, which lost four ships and in October with OB 229 which lost two. The same month she was with the ill-fated HX 79 which lost twelve ships in a matter of hours.[3] In May 1941 Arabis was part of the force escorting HX 126,[4] which lost seven ships sunk, and in June with HX 133 which saw six ships sunk and one U-boat destroyed.[5]

During her two years service in the Battle of the Atlantic Arabis escorted 47 Atlantic and 11 Gibraltar convoys, assisting in the safe passage of over 2,000 ships, though some were subsequently lost.[6]

US Navy[edit]

Whilst at Belfast in April 1942 she was transferred to the United States Navy under Reverse Lend Lease, one of ten Flower-class corvettes to be so transferred during 1942. After escorting a convoy to Halifax, Nova Scotia she sailed to Boston for refitting. Following this she escorted ships between Trinidad and Barbados. In September was transferred to the Trinidad-Guantanamo Bay convoy route and in January 1943 was changed again, to the Trinidad-Recife, route. She returned to North Atlantic convoy duties in March 1944 and was decommissioned from the United States Navy at Chatham, England in August 1945.

Post-war service[edit]

Recommissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Snapdragon, she was sold in 1946.[Note 1]

Mercantile service[edit]

She worked as the merchant vessel SS Katina and in 1950 was renamed SS Tewfik.


  1. ^ a b Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships and NavSource Online gives 1947 as the year the ship was sold into merchant service. Colledge and give it as 1946.


  1. ^ a b McCluskie, Tom (2013). The Rise and Fall of Harland and Wolff. Stroud: The History Press. p. 148. ISBN 9780752488615. 
  2. ^ Elliott p186
  3. ^ Blair p200-4
  4. ^ Blair p286
  5. ^ Blair p309-15
  6. ^ Hague p