Allied Warships

HMS Willowherb (K 283)

Corvette of the Flower (rev.) class

NavyThe Royal Navy
ClassFlower (rev.) 
PennantK 283 
Built byMidland Shipyards Ltd. (Midland. Ontario, Canada) 
Ordered6 Dec 1941 
Laid down 
Launched24 Mar 1943 
End service 

Transferred to the Royal Navy under lend-lease.
Returned to the United States Navy on 11 June 1946.

Former nameUSS Vitality

Commands listed for HMS Willowherb (K 283)

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and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

1Lt. Arthur Hague, RNR30 Aug 194321 Sep 1944
2T/A/Lt.Cdr. Clement Archibalt Shillan, RNVR21 Sep 194430 Sep 1945
3T/Lt. Rowland Fawcus Merz, RNVR30 Sep 1945

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Notable events involving Willowherb include:

10 Jul 1944

Convoy SL 164.

This convoy departed Freetown on 10 July 1944.

On departure from Freetown the convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Calumet (British, 7268 GRT, built 1923), Chateauroux (British, 4765 GRT, built 1921), Cordillera (British, 6865 GRT, built 1920), Empire Archer (British, 7031 GRT, built 1942), Empire Austen (British, 7057 GRT, built 1942), Empire Highway (British, 7166 GRT, built 1942), Fort Remy (British, 7127 GRT, built 1943), Hopecrown (British, 5180 GRT, built 1937), Jersey City (British, 6686 GRT, built 1942), MacGreggor Laird (British, 4992 GRT, built 1930), Princesa (British, 8731 GRT, built 1918), Settler (British, 6202 GRT, built 1939), Silverguava (British, 5305 GRT, built 1927), Tyndareus (British, 11361 GRT, built 1916), Ville de Strasbourg (British, (former French), 7007 GRT, built 1920), Vinriver (British, 3881 GRT, built 1917) and Waiotapu (British, 6035 GRT, built 1913).

On departure from Freetown the convoy was escorted by the frigates HMS Ballinderry (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Aikman, RNR), HMS Inver (Lt.Cdr. F.H. Gray, RNR), corvettes HMS Snowdrop (T/Lt. C.A. Boardman, RNVR), HMS Willowherb (Lt. A. Hague, RNR) and the patrol vessel HMS Kilmelford (T/Lt. H. Brown, RNR).

On 13 July 1944, the merchant vessels Briarwood (British, 4019 GRT, built 1930) and Finisterre (French, 1158 GRT, built 1909) departed Dakar to join the convoy.

On 15 July 1944, the merchant vessel Paul de Rousiers (French, 3548 GRT, built 1942) departed Port Etienne to join the convoy.

On 20 July 1944, the merchant vessels Dunav (Yugosalvian, 4369 GRT, built 1912) and Keilehaven (Dutch, 2968 GRT, built 1919) departed Casablanca to join the convoy. They were escorted by the minesweeping sloop La Boudeuse and the patrol vessel L'Eveille. On these ships joining the Finisterre and Paul de Rousiers parted company with the convoy to proceed to Casablanca escorted by the two French warships. HMS Kilmelford was also with them. They arrived at Casablanca on 22 July 1944.

On 21 July 1944, the convoy merged with convoy MKS 55(G) coming from the Mediterranean.

This convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; English Prince (British, 7275 GRT, built 1943), Ernebank (British, 5388 GRT, built 1937), Hermiston (British, 4813 GRT, built 1939), Highland Prince (British, 7043 GRT, built 1942), James J. Pettigrew (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942), Marpessa (Dutch (tanker / escort oiler), 7408 GRT, built 1927), Merchant Prince (British, 5229 GRT, built 1939), Middlesex Trader (British, 7421GRT, built 1942), Nicolaos Michalos (Greek, 4342 GRT, built 1913), Ocean Verity (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Ottinge (British, 2818 GRT, built 1940), Peribonka (British, 5673 GRT, built 1937), Samguadie (British, 7210 GRT, built 1944), Samsette (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Samuta (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Stad Arnhem (Dutch, 3819 GRT, built 1920), Strategist (British, 6255 GRT, built 1937) and Ulla (British, 1575 GRT, built 1930).

The rescue ship Fastnet (British, 1415 GRT, built 1928) was also with this convoy.

Convoy MKS 55(G) was escorted by the frigates HMS Exe (Cdr. C.E.E. Paterson, RN), HMS Ascension (Lt.Cdr. A. Wilkinson, RNR) and the corvettes HMS Berkeley Castle (T/Lt. F.A. Darrah, RNVR), HMS Carisbrooke Castle (T/Lt. W.H. Forster, RNR), HMS Dumbarton Castle (T/A/Lt.Cdr. P.F. Broadhead, RNR) and HMS Hadleigh Castle (Lt. C. Sandeman, RN).

The original escort of convoy SL 164 and the merchant vessels Dunav, Empire Highway, Vinriver and Waiotapu then parted company and proceeded to Gibraltar where they arrived on 23 July 1944. HMS Snowdrop did not part company with the convoy though as she was to return to the U.K. to refit.

Around 1945B/22, the escort carrier HMS Fencer (A/Capt. W.W.R. Bentinck, OBE, RN) joined the convoy.

The escort oiler Marpessa later parted company with the convoy to join the southbound combined convoy OS 84 / KMS 58.

The convoy arrived in U.K. waters on 31 July 1944. Some ships had parted company on 29 July 1944 to proceed ahead of the main convoy.

22 Mar 1945
HMS Vampire (Lt. C.W. Taylor, RNR) conducted A/S exercises off Gibraltar with aircraft and later with HMS Bergamot (A/Lt.Cdr. W. McInnes, RNR) and HMS Willowherb (T/A/Lt.Cdr. C.A. Shillan, RNVR). (1)


  1. ADM 173/20231

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.

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