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nicknobbyclark

HMS COREOPSIS (ex drifter later Q ship)

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H.M.S. COREOPSIS

The 0 ship Coreopsis was a drifter before her conversion to naval uses. She succeeded in.sinking the enemy submarine UB85 in the Irish Sea on April 30 1918. Can anyone tell me anymore about the incident?

I understand that this action also features in the book Verschollen" by D.Messimer? I would like to know if anyone on the forum has this publication?

Thanks

Nick Clark

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Nick,

Yes I do have Verschollen. The sinking of UB 85 is not complicated and doesn't even have that much to do with the drifter Coreopsis. Basically, drifter spots surfaced U-boat and opens fire on it. Submarine dives, but unrelated to the drifter's gunfire, floods through her not properly closed hatch. The boat takes water and the hatch between the conning tower and control room below also can't be closed (in one account because of extra cabling ordered installed by the CO). The bilge pump failed and water got into the batteries, releasing chlorine gas. All this forced the U-boat to surface, where she was fired on by five drifters, and forced to scuttle.

Dwight Messimer classifies the loss as through accident and gunfire.

All accounts I have read indicate that the Coreopsis was operating as a patrol vessel and not a Q-ship.

Best wishes,

Michael

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if you havnt seen it hese a good article on Q ships

http://www.naval-history.net/WW1NavyBritishQships.htm

...though the article uses outndated U-boat loss information. An accurate count would be 10 or 11 U-boats to Q-ships proper plus the two to trawler/submarine combos. (UB 13 was mined, UC 72 has just been reclassifed as missing, not sunk by Q-ship.) Also the four listed possibles were not sunk by Q-ships.

Best wishes,

Michael

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Thank you for your help

I was interested to read a little of what appears in Verschollen, I've also read that this was more of an accidental sinking rather than a successful attack by the drifter. It seems that the U-boat had to give up while it was on the surface, due to persistent gunfire from drifter Coreopsis, as the U-boat lay stricken.

The connection of Q ship and drifter and the name of HMS Coreopsis is still a mystery? The drifter I am trying to find is HMS Coreopsis (re-named HMD Olivine WW2). However, I came across a reference to a WW1 RN Sloop by the same name (HMS Coreopsis)?

Looking through Lenton's WW1 book, it appears that Coreopsis was later changed to Coreopsis II. Maybe this was due to two vessels of the same name?

I also two copies of an IWM photograph that appears in two books, one is the more recent World War One In Pictures (an IWM publication) and the other is in the 1930's publication, 'Twenty Years After'. Here the following caption accompanies the photograph:

H.M.S. COREOPSIS

The 0 ship Coreopsis was a drifter before her conversion to naval uses. Her most successful exploit took place in the Irish Sea on April 30 1918, when she succeeded in. sinking the enemy submarine UB85. The news, when it reached home, was the more welcome in that on the same date tour British vessels, totalling 15,000 tons, had been sunk by U boats, with the loss of 50 lives. The name Coreopsis, which literal means, "resembling a bug," is that of a beautiful flower.

Looking at the picture (attached below this message). it can't be a drifter because it's larger vessel? So it seems that this mistake has been made in both books? Maybe another explanation is that this is a picture of another ship named the Coreopsis and possibly the RN Sloop?

Is there any one out there that could help shed some more light on this one or help with any information regarding the drifter Coreopsis and U-boat UB 85

All comments would be welcome

Regards to all and thank you for your time.

Nick Clark

PS Have added the IWM Photo of HMS Coreopsis

post-378-1139874462.jpg

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Nick,

Your theory about the confusion about the name Coreopsis is correct -- the books are confusing the sloop and the drifter. The sloop Coreopsis was a 1290 ton vessel launched in September 1917 and of the Anchusa class, which were designed to act as Q-ships. The photo could well be of the sloop Coreopsis -- certainly looks about the right size.

And the Royal Navy did indeed change the name of minor vessels like drifters by adding a II when something more substantial was built like a sloop or destroyer (most WWI destroyers actually displaced a little less than sloops.)

Also take the standard British-sourced accounts with a grain of salt. The Royal Navy often played up the accounts to make it seem more heroic/more definite/the result of effective RN ASW measures rather than something like a stuck hatch.

See http://www.uboat.net/wwi/boats/index.html?boat=UB+85 for a bit on UB 85.

Best wishes,

Michael

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