HMCS Arrowhead

HMCS Arrowhead was a Flower-class corvette that was originally commissioned by the Royal Navy but served primarily with the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) during the Second World War. She fought primarily in the Battle of the Atlantic as a convoy escort. She was named for Sagittaria, which is an aquatic water plant that is sometimes known as Arrowhead.

HMCS Arrowhead
United Kingdom
Name: Arrowhead
Namesake: Sagittaria
Ordered: 22 January 1940
Builder: Marine Industries Ltd. Sorel, Quebec
Laid down: 11 April 1940
Launched: 8 August 1940
Commissioned: 22 November 1940
Out of service: 15 May 1941 - loaned to Canada
Identification: Pennant number: K145
Fate: Loaned to Canada 1941; returned 1945; sold 1947
Name: Arrowhead
Acquired: Loaned from United Kingdom
Commissioned: 15 May 1941
Out of service: paid off 27 June 1945
Identification: Pennant number: K145
Honors and
Atlantic 1941-45,[1] Gulf of St. Lawrence 1942, 1944[2]
Fate: returned to the United Kingdom 1945
General characteristics
Class and type: Flower-class corvette (original)
Displacement: 925 long tons (940 t; 1,036 short tons)
Length: 205 ft (62.48 m)o/a
Beam: 33 ft (10.06 m)
Draught: 11.5 ft (3.51 m)
  • Single shaft
  • 2 × fire tube Scotch boilers
  • 1 × 4-cycle triple-expansion reciprocating steam engine
  • 2,750 ihp (2,050 kW)
Speed: 16 knots (29.6 km/h)
Range: 3,500 nautical miles (6,482 km) at 12 knots (22.2 km/h)
Complement: 85
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • 1 × SW1C or 2C radar
  • 1 × Type 123A or Type 127DV sonar


Flower-class corvettes like Arrowhead serving with the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War were different from earlier and more traditional sail-driven corvettes.[3][4][5] The "corvette" designation was created by the French as a class of small warships; the Royal Navy borrowed the term for a period but discontinued its use in 1877.[6] During the hurried preparations for war in the late 1930s, Winston Churchill reactivated the corvette class, needing a name for smaller ships used in an escort capacity, in this case based on a whaling ship design.[7] The generic name "flower" was used to designate the class of these ships, which – in the Royal Navy – were named after flowering plants.[8]


Ordered 22 January 1940 under the 1939-40 Flower class program by the Royal Navy from Marine Industries Ltd. in Sorel, Quebec Arrowhead was laid down 11 April 1940. She was launched on 8 August 1940 and commissioned 22 November later that year.[9] On the 15 May 1941 she was one of ten corvettes loaned to Canada. She could be told apart from other Canadian Flower class vessels by her lack of minesweeping gear and the siting of the after gun tub amidships.[10]

War service

Royal Navy

After commissioning Arrowhead sailed to Sunderland to fully fit out which took two months. She worked up at Tobermory and joined EG-4 of Iceland Command.[11]

Royal Canadian Navy

In June 1941, after commissioning in the RCN, Arrowhead joined Newfoundland Force and spent the majority of 1941 escorting convoys from St. John's to Iceland. In late December, Arrowhead was sent to Charleston for a refit. She returned to Halifax in February 1942 and did one more cross-Atlantic convoy before being reassigned to Western Local Escort Force (WLEF). In July she joined the Gulf Escort Force and participated in the Battle of the St. Lawrence.[11]

Arrowhead spent the final months of 1942 bouncing around commands, joining Halifax Force in October, and returning to WLEF at the end of November. She stayed with WLEF until August 1944. In June 1943, when WLEF introduced dedicated escort groups, Arrowhead was first assigned to group W-7 before transferring to W-1 in December.[11]

During her period with WLEF, Arrowhead had two major refits, one in Charleston in the spring of 1943 and one in Baltimore in May 1944 where her fo'c'sle was extended. After returning to service she was assigned to Quebec-Labrador convoys in September 1944. In December of that year, Arrowhead was reassigned to Western Escort Force's Escort Group W-8 and used on the "Triangle Run" between Boston/New York, Halifax and St. John's until May 1945.[11]

Arrowhead was assigned to convoy HX 358 with three other loaned corvettes, Eyebright, Hepatica and Trillium. After arrival at Milford Haven, on 27 June 1945 she was paid off and returned to the Royal Navy.[11]

Post-war career

In 1947 Arrowhead was sold for conversion to a whale-catcher with a gross register tonnage of 757 tons, emerging in 1948.[12] She was renamed Southern Larkspur. Eventually, the vessel was broken up at Odense, Denmark in December 1959 by H.I. Hansen.[11][12]


  1. "Battle Honours". Britain's Navy. Retrieved 23 August 2013.
  2. "Royal Canadian Warships - The Battle of the Gulf of St. Lawrence - Second World War". Veterans Affairs Canada. Retrieved 23 August 2013.
  3. Ossian, Robert. "Complete List of Sailing Vessels". The Pirate King. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
  4. Fitzsimons, Bernard, ed. (1978). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of 20th Century Weapons & Warfare. 11. London: Phoebus. pp. 1137–1142.
  5. Jane's Fighting Ships of World War II. New Jersey: Random House. 1996. p. 68. ISBN 0-517-67963-9.
  6. Blake, Nicholas; Lawrence, Richard (2005). The Illustrated Companion to Nelson's Navy. Stackpole Books. pp. 39–63. ISBN 0-8117-3275-4.
  7. Chesneau, Roger; Gardiner, Robert (June 1980). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships (1922-1946). Naval Institute Press. p. 62. ISBN 0-87021-913-8.
  8. Milner, Marc (1985). North Atlantic Run. Naval Institute Press. pp. 117–119, 142–145, 158, 175–176, 226, 235, 285–291. ISBN 0-87021-450-0.
  9. "HMCS Arrowhead (K 145)". Retrieved 2 August 2013.
  10. Macpherson, Ken; Milner, Marc (1993). Corvettes of the Royal Canadian Navy 1939-1945. St. Catherines: Vanwell Publishing. p. 117.
  11. Macpherson, Ken; Burgess, John (1981). The ships of Canada's naval forces 1910-1981 : a complete pictorial history of Canadian warships. Toronto: Collins. p. 69. ISBN 0-00216-856-1.
  12. "Arrowhead (6111053)". Miramar Ship Index. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  • Hazegray. "Flower Class". Canadian Navy of Yesterday and Today. Retrieved 2 August 2013.
  • Ready; Aye; Ready. "HMCS Arrowhead". Retrieved 2 August 2013.
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