A diorama depicting HMS Poppy rescuing crew from the stricken S.S. Wanstead (Convoy ONS3)
The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest running battle of WW2, fought between
September 1939 and May 1945 by British, Canadian and United States’ escorts, protecting
convoys of merchant ships carrying essential supplies to Britain, against the German
Having distinguished herself in the fated Convoy PQ17, Poppy continued throughout
the war to provide safe escort to Atlantic, Arctic and Mediterranean convoys as well
as being involved in Operations Torch (North Africa), Husky (Sicily) and Neptune
The main concern with modelling HMS Poppy depends entirely on the date at which you depict her. The diorama features a model of her in April 1943 when she was escorting Atlantic convoys ONS3 and SC3 to and from 'Newfyjohn' (St Johns, Newfoundland) as part of Escort Group 24 [Atlantic]. With no plans or drawings available, I was fortunate to obtain information from her Navigation Officer (the late) John Beardmore whose knowledge was indispensable in the absence of any clear photos of her at that time. Sadly, no photos exist of her port side, as it appeared after her refits. The only clue I had was two photos taken from the crow’s nest looking fore and aft and John Beardmore’s memories.
John Beardmore dates the first foc'sle extension being Dec 1942 and the second extension
being just prior to Overlord in '44. In 1943 as part of Escort Group 24 (Lotus [SOE],
Starwort, Dianella). Apart from the official admiralty pics of 1942, photos are
not dated accurately so we don't really know how far 'extended' her foc'sle was following
Dec 1942. Although John records the date the well-
As far as camouflage is concerned, Poppy’s arctic ‘Admiralty Dark’ camo was asymmetrical
port & starboard. Indeed I think Poppy must have been the most asymmetrical of all
the Flowers: the two single Oerlikon sponsons on the starboard side were flared slightly
on the bow-
From the few photos I had from John and the I.W.M. coupled with further photos of HMSs Bryony/Pennywort gave me a clue to how HMS Poppy may have looked. So much research was based on visual evidence alone!
The diorama depicts Poppy as she is about to rescue survivors from the stricken S.S.
Wanstead which was torpedoed in Convoy ONS 3 by U413 but did not sink. Poppy is
about to try to sink her with gunfire and on the bridge Lt. Com. Neil Boyd (skipper)
is discussing the possibility of sinking the ship using depth charges (each of which
proved ineffective and Wanstead was finally dispatched much later by torpedoes from
Poppy’s distinguished war record can be followed here where I have reproduced much of the information as given to me first hand by John Beardmore.