When WWI broke out, the British Admiralty was faced with the problem of not having an adequate number of ships which were considered suitable for anti-submarine operations. Under the Emergency War Programme they embarked on a rapid construction of smaller anti-submarine vessels. The Arabis class sloops was the third class of mine-sweeping sloops to be built for the Royal Navy as a part of the larger “Flower class’.
Nasturtium was one of 36 Arabis class sloops intended for mine-sweeping duties in European waters. She was laid down for the Royal Navy by A. McMillan & Sons, Ltd., Dumbarton, Scotland on 1 July 1915 and launched on 21 December of the same year. With 81.6 meters in overall length, she had a complement of 79 men.
The service period of HMS Nasturtium was a very short one; during that time she was based in Malta. In March 1916, when the Minneapolis was torpedoed by U35, the Nasturtium was among the ships which went to her assistance. Some days later the Nasturtium was sent out to escort HMS Implacable. During the April 1916, the Nasturtium left Malta on patrol, but shortly she was recalled to search for a German submarines and mines in the vicinity.
On 27th of April around 7.45 p.m about 5 to 6 miles from St. Elmo light The Nasturtium had struck a mine which exploded 7 feet below the waterline on her starboard side, close to the foremost funnel. The HMS Sheldrake moved in to tow the Nasturtium, but it was very difficult due to her heavy list, darkness and a heavy swell. Aid was followed by HMS Wallflower and HMY Aegusa which blew up and sank during this operation.
At 2 am on Friday, the 28 April, Captain and men who remained on the forecastle till the last moment left the The Nasturtium as her list had visibly increased. She rolled gently over on her port side with both masts well submerged; there she lay for a further 10 minutes until she reared her bow in the air and slowly sank at about 2.45 a.m.
- Delicate and protected marine flora