Under three flags
In 1940 Polish Navy took over two patrol ships s/s Pomerol and s/s Medoc which were French and abandoned by their original French crews in Devonport.
Both were small 2700 GRT, max speed 9kts freighters armed with four 100mm naval guns (Canet type) 2x37mm AA guns, 2x HMG and about 60 DCs.
LtCdr Romuald Nalecz -Tyminski took over command in mid July and started process of collecting crew, training, preparation for missions etc. Two flags - French and Polish were hoisted since for the British the ship had official name "French Ship Pomerol". The ship was damaged during the German air raids on Devonport on the 25 September and before it was ready for duty the order was given to leave the ship by its Polish crew and hand it over to the RN.
Captain Tyminski met an advanced party of LT Cecil F.D. Roberts RNVR and LT Fred R. Dunstan and soon after was informed that due to shortage of experienced naval officers RN asked PN to leave him as Captain to the British crew. White Ensign was hoisted besides Polish and French.
The full complement consisted of barely fifteen experienced ("excellent") Leading Seamen and AB Seamen - the rest were HO with nil sea experience and very rudimentary training. There were numerous problems with handling the ship manned by such an unexperienced crew but more or less was overcome. Captain Tyminski actually did not complain on his British crew taking the situation as obvious in such circumstances as war was in 1940.
There were couple of Polish key personnel like Navigation officer, Gunnery Mate, and machine specialists who trained British crew.
The "combat instruction" for the Pomerol was simple: "... when you see Nazi assault fleet report the sighting. Then attack the landing crafts with all guns at close range and drop DCs on them".
Besides patrolling Pomerol took part in escorting coastal convoys.
The HMN personnel as remembered by Captain Tyminski were :Chief ERA G. Woodnutt; S/LT John Lawis RNR; S/LT David Loeb RNVR; S/LT Patrick Hardinge-Katon RNVR.
On the 08 January 1941 LT Graham RNR took over the ship from LTCDR Tyminski.
Captain Tyminski saw his ship under French merchant flag in 1951 and in 1967 one of his British initial crew, L/Seaman Neil Ready found his first captain, Tyminski and they both maintained long lasting contact.
Re: Under three flags
The above should be annexed with the following:
Pomerol had a sister ship named Medoc and like Pomerol went to war under Polish, HM and French flags.
Her fate was sad.
Started combat career with Polish crew and soon after being operational the Polish were replaced by the RN personnel.
Captain and couple of key positions were the Polish Navy seamen.
Medoc similarly to Pomerol was carrying out patrols and both were also used as training ships by additional detachments of young British seamen who being drafted knew next to nothing about handling a ship and naval fighting.
On 26 November 1940 Medoc together with HMS Lombard (armed trawler) were on patrol off Plymouth and at about 1800hrs were South of Penley Point.
A lone a/c was sighted which circled the ships 1000 yds away, then attacked, dropped a torpedo which hit Medoc in forward. There were no crew members forward and it is said none was hurt due to explosion.
There were no AA fire in defence.
Like in many situations in the early stage of war ships were not trigger happy, aircraft recognition was poor and they restrained from open up AA fire sometimes with sad results. The times when everything in the air was shoot at ruthlessly and equally - friend or foe - had yet to come.
Medoc settled by bow and was sinking so her Polish Captain LtCdr Roman Stankiewicz gave the order to abandon the ship.
When the crew was in sea or on boats armed D/Cs exploded killing and wounding many.
As per British records 36 British and three (out of four) Polish were killed.
Among them was the Medoc captain LtCdr R. Stankiewicz.
He came to Britain as Polish Destroyers flotilla commander (Blyskawica, Grom, Burza) and after couple of months with flotilla he assumed a position in the Polish Navy Staff in London. He wanted to fight and took command of what then was available - underpowered, slow, porly armed a converted small merchant ship; almost a barge .
There were three Stankiewicz brothers in Polish WW2 naval/maritime history.
Captain Mamert Stankiewicz was killed when Polish liner m/s Pilsudski (sister ship to m/s Batory) sunk after being mined SE Flamborough on the 26 Nov 1939.
LtCdr (ret) Jan Stankiewicz was the captain of several Polish merchant ships during WW2 and survived.
Should be noted that both the brothers Roman and Mamert were killed on the same date the 26 November one year apart.