Naval History Homepage and Site Search




by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2001

HMS LATONA - Abdiel-class Fast Cruiser Minelayer

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Welshman, sister ship (Navy Photos/David Downey, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 

Abdiel-class fast cruiser minelayer (first group) ordered from John I Thornycroft at Woolston on 23rd December 1938 and laid down on 4th April 1939. The ship was launched on 20th August 1940 and was the 4th RN ship to bear this name, introduced in 1781 for a 5th Rate and last used for a cruiser built in 1890 and sold in 1921. Build was completed on 4th May 1941. Like her sister ships she was not adopted by a civil community following a Nation Savings WARSHIP WEEK campaign in 1941-2, possibly because of the nature of her deployments. This Class of warships were later redesignated Fast Minelayers. After her arrival in the Mediterranean this Class of warships was ideally suited to transport of stores and personnel and this ship was never deployed in the designed role as priority was given to deliveries to Tobruk and Cyprus. See Royal Navy Minelaying Operations.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s




H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge:  On a Field barry wavy White and Blue, upon a pomme vert

a sun in splendour Gold   eclipsed by a moon White.


M o t t o

Vestigia nostra cavate:  'Beware our tracks'



D e t a i l s   o f   W a r   S e r v i c e


(for more ship information, go to Naval History Homepage and type name in Site Search



1 9 4 1


April                       Contractors trials and commissioned.


May                        Nominated for service in the Mediterranean.

                4th          Build completion and commenced acceptance trials.

                                Passage to Scapa Flow on completion of trials and storing.

                16th        Took passage to Mediterranean after embarking stores, including

                                20mm Oerlikon guns badly needed in the Mediterranean for defence

                                against close range air attacks.


June                        Passage via Cape of Good Hope and Red Sea.

                21st         Joined sister ship HMS ABDIEL at Alexandria.

                22nd       Deployed for support of military operations in eastern Mediterranean.


July                         Embarked RAF personnel for passage to Cyprus to reinforce garrison.

                                (Operation GUILLOTINE).

                25th        Returned to Alexandria.


August                  Deployed with HMS ABDIEL, HM Cruise HOBART (RAN), HM

                                Destroyers NAPIER (RAN) and NIZAM (RAN) for support of Tobruk


                12th        Took part in transfer of troops to and from Tobruk.

                to            (Note: 6,300 troops were taken to Tobruk and 6,100 evacuated.)



September             Tobruk support in continuation.


October                  Deployed for Tobruk support

                25th        Under air attack north of Bardia during support of Tobruk garrison.

                                (Note: 1,000 Polish troops were on board.)

                                Sustained hit in engine room causing fire which could not be


                                Rescue work carried out by HM Destroyers HERO and ENCOUNTER.

                                Remained afloat for two hours before sinking in position 32.15N 24.14E

                                when after magazine exploded.

                                37 of the ship’s company lost their lives. (Casualty List - note on casualties)


back to Contents List
or Naval-History.Net

revised 5/6/11
further editing and formatting is required


if any ads offend, please contact Naval-History.Net