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

HMS ABINGDON (N 23) - Old Hunt-class Minesweeper

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Selkirk, sister-ship (Photo Ships, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 

Later HUNT-Class coal burning minesweeper ordered from Ailsa Shipbuilders at Troon in 1917 and laid down on 30 November that year. The ship was launched on 11th June 1918 and was the first Royal Navy ship to carry this name. Her build was completed 0n 6th November 1918. Deployed for in the Mediterranean and Black Sea for post-war war minesweeping she was then reduced to Reserve status and laid-up in Malta. she was transferred to the China Station and commissioned for passage to Singapore where she again Paid-off and was laid-up again in Singapore during April 1937. She recommissioned in 1939 at Singapore and later served with distinction in the Mediterranean as outlined below. Following a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign February 1942 this ship was adopted by the civil community of Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire.


B a t t l e H o n o u r

None is recorded

(Note: This seems incredible and is to be checked)


H e r a l d i c D a t a

No details of a Badge are recorded in the Official Record but an unofficial Badge may have been used..



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 3 9


August Laid-up in Reserve at Singapore.

28th  Commissioned for service at Singapore.


September Carried out trials and prepared for war service at Singapore as Senior Officer

 Minesweepers ship.


HARROW, HUNTLEY and WIDNES, also laid-up at Singapore were also

prepared for war service and except WIDNES commissioned later.)

October Deployed at Singapore.

to December Nominated for transfer to Mediterranean Station.


1 9 4 0


January Deployed at Singapore

to April


May Passage to Alexandria. Pennant Number for visual signalling purposes changed to J23.

to June (Note: As this ship was a Coal Burner this passage would require careful planning

and may have involved coaling at sea in the Indian Ocean from a Collier.)


July Under repair at Alexandria.

(Note: This suggests an accumulation of defects during passage.)


August Passage to Malta to join HMS FERMOY for minesweeping duties


September (Note: Italian minelaying commenced and need for minesweeping became vital to

ensure safe passage of traffic.)

Deployed with HMS FERMOY for minesweeping to clear minelay NE of Malta.

October Minesweeping south of Malta with HMS FERMOY to clear Italian field recently laid.

23rd  Total of 10 mines dealt with.)


NovemberMinesweeping in continuation with HMS FERMOY during which eight mines were


(Note: This Class of minesweeper was only capable of dealing with conventional

moored mines as were destroyers fitted for minesweeping which were also

deployed off Malta.


DecemberMinesweeping with HMS FERMOY in continuation.

(Note: Several enemy mines which had broken their mooring were washed ashore

and dealt with by Shore disposal units.)


1 9 4 1


JanuaryMinesweeping with HMS FERMOY to ensure clear approach channels available in

and out of Grand Harbour.


FebruaryFirst lay of acoustic and magnetic mines by German aircraft.

  (Note: Other craft were requisitioned and fitted with suitable equipment and

the two Fleet Minesweepers to continue dealing with contact moored


Minesweeping operations with HMS FERMOY in continuation off Malta.


MarchDuring continuation operations under constant air attacks from which no damage

was sustained.


April Air attacks during operations continued.

10th Acoustic mine detonated during sweep and HMS FERMOY sustained damage in

an air attack.

11th Awaiting repair by HM Dockyard Malta

  Under repair.


May Under repair

(Note: HMS FERMOY also under repair after damage in air attack on 30th April

sustained a direct hit whilst in dry dock in Malta and was damaged beyond


The only Fleet Minesweeper available in Malta but under repair.


June Resumed minesweeping duties.

  (Note Three trawlers were requisitioned in Malt and fitted with Oropesa type

minesweeping equipment to assist in clearance of moored mines.


July  Minesweeping operations assisted by requisitioned craft.

to November (Note: Acoustic and magnetic minesweeping was carried out by other

requisitioned craft including tugs and drifters as well as HM Corvette

GLOXINIA which was fitted for minesweeping.)



21st During minesweeping operation with three converted craft swept four mines.

30th Under attack by Ju88 aircraft one of which was damaged by return fire off St. Elmo.

31st Under attack by Me109 aircraft and sustained damage with some casualties.


1 9 4 2


January Deployed for Night Minesweeping operations.

(Note: This decision by Flag Officer Malta had been made because of the

continual air attacks on minesweepers.)

28th Taken in hand for repair and installation of 20mm Oerlikon guns to increase

defence against Close Range air attacks.


February Resumed minesweeping operations off Malta on completion of dockyard work.


March Night operations in continuation with other converted craft


April Air attacks on Malta dockyard area intensified.

1st Sustained damage in air attack.

2nd Awaiting dockyard repair in dockyard area.

4th Sustained further damage whilst in Kalkara Creek after two near misses

Ships back broken and vessel beached in Bighi Bay pending survey.

Declared Constructive Total Loss on Survey


P o s t W a r N o t e


No Fleet Minesweepers were available in Malta until June 1942 when HM Minesweepers HEBE, SPEEDY, HYTHE and RYE arrived in Malta with HARPOON relief convoy and replaced the two vintage warships which had carried the burden with gallantry since 1940. The conduct of the two HUNT Class Minesweepers was recognised by Flag Officer Malta in a signal of praise to CinC Mediterranean Fleet in January 1942. After the end of WW2 the hulk was placed on the Disposal List and was broken-up in situ during 1950.


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