Allied Warships

HMS Abingdon (J 23)

Minesweeper of the Hunt class

NavyThe Royal Navy
PennantJ 23 
Built byAilsa Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. (Troon, Scotland) : Clark 
Laid down 
Launched11 Jun 1918 
Commissioned6 Nov 1918 
Lost5 Apr 1942 

On 5 April 1942 HMS Abingdon (Lt. Graham Allen Simmers, RNR) was waiting to enter Kalkara Creek Dock for repairs when an Italian air attack began, in the course of which she sustained severe damage. Her back was broken and she was beached off Bighi to prevent sinking in deeper water, but after survey she was declared a Constructive Total Loss. Scrapped in situ during the 1950s.
It is stated her loss was particularly grievous, since she was, at the time, the only sweeper available at Malta.


Commands listed for HMS Abingdon (J 23)

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1Capt. (retired) Arthur Ronald Farquhar, DSC, RN19 Aug 1939Mar 1940
2Lt. Graham Allen Simmers, RNRMar 19405 Apr 1942

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Notable events involving Abingdon include:

Transferred from the Far East to Malta.

18 Mar 1941
HMS Regent (Lt.Cdr. P.J.H. Bartlett, RN) departed Malta for her 10th war patrol (7th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol in the Adriatic.

Lt.Cdr. Bartlett was temporary in command of HMS Regent as Lt.Cdr. Browne was sick. Lt.Cdr. Bartlett's own ship, HMS Perseus, was still refitting at Malta.

Before proceeding on patrol exercises were carried out with HMS Abingdon (Lt. G.A. Simmers, RNR).

No log is available for this patrol, therefore no map can be displayed. (1)

30 Apr 1941
HMS Abingdon (Lt. G.A. Simmers, RNR) was slightly damaged in detonating an acoustic mine.

10 Sep 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, DSO, RN) conducted practice attacks off Malta on HMS Abingdon (Lt. G.A. Simmers, RNR). (2)

30 Dec 1941
While sweeping off St. Elmo's breakwater, HMS Abingdon (Lt. G.A. Simmers, RNR) was attacked by several Ju-88s, damaging one of them with AAA.

31 Dec 1941
HMS Abingdon (Lt. G.A. Simmers, RNR) was attacked by 2 Me-109s with gunfire, suffered 7 men wounded, 3 of them seriously. Upon entering harbour came under attack of 3 more Me-109s and shot one down.
Following this attack she was ordered to sweep only at night, navigating by means of small lights shown at fixed intervals from shore so as to allow her to obtain cross-bearings.

3 Jan 1942
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO, RN) departed Malta for Gibraltar. She was escorted out by the British minesweeper HMS Abingdon (Lt. G.A. Simmers, RNR). Due to the shortage of torpedoes in Malta, she carried only two Mark II torpedoes.

As no log is available for this period no map can be displayed. (3)

1 Apr 1942
HMS Abingdon (Lt. G.A. Simmers, RNR) was damaged by near-misses during an Axis air raid.


  1. ADM 199/1833
  2. ADM 173/17138
  3. ADM 199/1922

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.

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