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HMS Abdiel (1940); Warship; Minelayer; Fast

Ship models

Object connections:

Collection Ship models
Gallery locationNot on display
PeopleMaker: John Samuel White and Co. Ltd
VesselsAbdiel (1940)

Object details:

Object ID SLR0018
Description Scale: 1:48. A superbly made model of a very purposeful-looking vessel, HMS 'Abdiel' (1940). Made during the Second World War it is, nevertheless, lavishly detailed with gold- and silver-plated fittings that look very effective as they have been sparingly applied and set against the uniform pale grey of the upper works. We can see a wealth of detail here: the reinforced hatches for the mines, the open bridges with their binnacles and secondary wheel, the two quadruple 5-inch machine guns, forward and broadside signalling lamps, and the two cranes for laying the all-important mines. Experience gained from the First World War showed that a surface minelayer needed high speed to make a journey into enemy waters, lay its mines, and escape under cover of darkness. For this task the Admiralty ordered four new, fast minelayers in 1938. They were revolutionary in concept: a hull of under 3,000 tons was coupled with the shaft horsepower of a 10,000-ton cruiser, giving a phenomenal top speed of 40 knots. Their holds contained up to 156 mines but other cargoes could be carried too such as aircraft ammunition and aviation fuel. During the Second World War, their high speeds enabled them to pass through enemy-controlled waters by night, and protected them from submarine attack by day. All four vessels saw strenuous service but only one survived. HMS ‘Abdiel’ had a brief, but active, war service. It laid nearly 300 mines in two sorties at the end of 1941, in the approaches to Brest. In the following year, it laid a large field between Sicily and Tunis prior to the invasion of Sicily. On the day Italian armed forces surrendered, 10 September 1943, it embarked 400 men to help seize the vital port of Taranto. The operation was a success but as ‘Abdiel’ anchored and was about to discharge its troops, ironically the tide swung it over an undetected magnetic mine. The explosion broke it in half and it quickly sank with heavy loss of life.
Date made circa 1940

Artist/Maker John Samuel White and Co. Ltd
Place made Cowes
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Materials wood; organic: cotton; metal: brass; metal: silver; inorganic: glass; paint; coating: varnish
Measurements Chatham storage measurement: 910 mm x 2915 mm x 490 mm
  • HMS Abdiel (1940); Warship; Minelayer; Fast (SLR0018)
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