Go like the Devil

A unique blend of speed and versatility made the Abdiel-class minelayers some of the most utilitarian warships of World War Two John Ash profiles the Royal Navy’s 40kt thoroughbreds

In Very Special Ships, Arthur Nicholson quotes Edward Pleydell-Bouverie, first captain of HMS Abdiel, writing to his wife: “I go to a new ship… Name is Adbiel and she is brand new... More than that I can’t say, but she’s of a new type and can (or will) go like the very devil... this outfit will, I think, be a most independent and command in many ways and with every chance of a bit of excitement.”

Nicholson’s designation of Abdiel and her sisters was apt, and Captain Pleydell-Bouverie was also correct, for his new charge was capable of incredible pace and her versatility would mean she would have a busy war.

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