31 December 1941: Revenge Attack on HMS Abingdon

31 Dec

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  • Number of raid alerts 169
  • Total time under alert  191 hours 7 minutes
  • Average time length of alert 68 minutes
HMS Abingdon

HMS Abingdon


Enemy fighters attacked HMS Abingdon in broad daylight today as she was engaged in minesweeping duties close to Malta’s coastline.  The vessel was machine-gunned by two ME 109 fighters as part of a raid by 34 aircraft at lunchtime.  Seven of the ship’s crew were wounded, three of them seriously.

Abingdon turned and headed immediately for harbour but she was attacked again, this time by three ME 109s.  Anti-aircraft gunners on board managed to shoot down one of the Messerchmitts.  The attack follows a similar strike yesterday by JU 88s in which Abingdon’s Ack Ack gunners managed to damage one aircraft.  Abingdon will now be restricted to minesweeping under cover of darkness.


0330-0558 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Two enemy aircraft patrol round the Island for over an hour.  Heavy Ack Ack fire two immediate barrages.

0845-0908 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Reconnaissance by one JU 88 escorted by four fighters.

1005-1044 hrs  Six plots of Messerschmitts 109s patrol round the island.

1245-1410 hrs  Air raid alarm: 34 enemy aircraft approach from the north and drop bombs on Ta Qali and Birkirkara.  Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage.  Two ME109s attack HMS Abingdon which shoots down one of them.  Seven men are wounded, three seriously.

1925-0100 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Nine enemy aircraft approach singly from the north and east.  Several descend below 2,000 feet and carry out patrols round the Island – suspected to be mine-laying.  Low flying aircraft machine-gun St Thomas’ searchlight position and Zonkor Point.

2305 hrs Several enemy aircraft cross the south east coast and drop High Explosive and incendiary bombs on Kalafrana, Benghaisa, and Hal Far areas.

2345 hours onwards  A series of bombing attacks concentrated on Ta Qali and Luqa, causing only slight damage.  Searchlights are illuminated; Heavy Ack Ack fires four immediate barrages; Bofors and light machine guns engage low flying aircraft; no claims.

Military casualties  Corporal Arthur Blyth, LAC William McNicol, Royal Air Force.


AIR HQ  Arrivals  Four Hudson, two Whitley, one Wellington from Gibraltar.  Departures  Four Blenheims for 108 MU.

HAL FAR  Night 30/31st  Air raid on Hal Far by at least three JU88s.  One Swordfish badly damaged, two Swordfish and one Fulmar slightly damaged.  No damage to buildings except stone pen surrounding Swordfish.  No casualties.

LUQA  69 Squadron Photo-Reconnaissance (PR)  One Maryland PR Misurata aerodrome and town; one Maryland Sicilian aerodromes.  18 Squadron  One Blenheim SF 14 patrol.  104 Squadron  Three Wellingtons nuisance raid Tripoli.  107 Squadron  SF 14 patrol.

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Posted by on December 31, 2021 in 1941, December 1941


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