Are your memories of HMS Abdiel all shipshape?

HMS Abdiel pictured sailing into Hartlepool assisted by two Hartlepool tugs.
HMS Abdiel pictured sailing into Hartlepool assisted by two Hartlepool tugs.

Hartlepool people of a certain age will have fond reason to remember the name Abdiel.

It was the name of the town’s adopted ship HMS Abdiel which was a regular visitor and her stays in town usually led to a whole host of events taking place.

The sign delivered by Expanded Metal to HMS Abdiel in 1980.

The sign delivered by Expanded Metal to HMS Abdiel in 1980.

It was certainly the case in 1980 when she was in town for an official visit.

It signalled a whole host of events taking place in 1980 such as a rifle shooting competition, a hockey match against Seaton Carew, a rugby match against Hartlepool RFC and a football match against Hartlepool Police. Were you involved?

But just as importantly, her visits always led to lots of people coming along to take a look round the ship. Were you one of them and what do you remember of her?

HMS Abdiel was also well known for the way her crew encouraged Hartlepool school pupils to pay a visit. Perhaps you were one of those who got to look around and have memories of the occasion.

Abdiel made the headlines in 1980 for another reason. That was the year she changed her role and became a support vessel.

To commemorate the change of duties, her crew linked up with town firm Expanded Metal. Abdiel’s Master-at-Arms thought it would be a good idea to highlight her change of duties to the four squadrons that the ship served.

He approached Expanded Metal to make two huge signs which could be attached to the ship’s funnel. Pictured is the scene when the signs were officially handed over by Expanded Metal to the ship. Were you there and what do you remember of the occasion.

HMS Abdiel was a Royal Navy minelayer that saw service during the Cold War. She was commissioned 51 years ago and often had townspeople among its crew. We’d love to hear from people with memories of her.

A Hartlepool Mail story from 1980 showed that three of her crew members all came from the town. They were Jim Glew, John Walker and Stephen Radford.

The year 1980 was also a special one for HMS Abdiel as she had taken part in a major NATO exercise where she supported nine ships.

Abdiel’s links with Hartlepool came to an end when she was paid off in 1988 and was sold for scrapping. But she only said goodbye after an official send-off when she arrived in Portsmouth.

She was escorted into port by the minesweepers Bronnington and Nurton, as a Royal Maritime Auxiliary tug cascaded water into the air from her fire hoses.

Afterwards nine of the vessel’s former captains toasted the ship, affectionately known to them all as “A lady with a mind of her own”.

What do you remember of HMS Abdiel?

Or is there another aspect of Hartlepool history you would like us to recall?

Perhaps there is a favourite former school, shop, store or pub you would wish to share memories of.

Get in touch and tell us more by emailing chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk