HMS Hermes

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Aircraft Carrier histories. Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Hermes. Aircraft carrier history of HMS Hermes from its launch to its participation in major wars also notice board for families of ex-crew of the carrier HMS Hermes.

HMS Hermes was the first Aircraft Carrier to be designed and built for the Royal Navy. compared to its predecessors which has been converted form other ships.  HMS Hermes was ordered in July 1917 and laid down on the 15th January 1918. Hermes was built by Armstrong Whitworth (Parsons). and was launched ion the 11th September 1919 and commissioned into the royal navy in July 1923. HMS Furious would remain the only designed carrier in the Royal navy for 15 years until the construction of HMS Ark Royal.  She was built to the standards of a cruiser of the day with armour and armament and size making her a small carrier at the time of the outbreak of world war two.  She served most of her 1930's service life based at Wei-Hai-Wei (China station) until the outbreak of war when she was transferred to the east Indies station  to combat the threat from German surface raiders.  (Her Flag superior was changed to D)   In 1940   she was involved in a collision with the  Armed Merchant Cruiser Corfu. Hermes was badly damaged in the collision and had to be repaired in South Africa. After her repairs were done she was involved in attacks against German positions and shipping of the coast of east Africa.  She was transferred in 1942 to the Eastern Fleet and on the 9th April 1942. she was attacked and sunk by aircraft from the Japanese carriers Soryu, Akagi and Hiryu off the coast of Ceylon

Displacement: 10,850 tons,  Speed: 25 Knots, Compliment  including aircrew 664.  Armament: Six 5.5 inch guns,  three 4 inch AA  Guns   15 Aircraft

 

The incomplete hull of HMS Hermes, 1920.

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HMS Hermes, 1924.

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HMS Hermes, October 1937.

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HMS Hermes, May 1937.

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HMS Hermes, October 1934.

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HMS Hermes, October 1934.

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HMS Hermes, May 1936.

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HMS Hermes, May 1937.

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HMS Hermes, May 1937.

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HMS Hermes c.1927

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HMS Hermes

HMS Hermes was the first purpose built aircraft carrier ordered by any navy although she couldn't carry many aircraft. She was sunk during an attack from Japanese aircraft on 9th April 1942.

Displacement: 10, 850 tons.     Draught: 18ft 6ins.     Compliment: 700.     Length: 598 ft.    Beam: 70ft 3ins.     Speed: 25 Knots.     Armament: Three 5.5 inch guns, three single 4 inch AA guns and two sets of 0.5 inch AA guns in fours.     Aircraft: Initially 15 (Fairey III and Flycatcher) then 12 (Fairey Swordfish).

HMS Hermes moored at Honk Kong Harbour in the 1920's (photograph courtesy of Neil McHart and FAN Publications from the book HMS Hermes).

Hermes undergoes her trials in 1923 (photograph courtesy of Neil McHart and FAN Publications from the book HMS Hermes).

Having made a successful landing, Fairey Seal is taken in hand by flight deck handlers (photograph courtesy of Neil McHart and FAN Publications from the book HMS Hermes).

Hoisting a Fairey Flycatcher onto the flight deck

HMS Hermes

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An aerial view taken by a Japanese pilot of Hermes on fire and listing to port shortly before she sank after an onslaught by Japanese naval bombers (photograph courtesy of Neil McHart and FAN Publications from the book HMS Hermes).

A Hawker Osprey is prepared for take-off (photograph courtesy of Neil McHart and FAN Publications from the book HMS Hermes).

HMS Hermes, Malta, 1920's.

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HMS Hermes from the air.  1934 - 36.  Sent in by Ira James.  

HMS Hermes China Station Sports Trophies, 1930 - 1933.

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The flight deck of HMS Hermes.

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Commanding Officers as listed by dates appointed (taken from the book HMS Hermes by Neil McHart):
  • 1923 - Captain The Hon A Stopford CMG, RN
  • 1925 - Captain C P Talbot DSO, RN
  • 1927 - Captain R Elliot CBE, RN
  • 1927 - Captain G Hopwood CBE, RN
  • 1929 - Captain J D Campbell MVO, CBE, RN
  • 1930 - Captain E J G Mackinnon RN
  • 1932 - Captain W B Mackenzie RN
  • 1934 - Captain The Hon G Fraser DSO, RN
  • 1939 - Captain F E P Hutton RN
  • 1940 - Captain R J F Onslow MVO, DSC, RN