HMS Hermes

HMS Hermes was a Highflyer class second class cruiser that was converted to act as a seaplane carrier in 1913. Prior to that, she had served as the flagship of the East Indies station and then the Cape station (1907-1913). In May 1913 she was re-commissioned as a seaplane carrier. The conversion involved fitting a stowage platform at the rear of the ship and a launching platform at the front. The aircraft took off using wheeled trolleys and were then retrieved by cranes. Two seaplanes were carried during trials in 1913. The results of these trials were used to help design HMS Ark Royal, completed as a seaplane carrier using a pre-existing hull after her purchase in May 1914.

After the trials ended in December 1913 the aircraft equipment was removed from the Hermes. At the start of the First World War it had to be reinstalled, and so she didn’t enter service until 31 August 1914. She was then used to ferry aircraft to France. On 30 October she arrived at Dunkirk with one load of seaplanes. The next morning she set out on the return journey. She was then recalled because a German submarine was known to be in the area, but before the order could be obeyed, she was torpedoed by U-27 off Ruylingen Bank. She sank with the loss of 22 of her crew.  



Top Speed


Armour – deck

1.5in – 3in

 - conning tower


 - gunshields


 - engine hatches





Eleven 6in quick firing guns
Nine 12pdr quick firing guns
Six 3prd quick firing guns
Two 18in submerged torpedo tubes

Crew complement



7 April 1898


5 October 1899

Sunk by U-27

31 October 1914

Books on the First World War | Subject Index: First World War

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (12 November 2007), HMS Hermes,

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