HMS Riviera

HMS Riviera was a cross-channel steamer that was taken over by the Royal Navy on 11 August 1914, and in two days converted into a seaplane carrier. This was a fairly simple conversion, involving fitting cranes to the ship and equipping it with a canvas hanger to protect the seaplanes.

The Riviera took part in the Cuxhaven Raid of 25 December 1914. This saw nine seaplanes from the Engadine, Riviera and Empress attack Cuxhaven and the German fleet anchorage in the Schilling Roads. One of the Riviera’s aircraft, a Short 135 (no. 136), flown by Flight-Commander C. F. Kilner, flew over the German fleet, but didn’t drop any bombs. In the chaos that followed, the battlecruiser Von der Tann was badly damaged in a collision with another cruiser. Kilner’s aircraft was one of only two to successfully return to their carrier.

The Riviera was part of the Dover Patrol from 1915 until the end of the war. This was an active posting, close to German bases in Belgium. On 20 March 1916 Riviera and Vindex launched an attack on the German seaplane base on the mole at Zeebrugge. This time all the aircraft returned to their carriers.

In June 1918 the Riviera was given a refit and recommissioned to serve in the Mediterranean. On her return she was paid off (21 May 1919) and then returned to her original owners.

In the Second World War she was taken over by the navy for a second time, this time under the name HMS Laird’s Isle. In 1939 she served as an Armed Boarding Vessel, before being converted to serve as a Landing Ship Infantry (Hand), or LSI(H), carrying 420 troops and six Assault Landing Craft. After the war she was once again returned to her owners.


2500t normal
1783t gross

Top Speed







Two 4in guns
One 6pdr gun


4 seaplanes

Crew complement




Completed as carrier

13 August 1914


Lt. Commander E. D. M. Robertson
Lt. Commander Elwell-Sutton
Commander Trousdale

Returned to owner


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

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (pending), HMS Riviera ,

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