Military Wiki
HMS Hermes (1898)
File:Hermes Simons Bay.JPG
HMS Hermes at Simon's Bay, Coronation Day, 1911.
Career (United Kingdom)
Class and type: Highflyer class cruiser
Name: HMS Hermes
Ordered: 1897
Builder: Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company, Govan
Laid down: April 1897
Launched: 7 April 1898
Commissioned: October 1899
Reclassified: Fitted to carry seaplanes in 1913
Fate: Sunk by U-27, 31 October 1914
General characteristics
Displacement: 5,600 long tons (5,700 t)
Length: 350 ft (110 m) (p.p.
372 ft (113 m) (o/a)
Beam: 54 ft (16 m)
Draught: 22 ft (6.7 m)
Installed power: 10,000 ihp (7,500 kW)
Propulsion: 2 × 4-cylinder triple expansion steam engines
2 × screws
Speed: 20 kn (23 mph; 37 km/h)
Capacity: Coal: 500 long tons (510 t) (normal); 1,120 long tons (1,140 t) (maximum)
Complement: 450
Armament: 11 × QF 6 in (152 mm) guns
9 × QF 12-pounder guns
6 × QF 3-pounder guns
2 × 18-inch (450-mm) torpedo tubes
  • Deck and machinery spaces: 3 in (7.6 cm)
  • Engine hatches: 5 in (13 cm)
  • Conning Tower: 6 in (15 cm)
Aircraft carried: 3 × seaplanes

HMS Hermes was a Highflyer-class cruiser which served with the Royal Navy. She is notable for being refitted in April–May 1913 as the first experimental seaplane carrier of the Royal Navy, with a launching platform and room to stow three seaplanes (the French Foudre preceded her by about a year).


Hermes was built at the yards of Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company, Govan, being laid down in April 1897, launched on 7 April 1898, and commissioned in October 1899. She initially served as the flagship of the East Indies station but was paid off at Devonport in December 1900. She later served at 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 retrieved by cranes. Two seaplanes were carried during trials in 1913. The results of these trials were used to help design Ark Royal, completed as a seaplane carrier using an existing hull after her purchase in May 1914. After the seaplane trials ended in December 1913, Hermes reverted to a cruiser and was recommissioned, only to be taken out of service at the end of the year and placed in reserve.

At the start of the First World War, Hermes was again converted to a seaplane tender, delaying her recommissioning until 31 August 1914; she was then part of the Nore Command and used to ferry aircraft to France. On 30 October, Hermes arrived at Dunkirk with one load of seaplanes. The next morning, Hermes set out on the return journey but was recalled because a German submarine was reported in the area. Before the order could be obeyed, Hermes was torpedoed by U-27 off Ruylingen Bank in the Straits of Dover, and she sank with the loss of 22 of her crew. Her captain, who survived, was Charles Lambe.


HMS Hermes lies upside down in approximately 30 metres (100 feet) of water in position 51°06′18″N 1°50′18″E / 51.105°N 1.83833°E / 51.105; 1.83833Coordinates: 51°06′18″N 1°50′18″E / 51.105°N 1.83833°E / 51.105; 1.83833 [1].


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