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 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 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.
A Short Folder seaplane being hoisted aboard in 1913.
Two of the 6-inch (152-mm) guns aboard Hermes.
HMS Hermes at Dar es Salaam.
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.
Read more about this topic: HMS Hermes (1898)
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