Hermes 9 was the first purpose built aircraft carrier in the world. The design was based on that of a cruiser and the ship was intended for a similar scouting role. She was built by Armstrong Whitworth, laid down 15 January 1918 and launched 11 September 1919.
She was then towed to Devonport for completion. She was subsequently commissioned in July 1923. and after a distinguished wartime career she was lost 9 April 1942.
HMS Hermes had a small aircraft complement, light protection and anti-aircraft armament. She had a limited high-speed endurance and stability problems caused by the large starboard island, with fuel having to be carefully distributed to balance the ship.
HMS Hermes was deemed unsuitable for operations in European waters, and was consequently employed in trade protection in the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans until March 1942.
Her only fleet operation was on 8 July 1940, when her Swordfish aircraft attacked the Vichy French battleship Richelieu at Dakar and scored one torpedo hit. This was supplemented by a depth charge attack with the Hermes motor boat details of which are available for download on the Hermes Shop
HMS Hermes was attacked by Japanese aircraft on 9 April 1942 off Trincomalee, Ceylon and was lost with many of the ship’s company.
The Royal Navy's first purpose-built aircraft carrier, HMS Hermes.