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HMS Hermes (95)

From Academic Kids


The sinking of HMS Hermes in 1942.
Career RN Ensign
Laid down: January 1918
Launched: 11 September 1919
Commissioned: July 1923
Fate: Sunk by Japanese air attack on April 9 1942.
General Characteristics
Displacement: 11,085 tons
Length: 182.27 m
Beam: 21.41 m
Draft: 5.64 m
Propulsion: Two steam turbines, 40,000 hp (30 MW)
Speed: 25 knots (46 km/h)
Range:
Complement: 700 officers and men
Armament: Six 5.5 inch (140 mm) guns, three 4 inch (102 mm) anti-aircraft guns and eight 12.7mm AA guns. Six 20 mm guns were added in 1934.
Aircraft: Initially 15 (Fairey III and Flycatcher) then 12 (Fairey Swordfish II or Supermarine Walrus).

HMS Hermes (95) was the first purpose built aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy, and the second in the world after the Imperial Japanese Navy's Hosho.

She was built just after World War I. She was laid down by Armstrong-Whitworths in January 1918 and launched September 11, 1919. She was not commissioned until 1923.

The design was not inspired by practical experience, in operation her air complement was small, her protection and endurance limited and her stability was poor, especially in high seas.

During World War II she served briefly with the Home Fleet before being assigned to the southern Atlantic from October 1939. She worked with the French navy based at Dakar until the Vichy government came to power, following that her aircraft took part in a strike against the French vessels at Dakar. In July 1940 she collided with a merchant vessel and was repaired at Simonstown, South Africa. Following repairs she continued patrols but this time in the Indian Ocean as part of the Eastern Fleet.

During the Indian Ocean raid, Hermes was in harbour at Trincomalee, Ceylon, undergoing repairs. Advance warning of a Japanese air raid allowed her to leave port, but as she returned following the raid on April 9, 1942, she was spotted off Batticaloa by a Japanese reconnaissance plane. Lacking planes of her own, she was defenceless when she was attacked by 70 Japanese bombers. Hit 40 times, Hermes sank with the loss of 307 men. Her escorts — the destroyer HMAS Vampire and the corvette Hollyhock — and two tankers were also sunk. 590 survivors of the attack were picked up by the hospital ship Vita and taken to Colombo.

See HMS Hermes for other ships of this name.

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