Protected cruiser HMS Hermes

The protected cruiser HMS Hermes belonged to the Highflyer class, which consisted of three ships and was rebuilt as the first pilot seaplane carrier of the Royal Navy before the First World War.


Launching and design:

The ships of the Highflyer class were based on the Eclipse class and were almost identical in basic design, but in these cruisers, the armament and propulsion system should be consistent and no longer mixed.

For this purpose eleven 6-inch guns were selected as the main armament and for the drive system water tube boiler, which not only saved weight but also made the ships faster than the Eclipse class.

The launch of the HMS Hermes took place on 7 April 1898, the commissioning on 5 October 1899.



HMS Hermes


HMS Hermes


Two guns at the Rear of HMS Hermes




History of HMS Hermes:

After commissioning, HMS Hermes was assigned to the North America and West Indies Station. After leaving Las Palmas on 10 December 1899 towards Bermuda, the problems started with the boilers of the propulsion plant. This meant that the ship had to be towed over longer distances from other British ships, as it could not drive by itself.

After several makeshift repairs, a major overhaul took place at Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast until 1903, replacing the previously used Belleville boilers with Babcock boilers.

As of August 1903, the ship was again able to participate in maneuvers and round trips with the Channel Fleet.

After serving as a flagship of the East Indies Station from 1905 to 1907, the service took place in the Cape Squadron in South Africa until the beginning of 1913.

From May 1913, a platform and a hangar for carrying aircraft was mounted at the stern for experimental purposes. In the front area a start deck was built up. Thus, the ship could carry two seaplanes. Previous attempts at various liners were unsuccessful, but as the Royal Navy recognized the value of naval aircraft early on, attempts were made to use ships as carriers for sea and seaplanes. The HMS Hermes received on July 17, 1913 two short p. 64 / Admiralty Type 81 aircraft with which on July 21, 1913, the first successful reconnaissance flights were carried out.

The findings gained from the experiments were used, among other things, later in the construction of the seaplane carrier HMS Ark Royal.

The experiments ended in December 1913, the ship was rebuilt as a protected cruiser and assigned to the reserve.



A short folder seaplane is taken on board




Use in the war:

When the First World War broke out HMS Hermes was reactivated and rebuilt again as a carrier for reconnaissance aircraft, with which the ship could only be handed over to the Royal Navy on August 31, 1914.

It was subordinated directly to the Nore Command and used as a transporter for aircraft from the UK to France.





After unloading aircraft in Dunkerque HMS Hermes left on October 31, 1914 the port direction Great Britain. Shortly after leaving the ship received a command to return, as in the area a German submarine was sighted.

However, before the ship could turn and drive back, it was already torpedoed by the German submarine U-27 and sank. 22 crew members died in the attack.




Ship data:


HMS Hermes


Great Britain

Ship Type:  

Protected cruiser




Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company, Govan


around £ 300,000


April 7, 1898


October 5, 1899


Sunk on October 31, 1914 by the German submarine U-27


113,5 meters


16,5 meters


6,7 meters


Max. 5.600 tons


450 men


18 Belleville boiler
(from 1903 Babcock boiler)

2 four-cylinder triple expansion machines


10.500 ihp (PSi)

Maximum speed:  

20,5 kn




11 x 152 mm Mk.III guns

9 x 76-mm QF Marine guns

6 x 47-mm guns

2 x 45-cm torpedo tubes under water


Armor deck 76 - 127 mm

Command post 152 mm






You can find the right literature here:


British Battleships of World War One

British Battleships of World War One Hardcover – November 15, 2012

This new edition of a classic work on British battleships is the most sought after book on the subject. Containing many new photographs from the author's exhaustive collection this superb reference book presents the complete technical history of British capital ship design and construction during the dreadnought era. Beginning with Dreadnought, all of the fifty dreadnoughts, 'super-dreadnoughts' and battlecruisers that served the Royal Navy during this era are described and superbly illustrated with photographs and line drawings.

Click here!



The British Battleship: 1906-1946

The British Battleship: 1906-1946 Hardcover – October 15, 2015

Norman Friedman brings a new perspective to an ever-popular subject in The British Battleship: 1906-1946. With a unique ability to frame technologies within the context of politics, economics, and strategy, he offers unique insight into the development of the Royal Navy capital ships. With plans of the important classes commissioned from John Roberts and A D Baker III and a color section featuring the original Admiralty draughts, this book offers something to even the most knowledgeable enthusiast.

Click here!



British Battlecruisers 1905-1920

British Battlecruisers 1905-1920 Hardcover – December 15, 2016

The brainchild of Admiral Sir John Fisher, battlecruisers combined heavy guns and high speed in the largest hulls of their era. Conceived as "super-cruisers" whose job it was to hunt down and destroy commerce raiders, their size and gun-power led to their inclusion in the battlefleet as a fast squadron of capital ships. This book traces in detail the development of Fisher's original idea into the first battlecruiser Invincible of 1908, through to the "Splendid Cats" of the Lion class, and culminating in HMS Hood in 1920, the largest warship in the world for the next twenty years. The origins of the unusual "light battlecruisers" of the Courageous type are also covered.

The well-publicized problems of British battlecruisers are examined, including the latest research throwing light on the catastrophic loss of three of the ships at the Battle of Jutland. The developmental history is backed by chapters covering machinery, armament, and armor, with a full listing of important technical data. The comprehensive collection of illustrations includes the author's superb drawings and original Admiralty plans reproduced in full color. This revised and updated edition of the classic work first published in 1997 will be welcomed by anyone with an interest in the most charismatic and controversial warships of the dreadnought era.

Click here!



British Battlecruiser vs German Battlecruiser: 1914–16 (Duel)

British Battlecruiser vs German Battlecruiser: 1914–16 (Duel) Paperback – November 19, 2013

Battles at Dogger Bank and Jutland revealed critical firepower, armor, and speed differences in Royal Navy and Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial German Navy) Battlecruiser designs.

Fast-moving and formidably armed, the battlecruisers of the British and German navies first encountered one another in 1915 at Dogger Bank and in the following year clashed near Jutland in the biggest battleship action of all time. In the decade before World War I Britain and Germany were locked in a naval arms race that saw the advent of first the revolutionary dreadnought, the powerful, fast-moving battleship that rendered earlier designs obsolete, and then an entirely new kind of vessel - the battlecruiser. The brainchild of the visionary British admiral John 'Jacky' Fisher, the battlecruiser was designed to operate at long range in 'flying squadrons', using its superior speed and powerful armament to hunt, outmanoeuvre and destroy any opponent. The penalty paid to reach higher speeds was a relative lack of armour, but Fisher believed that 'speed equals protection'. By 1914 the British had ten battlecruisers in service and they proved their worth when two battlecruisers, Invincible and Inflexible, sank the German armoured cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau off the Falklands in December 1914.

Based on a divergent design philosophy that emphasised protection over firepower, the Germans' battlecruisers numbered six by January 1915, when the rival battlecruisers first clashed at Dogger Bank in the North Sea. By this time the British battlecruisers had been given a new role - to locate the enemy fleet. Five British battlecruisers accompanied by other vessels intercepted and pursued a German force including three battlecruisers; although the battle was a British tactical victory with neither side losing any of its battlecruisers, the differences in the designs of the British and German ships were already apparent. The two sides responded very differently to this first clash; while the Germans improved their ammunition-handling procedures to lessen the risk of disabling explosions, the British drew the opposite lesson and stockpiled ammunition in an effort to improve their rate of fire, rendering their battlecruisers more vulnerable. The British also failed to improve the quality of their ammunition, which had often failed to penetrate the German ships' armour.

These differences were highlighted more starkly during the battle of Jutland in May 1916. Of the nine British battlecruisers committed, three were destroyed, all by their German counterparts. Five German battlecruisers were present, and of these, only one was sunk and the remainder damaged. The limitations of some of the British battlecruisers' fire-control systems, range-finders and ammunition quality were made clear; the Germans not only found the range more quickly, but spread their fire more effectively, and the German battlecruisers' superior protection meant that despite being severely mauled, all but one were able to evade the British fleet at the close of the battle. British communication was poor, with British crews relying on ship-to-ship flag and lamp signals even though wireless communication was available. Even so, both sides claimed victory and the controversy continues to this day.

Click here!






This post is also available in: Deutsch (German) Français (French) Italiano (Italian) 简体中文 (Chinese (Simplified)) Русский (Russian) Español (Spanish) العربية (Arabic)

Comments are closed.

error: Content is protected !!