HMS Hermes

HMS Hermes History

HMS Hermes 1796-2013

1796 HMS Hermes 1
14 Gun ship captured from the Dutch and renamed Hermes – she was 201 tons, 80 feet long with a beam of 27 feet.
She was lost at sea under the command of Commander William Mulso and was lost with all hands in 1797.

1798 HMS Hermes 2
14 Gun Sloop ship of 331 tons this ship was sold in 1802

1803 HMS Hermes 3
16 Gun Sloop ship this craft was 339 tons, 107 feet long with a beam of 27 feet.  She carried a crew of 100 men and in March 1810 she was sold after serving on the Downs in the North sea, the Channel and finally on the South American station.

1811 HMS Hermes 4
The fourth Hermes was launched at Portsmouth – she was a 6th rate of 512 tons mounting 20 guns under the command of Captain Browne.  She destroyed and sunk a French lugger off Beechy head after three hours of action.
In 1814 she was destroyed in action in the American war.  On the 12th of September together with three other ships she was anchored off Bowyer West Florida.  On the 15th Hermes cable was cut and she drifted away with the current and was eventually grounded.  It was then necessary to abandon ship and she was burned to avoid capture.  Twenty five crew were killed in action and twenty four wounded.


1830 HMS Hermes 5
In 1930 this ship was bought for the Royal Navy she served until 1834 when she was converted to a coal hulk.

1835 HMS Hermes 6
Hermes 6 was launched at Portsmouth on 26th June 1835.  She was of 830 tons with six guns – she won the battle of honour for Burma and on April 5th she took part in the combined naval and military assault on Martaban which was captured after an hour and a half.  Five days later Hermes was with the combined force which moved against Rangoon.  The following year Hermes was active against Chinese pirates.  She finally returned to England and was used as a cholera hospital ship at Gravesend until broken up in 1864.


1866 HMS Hermes 7
Hermes 7 was a 74 gun ship of 1,726 tons she was used as a receiving ship and was broken up in the same year at Sheerness.

1898 HMS Hermes 8
Launched at Fairfield yard, Govan on 7th April 1898 she had a displacement of 5,600 tons and 11-6inch guns.  In 1900 her boilers broke down in the West Indies and she drifted sometime before being taken in to tow this earns her the name “three funnelled brig”.  She was converted into a seaplane carrier for service with the naval wing of the Royal Flying Corps.  She was commissioned on 31st August 1914 her career was short as on 31st October she was torpedoed by a German sub – twenty three lives were lost.


1919 Hermes 9
First aircraft carrier designed and built with island superstructure – she was of 10,850 tons displacement with main armament 6-5.5 inch guns.
After the raid on Colombo on 5th April1942 by the Japanese, Hermes was sent to Trincomalee but had left harbour when the Japanese attacked on 9th April.  She was spotted by a scout plane and attacked by several dozen dive bombers.  Shortly afterwards the carrier and her escort destroyer were quickly sunk with the loss of 307 crew.


HMS Hermes 9 Commanding Officers 1923-1942

Captain The Hon A.Stopford CMG RN Appointed 20th February 1923

Captain C.P.Talbot DSO RN Appointed 15th July 1925

Captain R.Elliot CBE RN Appointed 25th July 1927

Captain G.Hopwood CBE RN Appointed 2ed December 1927

Captain J.D Campbell MVO CBE RN Appointed 17th January 1929

Captain E.J.G.Mackinnon RN Appointed 2ed October 1930

Captain W.B Mackenzie RN Appointed 8th January 1932

Captain The Hon G.Fraser DSO RN Appointed 15th August 1934

Captain F.E.P.Hutton RN Appointed 23rd August 1939

Captain R.J.F.Onslow MVO DSC RN Appointed 7th May 1940

1953 Hermes 10
British aircraft carrier and the last of the Centaur-Class, displacement of 23,000 tons length 774 ft 9 inches.  Hermes 10 was in service with the Royal Navy from 1959 until 1984 – she served as the British flagship of the Falklands war.  She was sold to India in 1986 the vessel was renamed INS Viraat and is still in service today making her the longest serving aircraft carrier in naval history.


HMS Hermes 10 Commanding Officers 1959-1983

Captain D.S.Tibbits DSC RN Appointed 19th October 1959

Captain W.D.O`Brien DSC RN Appointed 24th November 1961

Captain T.T.Lewin MVO DSC RN Appointed 1st February 1966

Captain D.G.Parker DSO DSC AFC RN Appointed 23rd October 1967

Captain J.W.Fieldhouse RN Appointed 9th December 1967

Captain D.G.Parker DSO DSC AFC RN Appointed 19 th January 1968

Captain P.M.Austin Appointed 2ed July 1969

Captain C.R.P.C.Branson RN Appointed 27th February 1973

Captain D.R.Reffell RN Appointed 9th November 1974

Captain R.G.A.Fitch Appointed 21 st September 1976

Captain D.C.Jenkin RN Appointed 22ed April 1978

Captain D.J.Mackenzie RN Appointed 10th December 1979

Captain L.E.Middleton RN Appointed 4th November 1980

Captain R.C.Dimmock RN Appointed 20th September 1982

Captain K.A.Snow RN Appointed 23rd August 1983


INS Viraat  2013 Indian Navy