Which was the very first ship in the world designed and built as an aircraft carrier? It was HMS HERMES shown here
Every other aircraft carrier of every nation before HERMES was a modification of a ship built for other purposes and as often as not, built as a merchant ship.
HERMES was completed in February 1924 and spent a great deal of time on the China station. In the early years of WW2 she was used in the Atlantic on convoy duties. Also early in the war the French had capitulated to the Germans who directly controlled Northern France. Southern France was controlled by the pro German vichy-French. The vichy-French also controlled the Island of Madagascar which was affecting shipping between The Cape and the Horn of Africa. In 1942, HERMES was sent to Trincomalee in Ceylon to prepare for an all out assault on Madagascar and whilst off Ceylon she was attacked by the Japanese. They deployed fifty aircraft in the attack and no fewer than forty bombs hit the ship which sank her. Two thirds of her ship's company of 900 men were saved but just over 300 died.
It is of interest that as HERMES was completed in 1924, two months later, the Battlecruiser HMS Glorious was taken in hand to be converted into an aircraft carrier which was completed in 1930. Her story is famous, when in WW2, she detached herself from the main body and started to make her own way back to Scotland. During that lone passage, she was attacked by the Scharnhorst and the Gneisenau and destroyed with a dreadful loss of lives.