Seaplane Carrier is a ship that provides facilities for operating seaplanes. These ships were the first aircraft carriers and appeared just before the First World War.
These carriers had hangars for storing and maintaining the aircraft, but no flight deck as in a true aircraft carrier. Instead, they used cranes to lower the aircraft into the sea for take off and to recover them after landing. The ships were normally converted merchant vessels rather than specially constructed for the task.
HMS Vindex was a Royal Navy seaplane carrier during the First World War. The ship was built in 1905 by Armstrong Whitworth, Newcastle upon Tyne as the Viking, a fast passenger ferry for the Isle of Man Steam Packet. Viking was requisitioned by the Royal Navy on 26 March 1915 for conversion to a seaplane carrier, and was purchased outright on 11 November 1915. She was renamed HMS Vindex to avoid confusion with the destroyer HMS Viking. Vindex was assigned to the Harwich Force in November 1915 and operated in the North Sea through 1917.
The ship was transferred to the Mediterranean Fleet at Malta in 1918, where she served until she was paid off in late 1919. Vindex was originally intended to be retained for service with the fleet after the end of the war, but this proved to be too expensive and she was sold back to her original owners on 12 February 1920 and reverted to her original name. She was requisitioned again in 1939 and served through the Second World War as a troopship, but not as HMS Vindex. The ship was returned to her owners in 1945 and was finally sold for scrap in 1954.
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