As dawn broke on 19 July 1918, the carrier swung into the wind and aircraft engines burst into life, preparing for a historic, untested mission—attacking the Zeppelin base at Tondern with the first deck-launched airstrike in the history of warfare. (Simon Smith, www.sasmithart.co.uk)
The roots of the Tondern mission stretched back to the beginning of World War I. Throughout the war, the Royal Navy operated a variety of aircraft at sea. A 20,500-ton ex–passenger liner became the seaplane tender and aircraft carrier HMS Campania when she was commissioned in April 1915. She cruised the Mediterranean and Aegean with as many as ten small flying boats.