HMS Viknor

June 13th, 2011

HMS Viknor, originally built as the Atrato for the Royal Mail Line as a Liner in 1888 was employed on the West Indies service. She was bought by the Viking Cruise Line in 1912 and subsequentially hired by the Admiralty from 19 November 1914, converted to an armed merchant cruiser and put into service. Whilst on patrol off the North West Approaches she sank with the loss of all hands. Many bodies and wreckage were washed ashore along the north coast of Ireland and a monument to the dead was erected at a Friary near Ballycastle.

It has always been unclear as to her fate as there was no distress signal and a storm raged on the night in question. The Viknor has now been located at the extreme south west end of the minefield laid by the German ship, Berlin, and it would appear that she was lost due to contact with one of the mines.

Total losses were 291 crew/marines etc and apparently the Viknor had on board from the Bergensfjord, 1 German national suspected of being a secret agent and 6 stowaways who were also drowned.

The Rosguill took a group of Irish divers to the wreck of HMS Viknor, lying in 85metres, and laid a British Naval Ensign on her. I have shown below a photograph of the Ensign on the wreck, placed for all those who died, at the request of the great nephew of the ship’s surgeon, Vernon Lickfold Matthews, MRCS Eng., LRCP Lond., R.N. (1883 –1915). (portrait also below)