DEVASTATED is an over-used word these days but, for once, that must surely have been how our communities in South Tyneside were when HMS Viknor went down.
This was the ship, you may recall, formerly The Viking, whose loss in 1915 – probably to a German mine – impacted far more here than that of the Titanic did, at least in terms of those who died.
Many of the 295 victims of the ship, which signed on here at Shields, were from Tyneside and round about.
In fact, I’ve since been interested to hear from Vin Mullen that six are commemorated on the Palmer Cenotaph at Jarrow alone.
* James Adam, fireman, 29, husband of Amy Adam (nee Humfress) of 61 South Street, Jarrow.
* Leslie Charlton Arkle, writer second class, aged 19, of Gateshead.
* Walter Davison Arthur, blacksmith, 22, husband of Mary Colby (formerly Arthur) of 7 Eastern Terrace. East Howdon.
* Arthur Hartley, carpenter, 24, husband of Esther Hartley (nee Blythman) of East View, High Heworth.
* William Pattison, painter, 37, husband of Mary Pattison of 15 Hibernian Road, Jarrow.
* John Richardson, greaser.
Commemorated at St Paul’s Church, Jarrow, are:
* Donald Campbell Mackay, carpenter, 25, husband of Margaret Mackay of 17 Union Street Back, Jarrow.
* James Hodgen Riley, fireman, 27, husband of Bridget Riley (nee Callaghan) of 7 Walter Street, Jarrow.
* John William Sayers, fireman, 39, husband of Alice Sayers (nee Adam) of 11 Hibernian Road Back, Jarrow.
All are also remembered on the Plymouth Naval Memorial.
** Can I also thank Paul Hood who, via Kevin Blair, was able to identify that mystery funnel marking of a ship we saw in dock at Shields as that of the American Ocean-Wide Shipping Co Ltd.
Apparently at that time, in the mid-1960s, they only had one ship, Compass Spirit, built in 1953 by Bartrams & Sons, Sunderland, as Boheme for Rederi A/B Wallenco, under the Swedish flag.
She underwent six subsequent name changes – she was Newcastle Trader at one point – before ending her days under the Cypriot flag as the Captain Theo, going to the breaker’s at Ghent in 1977.