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InSouthsea

HMS Viknor, sunk with all hands

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I've been surveying the War Graves in Kingston Cemetery in Portsmouth and came across the grave of Frank Merrett. He was Master at Arms (Service No. 150888), Royal Navy, on board HMS Viknor on 13/01/1915, the day when the ship sank off the NW coast of Ireland. The odd thing here is that the Viknor sank “with all hands”. It is known that a few bodies were washed ashore in Ireland, but they were all buried where they landed. How did Merrett's body come to be buried in Portsmouth, especially as we can find no direct connection between him and the City. Could his body have been picked up at sea and it just so happened that the next time the ship came ashore it was in Portsmouth.

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you could try and get hold of a death certificate . You would expect it to say drowned, but perhaps he was run over by a bus on leave in Portsmouth?

And your theory is possible

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Tim,

Does it give a date of death on grave?

Have you looked at the Burial Register?

I've looked at Marine deaths for 1915 but no Frank MERRETT.

There is a Stephen Merrett age 40 off the REWA.

No Frank Merrett in Death Regs. for 1915.

Kath.

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In Southsea

One of my village fallen (L/Seaman WH Woods) was also on board HMS VIKNOR (AMC),lost off Tory Island,Ireland,believed from German mines laid,on 13 January 1915.

Some of the crew were buried on Rathlin Island Antrim.

There is reference to this sinking in the Portsmouth Memorial Register,I don't know if it has names though,or even where it is kept !

Best wishes

Sotonmate

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Admiralty record:

MERRETT, FRANK, MASTER AT ARMS, 150888 (Po), VIKNOR, 13/01/2015, SHIP LOSS.

Armed Merchant Cruiser HMS Viknor, built 1888, 5,386 grt, reported position on 13th January 1915 off Malin Head, Ireland, not heard from again. 293 casualties.

Merrett's body, as you suggest, was probably found and landed at Portsmouth.

Best wishes

David

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Here's a few of the graves. The second is from Rathlin Island, near Ballycastle. The other is in Bonamargy Abbey, Ballycastle. There are other unknowns.

Regards

Carninyj

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post-3682-1168211201.jpg

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"but they were all buried where they landed"

http://www.rchs.uhi.ac.uk/communit/p37/ht/...War_records_B02

Gunner Kenneth Ballantyne-

"Casualty with a connection to Portsmouth:

His body was washed ashore at Ballycastle, Ireland, from where it was conveyed to Portsmouth, where his wife and two children reside."

Is this grave near Merrett's?

Merrett was born Hambledon, 15 miles N. of Portsmouth.

Kath.

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InSouthsea

Merrett, Frank, M.A.A. Viknor, is commerated in 'PORTSMOUTH AND THE GREAT WAR' Roll of Honour by William G. Gates.

Mr Merrett lived at 1, Hampshire Street, Langport, Portsmouth. Taken from Kelly's Portsmouth Directory 1911-1912

Regards

John

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John,

What page in the 1911 Directory is that, please?

Kath.

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Hello Kath,

Tried your link and got page unobtainable.

My system or typo?

Best wishes

David

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John,

What page in the 1911 Directory is that, please?

Kath.

Hello Kath

Page 637

Regards

John

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David,

I copied & pasted the link.

It works with me.

Try googling viknor ballantyne in first line of Advanced Search.

Then War Recods-BO2

Kath.

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John,

I've crossed wires I think.

I was looking in Kelly's Directory of Hampshire & Isle of Wight, 1911 in:

http://www.historicaldirectories.org/hd/index.asp

p 637 is about Winchester.

You were using a Kellys only of Portsmouth?

Thanks,

Kath.

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Many thanks for all your efforts, especially to Kath for pointing out that the body of another man from the Viknor was returned to Portsmouth. Both are buried in Kingston Cemetery, Portsmouth, but about 200m apart. I hadn't actually photographed Ballantyne's headstone on my first circuit of the cemetery which is probably why I hadn't noticed the similar circumstances. I will amend that discrepancy when the weather improves.

In answer to Sotonmate, the Portsmouth Memorial Register lists all the names on the Cenotaph in the Guildhall Square. Merrett's name appears on it, and so it does in the register as well. I was shown the Register in 2002 when I first researched the Cenotaph names but the City Council are now denying that they have it (so do the Library and Record Office). It's there somewhere but seems to have slipped off their radar.

Thanks again to all.

Tim

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Kath, thanks for your reply.

Best wishes

David

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Came across this thread and thought you might like see this, E O Ballantyne was the Captain of the Viknor , his body was washed up on the Dunfrieshire coast.

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Came across this thread and thought you might like see this, E O Ballantyne was the Captain of the Viknor , his body was washed up on the Dunfrieshire coast.

Wow. Some funeral. I hadn't realised that there were two Ballantynes aboard.

With reference to my earlier post I now have a photo of Kenneth Ballantyne's headstone which I attach for reference.

post-18070-1174648869.jpg

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The arrangements made for the transportation of K Ballantyne's remains from Ballycastle, Co Antrim to Portsmouth are detailed in these two transcripts from local papers.

Coleraine Chronicle 10th April 1915, page 11

NAVAL AND MILITARY HONOURS FOR VIKNOR VICTIM AT BALLYCASTLE

(Chief-Gunner Kenneth Ballantyne)

On Saturday the remains of Chief-Gunner Kenneth Ballantyne, one of the Viknor crew whose body had been washed ashore at Ballycastle in February, and whose remains were interred in Bonamargey burying-ground, were disinterred for the purpose of having them laid to rest in Portsmouth, at the request of his relatives. The funeral started from Bonamargey Abbey at 3.30pm, and was preceded by a detachment of the Royal Irish Fusiliers, in charge of Sergeant Kane, and immediately in front of the hearse was a pipers’ band. A guard of honour of the naval wireless operators marched beside the hearse, and immediately behind came a company of National Volunteers, under the command of Company-Commander JE Coghlan and Half-Company Commanders Francis Black, RDC, and E Savage, followed by a company of the Ulster Volunteer Force, in command of Company-Commanders Arthur Hunter and JA Bryne and Half-Company Commander Charles Lawrence; also the postmen attached to the Ballycastle Post Office, in charge of Mr GH Scarlett; and the local police force, in charge of Sergeant Brannigan. The entire arrangements were in charge of Mr J Ainsworth, RN, Divisional Officer Coastguards, Ballycastle. Large crowds lined the road all along the route to the railway station. Numbers of visitors were much impressed with the imposing spectacle. The remains left by the 4.10pm train for Portsmouth . The arrangements were in charge of Sergeant Brannigan, who approached the several corps to attend, and who organised the pipe band for the occasion. The hearse was supplied by Mr EF McCambridge, Antrim Arms Hotel, Ballycastle.

Northern Constitution 10th April 1915, page 6

NAVAL AND MILITARY HONOURS FOR VIKNOR VICTIM

AN IMPOSING SPECTACLE

The remains of Chief Gunner Kenneth Ballantyne, one of the Viknor crew, whose body was washed ashore at Ballycastle in February, and whose remains were interred in Bona-margy burying ground, were exhumed for the purpose of having them re-interred in Portsmouth, at the request of the deceased’s relatives. The funeral started from Bona-margy at 3.30, and was preceded by a detachment of the Royal Irish Fusiliers, in charge of Sergeant Kane, and immediately behind came a company of the National Volunteers, under Company-Commander JE Coghlan and Half-Company Commanders Francis Black, RDC, and E Savage, followed by a company of the Ulster Volunteers, under Company-Commanders Arthur Hunter and JA Byrne and Half-Company Commander Charles Lawrence; also the postmen attached to the Ballycastle Post Office, accompanied by Mr GN Scarlett, and the local police force, in charge of Sergeant Brannigan, attended the funeral. The arrangements were superintended by Mr J Ainsworth, RN divisional officer coastguards, Ballycastle. The remains left by the 4.10 train for England.

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Came across this thread and thought you might like see this, E O Ballantyne was the Captain of the Viknor , his body was washed up on the Dunfrieshire coast.

John this is a tremendous account of Ballantyne's funeral - would you mind telling us which paper it is from? I am interested in the Viknor and have only just noticed this thread.

Swizz

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"John this is a tremendous account of Ballantyne's funeral - would you mind telling us which paper it is from? I am interested in the Viknor and have only just noticed this thread."

Hi there ,it appeared in the Dalkeith Advertiser a local paper, Commander Ballantyne was a native of Dalkeith and he is buried in the cemetery there.

John

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Thanks John. His family were fortunate - if I can phrase it like that - that they had a body to bury. From what I can gather the number of bodies recovered was in single figures.

Swizz

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Many Thanks for all the information here which I can pass on to the relatives of Ldg Smn Hugh Pue husband of Sarah Annalong Co Down.

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ROCHE, WILLIAM JOHN. Rank: Leading Seaman. Regiment or Service: Royal Navy. Unit: (RFR/PO/B/6862). H. M. S. "Viknor. " Date of Death: 13-January-1915. Age at Death; 31. Service No: 214714. Supplementary information; Son of Peter and Mary Roche, of Co. Wicklow; husband of Mary Jane Roche, of 49, Ripley Grove, Copnor, Portsmouth. The ship sank with all hands after hitting a mine and many the bodies were washed up on the Irish and British shores. They were buried where they were found. William John Roche’s body was not found. The bodies of 6 Viknor Sailors were washed up on the beach of Rathlin Island, Co Antrim and are buried in St Thomas Churchyard in two graves ‘Known only to God’. Grave or Memorial Reference: 7. Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial, UK.

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ROCHE, WILLIAM JOHN. Rank: Leading Seaman. Regiment or Service: Royal Navy. Unit: (RFR/PO/B/6862). H. M. S. "Viknor. " Date of Death: 13-January-1915. Age at Death; 31. Service No: 214714. Supplementary information; Son of Peter and Mary Roche, of Co. Wicklow; husband of Mary Jane Roche, of 49, Ripley Grove, Copnor, Portsmouth. The ship sank with all hands after hitting a mine and many the bodies were washed up on the Irish and British shores. They were buried where they were found. William John Roche's body was not found. The bodies of 6 Viknor Sailors were washed up on the beach of Rathlin Island, Co Antrim and are buried in St Thomas Churchyard in two graves 'Known only to God'. Grave or Memorial Reference: 7. Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial, UK.

Thanks Tom

I intend to visit Rathlin Island in August.

Joe

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