Daily Event for January 13, 2006

January 13, 1915: The armed merchant cruiser HMS Viknor disappeared off Tory Island, Ireland. Built by Robert Napier in 1888 as the Atrato for the Royal Mail Steam Packet Co. she was 421' long with a 50' beam
and registered at 5,347 tons. The Atrato could carry 279 passengers and was used for the routes between England and the West Indies. In 1912 she was renamed The Viking for her new owners, the Viking Cruising Co.

With the outbreak of the Great War most passenger liners were requisitioned by the Admiralty for war service and so was The Viking. In 1914 she was converted into an armed merchant cruiser and renamed HMS Viknor. The Viknor was assigned to the 10th cruiser squadron and was used to patrol the waters between Scotland and Iceland.

It was while on this duty that the Viknor came to grief. For unknown reasons the ship, which had been in wireless contact with shore, sank without ever sending a distress signal. It is known that the German's had recently mined the area in which Viknor was operating and there was also a violent storm at the time. Whether it was the storm a mine or a combination of both is not known. What is known is that not one of the almost
three hundred on board survived. Some of the bodies of the crew washed up on Irish and Scottish soil over the course of several days.

In 2006 the survey ship Celtic Explorer located the wreck of HMS Viknor, according to Dr. Ian Lawler, the wreck is located on the outer edge of a minefield laid by SMS Berlin which lends some credibility to the theory that she could have hit a mine, but at this time there is still no definitive answer as to the cause of the loss.
© 2006 Michael W. Pocock

SS Atrato, date and location unknown.