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Cooper, A., Ch.Elect., 1915

Illustrated Chronicle 21/01/1915

On Plymouth Naval Memorial is the name of Chief Electrician Arthur Cooper, serving with the Mercantile Marine Reserve who died 13/01/1915.

Son of Robert and Mary Eleanor Cooper, of Wallsend-on-Tyne; husband of Elizabeth Jane Cooper, of 38, Laurel St., Wallsend-on-Tyne, Northumberland.

Arthur was one of the crew members of the HMS Viknor, part of the (10th Cruiser) Squadron, which sunk with all of its crew on the 13th January 1915 by a mine which had been laid by the vessel Berlin

His body was never recovered or identified like many of his fellow crew members.

Also on board the Viknor were eight Germans who had been taken prisoner when SS Bergensfjord was captured on January 11th 1915. These included Graf Hans Adam Wedell and Dr. Rasmus Bjornstad. Wedell was a high level German spy traveling from New York to Germany. It is unclear who Bjornstad was or if this was even his real name. The other (unnamed) six Germans were stowaways and suspected to be traveling to Germany to join the war effort.

Source: Maritime Quest with thanks.

Naval History WW1. Official Account.“VIKNOR, armed merchant cruiser, 13 January 1915, Atlantic off N Ireland - ex-Viking or The Viking, ex-cruise ship, 5,386grt, built 1888, Viking Cruise Co, 15kts, hired 19/11/14, Pendant No.M.82, 10th CS Grand Fleet, Cdr Ernest Ballantyne, most northerly ship on Northern Patrol line B north of the Shetlands. On the 11th, at around 62N, 02.24W, intercepted Norwegian SS Bergensfiord carrying an important German secret service agent and other nationals from New York, Viknor ordered to put prize crew on board, escort the Norwegian ship towards Lerwick, then continue on to Liverpool with a total of eight German prisoners. Last message from Viknor on 13th (He – off Malin Head; ss - at 1600 in 56.18N, 09W, course S21ºW), nothing more was heard of her. Probably 13th - Believed sunk off Northern Ireland by one of Berlin's mines broken free by heavy gales off Tory Island (Rn - foundered in heavy weather; C - Wrecked on north coast of Ireland), wreckage and bodies washed ashore at Portrush; 294 lives lost - 22 officers, 196 ratings, 74 MN and 1 canteen staff plus prisoners, no survivors (He – 259, ke - 295) (H/J/Rn/C/D/bi/dk/gf/ke/ss; ADM.137/185, ADM.116/1442)”.

Arthur Cooper is remembered at Wallsend on W7.03 and W7.21 and on our List of Ships’ crews.

The CWGC entry for Chief Electrician Cooper

If you know more about this person, please send the details to janet@newmp.org.uk