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Monks, F.S., Sub-Lt., 1915

Illustrated Chronicle 26/01/1915

Headstone for 3 HMS Viknor unknown crew

Illustrated Chronicle 26/01/1915

Viknor Naval Crew

Jarrow Express Friday 29/01/1915

Frederick 2nd Mate Certificate

On Portsmouth Naval Memorial is the name of Sub-Lieutenant Frederick Shaw Monks, serving with the Royal Naval Reserve who died 13/01/1915.

Frederick Shaw Monks was the eldest of 13 children, born on the 24th November 1887* at Maryborough, Queensland, Australia, to John, born 14th April 1864, [son of Thomas and Catherine, nee Cassidy, Monks], and Mary [nee Shaw], born 14th April 1867, both born at Felling. John Monks arrived in Queensland on the 9th December 1885 aboard the Duke of Argyll, as part of the Queensland Assisted Passage Program, [it must be remembered that at this time Australia had not been established and Queensland was an independent colony].

Mary followed about a year later arriving at Queensland on the 17th November 1886, aboard the Juma. By 1890, they had returned to the North East and were residing at 90 Ferry Street, Jarrow, Durham, England with their two eldest boys Frederick Shaw and Thomas Vernon Monks born 9th March 1889.

* On his naval record he states his date of birth as the 18th November, his actual birth documents state the 24th November.

Mary Shaw was the daughter of Joshua and Anne nee Rogan, Shaw of South Shields, and she was the second eldest of six children, 2 girls and 4 boys.

John who was a Joiner, and Mary were married in Australia on the 31st December 1886. John was also a member of the Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners from the 11th March 1895, when he was 29 years and 10 months old.

The other children were Raymond born Jarrow, 20th June 1891, died 1953, Roland John Monks, born 1893, died 26th April 1968, in Salisbury, Queensland, Australia, [possible emigrated to Australia about 1924], Philip Monks born 30th January 1896, [married a Doris born 4th December 1898], resided in 1939 at 58 Chapelhill Road, Wallasley, Cheshire, with three children, Hilda Monks, born 1899, Winifred born 1902, Mary [the younger] born 7th October 1903, married an Elias, Wilfred born 1908, [he married a Cecilia Smith, born 13th November 1910, and they emigrated to Queensland on the Maloja, departing on the 1st October 1949, Wilfred lived in the Melbourne seaside suburbs of Sandringham and Beaumaris. Wilfred died in 1988 aged 80]. Another three children died.

Roland John Monks, an apprentice Marine Engineer at North East Marine Engineering works at Wallsend, was in 1911, residing at 38 Park Road, Wallsend, with his Grandmother Annie Shaw and three of her children, John, [Manager of a Billiard Room at Wallsend Social Club], Joseph, [a Marine Engineer at North East Marine Engineering works], and Elizabeth, [certified Assistant Teacher for the Wallsend Education Committee]. Roland John Monks volunteered for the Royal Engineers Northumbrian Division Territorial Force on the 18th April 1910, at the age of 17 years at Wallsend. Service nu 624. He was 5 feet 5 inches tall. Given the rank Sapper. Roland was in the 2nd Northumberland Field Company when his engagement was terminated after 4 years of service 17th April 1914. He had attended 4 annual camps, Rothbury in 1910, Featherstone Park 1911, Hornsea 1912 and Ripon 1913.

John and Mary Monks were residing at 85 Vine Street, Wallsend from about 1895 with two sons Frederick Shaw and Thomas Vernon Monks, [born at Bundaberry], in Australia on the 9th March 1889. He was baptised at the Our Lady and St Columba Church in Wallsend on the 28th October 1892.

Frederick Shaw Monks was a member of the Wellesley Nautical School which use to be at Links Road Blyth.

The Wellesley Nautical School was founded in 1868 by a group of philanthropic businessmen on Tyneside under the leadership of James Hall, 'to provide shelter for Tyneside waifs and train young men for service in both Royal and Merchant Navies.' The first accommodation was on board a Bombay built 74-gun third rate ship of the line HMS Cornwall, which had been launched as HMS Wellesley. This ship was repossessed and replaced circa 1874 by the hulked third rate, HMS Boscawen, moored on the Tyne at North Shields and also renamed T.S. Wellesley. By the early 1900s Wellesley was accepting boys from London, Manchester and Liverpool as well as from Tyneside and Yorkshire.

Frederick Shaw had obtained his 2nd Mate Certificate on the 7th January 1910 and his First Mate Certificate on the 16th February 1912 at South Shields.

Frederick Shaw Monks was a Temporary Sub Lieutenant from the 12th November 1914, with seniority from the 9th November 1914.

He was residing by then at 126 Park Road, Wallsend.

Before the outbreak of WW1, Frederick was employed by the Empire Transport Company on the Pacific Transport Ship nu 19589, [sailing the West Coast of America], from the 21st November to the 11th June 1914.

He joined the Vicknor on the 12th November 1914.

Frederick 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 travelling to Germany to join the war effort.

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 S21W), 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)"

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

Shields Daily News Tuesday 26/01/1915: NAVAL DISASTER. ARMED MERCHANTMAN LOST OFF IRISH COAST. MANY LOCAL MEN AMONG THE VICTIMS. Distressing Scenes at Shields. ADMIRALTY STATEMENT: CAUSE OF DISASTER UNKNOWN. NAMES OF MISSING. Admiralty, Monday 9.30 PM. The Secretary of the Admiralty regrets to announce that the armed merchant vessel H.M.S. Viknor, which has been missing for some days, must now be accepted as lost with all officers and men. The Admiralty announcement caused distressing scenes at South Shields and the surrounding district this morning. A vast majority of the crew belonged to Tyneside. Crowds assembled on the Mill Dam, where the vessel always signed articles when she was engaged on the cruising tours to Norway, and painful scenes were witnessed when the worst became known. The late Viking was well known among Shields seamen and firemen. She was at the time of the outbreak of war on a pleasure cruise to Norway, and had to abandon the trip and come back to the Tyne. She lay at Hebburn and at one time it was contemplated to turn her over to the American Government to take the refugees back to America who had become stranded on the Continent, but evidently this was not done, and after lying some time she was taken over by the Admiralty

She left the Tyne at the latter part of December, and at that time there were on board the following, the list being exclusive to many regular navy men. [Edited]
J.S. Stewart, 136 Woodbine Avenue, Hebburn, 6th Engineer. G.H. Gibson, Parkside, Backworth, 7th Engineer. Arthur Cooper, 13 Laurel Street, Wallsend, Chief Electrician. John Thomas Smith, 71 Lansdown Terrace, North Shields, Joiner. Walter Arthur, 7 Easton Terrace, Howdon, Blacksmith. E. Wake, London, Steward. Patrick Hagan, 13 Pitt Street, Wallsend.

Shields Daily News Friday 26/01/1915

H.M.S. VIKNOR. Armed Merchant Vessel Lost with Officers and Crew. The Press Bureau, 9.30 p.m., Monday. The Secretary for the Admiralty regrets to announce that the armed merchant vessel, H.M.S. Viknor, which has been missing for some days, must now be accepted as lost with all officers and men. The cause of her loss is uncertain, but as some bodies and wreckage have been washed ashore on the north coast of Ireland, it is presumed that during the recent bad weather that she either foundered, or, being carried out of course, struck a mine in the seas where the Germans are known the have laid them.

Newcastle Journal 27/01/1915

The Loss of the Viknor - Vessel signed on at South Shields - Many Tyneside Victims
As stated in yesterday's Journal, the Secretary of the Admiralty announces that the armed merchant vessel H.M.S. Viknor, which has been missing for some days, must now be accepted as lost with all hands. The cause of her loss is uncertain, but as some bodies and wreckage have been washed ashore on the north coast of Ireland, it is presumed that during the recent bad weather she either foundered or, being carried out of her course, struck a mine in the seas where the Germans are known to have laid them. The ill-fated vessel signed on her crew at South Shields in December, the articles being completed on the 22nd of that month, and there was a large number of Tyneside men on board. News of the Viknor's loss naturally, therefore, gave rise to the saddest feelings amongst the people of North and South Shields, as well as other riverside towns, in which a great number of families have suffered bereavement. When the ship was taken over by the Admiralty her master, Mr William C M Johnson, was given the rank of navigating lieutenant, and she passed into the charge of Commander Ernest O Ballantyne, R.N.

Frederick Shaw Monks left 200 in his will to his father John Monks.

John and Mary Monks were residing with Hilda, Cecilia, Wilfred Mary the younger at 4 Firtree Avenue in 1933.

In 1939, Raymond Monks, Storekeeper, John Monks Joiner (Retired), Mary Monks, Mary the younger a Shop Assistant, Cecilia, Typist were all residing at 65 Stechford Lane, Birmingham.

Frederick Shaw Monks is remembered in Blyth on B42.13 and on our List of Ships crews.

Complement list of HMS Viknor crew
HMS Viknor Roll of Honour
Official History of Naval Operations Vol II (NEW)
The CWGC entry for Sub Lieutenant Monks

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