Walter Dempster Thompson

Military Information

  • Date of enlistment: 23.11.1914
  • Place of enlistment: Customs House, Dundee
  • Service no: 1532EA
  • Rank: Engine Room Artificer
  • Service Occupation:
  • Awards:
  • Regiment/Service: H.M.S. Viknor
  • Unit/Ship: Royal Naval Reserve
  • Place of Death: Lost at Sea
  • Age at Death: 38
  • Date of Death: 13.01.1915
  • Burial Country:
  • Cemetery: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • Grave/Mem Ref no: Panel 10

Personal Information

  • Date of Birth:
  • Place of Birth:
  • Address: Thornbank, 196 Ferry Rd, Dundee
  • Occupation: Under Manager, Caledon Shipyard, Dundee
  • Mother:

    Hannah Ogilvie Thompson, 196 Ferry Rd, Dundee

  • Father:

    William Bruce Thompson, 196 Ferry Rd, Dundee

  • Siblings:
  • Spouse:
  • Children:

More about Walter Dempster Thompson

Walter has no known grave but is remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial. He was the son of William Bruce Thompson C.B.E., J.P. and Hannah Ogilvie Thompson of Dundee.

S.S. Atrato was a beautifully designed passenger ship, more resembling a luxury yacht than a liner. She was used in the service between England and the West Indies and could carry up to 280 passengers. Bought by Viking Cruising Co. Ltd. in 1912, she was renamed Viking.

At the beginning of WWI, she was requisitioned by the Admiralty, equipped with armament and renamed H.M.S. Viknor. She was mainly used as a cruising patrol ship.

On 13th January 1915, while on patrol, she sank in heavy weather without any distress call. It was assumed that she was sunk by a mine, belonging to a minefield laid by the Germans. Not a single soul of the 295 crew was saved. Many of the bodies were washed ashore days after the sinking.

H.M.S. Viknor was lost of Torry Island in an area recently mined by the Germans on 13.01.1915. She was a 5386 Ton Blue Star Line Ship, formally the Viking. She was requisitioned by the Royal Navy as an armed Merchant Cruiser, she was part of the 10th Cruiser Squadron blocking the seas between the North of Scotland and Iceland.

Walter D. Thompson   1532EA   Royal Navy


It will be learned with deep regret in Dundee that one of the crew of the lost Viknor was Mr Walter D. Thompson, youngest son of Mr W. B. Thompson, of the Caledon Shipbuilding and Engineering Co.

Mr Thompson, who was 38 years of age, joined the navy in November last, and was appointed as an engine-room artificer on board the Viknor.  He was trained as an engineer in Dundee, and was for some time at sea as a marine engineer.  Prior to volunteering for service, he was under-manager in the Caledon Shipbuilding Yard.

Broughty Ferry Guide 29th January 1915

Walter D Thompson was born in Dundee, was the son of Mr William Bruce Thompson CBE, JP and Mrs Hannah Ogilvie of Thornbank, 196 Ferry Road, Dundee and educated at Dundee High School. He volunteered to join the Royal Naval Reserve at the Customs House in Dundee on 23 Nov 1914, age 39, and was drafted to the Armed Merchant Cruiser HMS Viknor on 29 November 1914. He gained his technical qualifications in 1903 when he studied at Dundee Technical College as student number 1509 and 3610. HMS Viknor was an Armed Merchant Cruiser and was lost with all 298 souls onboard in bad weather close to Tory Island, off the coast of Donegal in Ireland. The wreck was declared protected on 3 March 2017. Walter Thompson is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial on Southsea Common, Hampshire and St Mary’s Parish Church Memorial in Dundee. He was a member of the Lodge Forfar and Kincardine Number 225 and his First World War medals are held by the McManus Gallery in Dundee.

Information supplied by Gary Thomson, additional information kindly supplied by Michael Caldwell, Ian Stewart & Ian Birnie

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