RCN Remembers First Newfoundland Casualties of the Great War
A solemn ceremony commemorating the 100th anniversary of the loss of three Royal Navy ships and fifty-seven Royal Naval Reservists from Newfoundland during the First World War was held on January 13 at Bowring Park in St. John’s. In attendance was the Honorable Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice, who laid a wreath at the Caribou Memorial.
The three Royal Navy ships lost in the winter of 1915 were: HMS Viknor, sunk January 13; HMS Clan McNaughton, sunk February 3; and HMS Bayano, sunk March 11.
Viknor and Clan McNaughton are thought to have been sunk due to either heavy weather or mine strikes, and Bayano was torpedoed by the German U-27 off the coast of Ireland.
The fifty-seven Royal Naval Reservists from Newfoundland are commemorated on a memorial at Beaumont Hamel, France, as well as the Caribou Memorial in Bowring Park, St. John’s.
Newfoundland was the first colony where a naval reserve was formally established in 1902. The number of inshore and deep sea fishermen in Newfoundland and Labrador was seen as a rich source for potential recruits.