Alfred Tampen

Date of Birth              1882.
Place of Birth             Poplar.
Date of Marriage       1911
Place of marriage.
Service number         198116
Rank                          Able Seaman.
Service                       Royal Navy.
Ship                            H.M.S.Vicknor.
Died                            13 January 1915.
Death Location.         Off Tory Island. County Donegal.

Family Life Before The War.

Alfred James Tampen was born in Poplar in 1882, he was baptised on 30th July 1882 in Rotherhithe. His parents were William and Amelia, he had 1 brother George (1885) and a sister Emma (1887). William was born in 1852 in Messing Essex and worked as a Dock labourer, his mother Amelia was born in Tingsinhoo Essex. In 1881 the family lived at 72d Mellish Street. Poplar. London.Alfred, George and Emma were all born in Poplar.London.

In 1901 he was serving in the Royal Navy on H.M.S.Ocean and was in Hong Kong.

Alfred Married Susan Beatrice Alexander in April 1911.On his death they were living at 51 Shayer Road. Shirley. Southampton.

War Service.

—- was seen serving on H.M.S.Vicknor as an Able Seaman.

HMS Vicknor patrolled the waters between Scotland and Iceland. On 13th January 1915 while on patrol she sank in extremely bad weather, it was assumed she was sunk by a mine which belonged to a minefield laid by the Germans, all crew were lost.

Over a period of time following this event many bodies were washed ashore off the coast of Scotland and Ireland.


Originally the Vicknor was named the Atrato and would carry passengers for the Royal Mail Steam Company Limited travelling between England and the West indies carrying up to 280 passengers.

At the outbreak of war she was requisitioned by the Admiralty, equipped with armaments and renamed HMS Vicknor, she was then 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.

HMS Vicknor had been in wireless contact with the shore while on duty and was suddenly sunk without sending any distress signal.
She was mined approximately 11 miles west off Tory Island, Co Donegal, Ireland.

It was while on 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 crew survived. Some of the bodies of the crew were washed up on Irish and Scottish soil over the course of several days.

The wreck is located on the outer edge of a minefield laid by SMS Berlin which lends some truth to the theory that she could have hit a mine, but  there is no definitive answer as to the cause of the loss.

Memorial Information

Alfred is remembered on the Southampton memorial.


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