News from 1919: Vedic Aground

Mark Baber

Dec 29, 2000
MAB Note: "Friday" was 19 September

The Times, 22 September 1919


News coming through Edinburgh from Kirkwall, Orkney, was received on
Saturday that the White Star liner Vedic, carrying British troops from
Russia, was stranded on a reef near North Ronaldshay, Orkney, on Friday
during a northerly gale. The news reached Kirkwall about 1 o'clock on
Saturday morning, and British naval craft, in charge of Commander
Benson, D.S.O., at once proceeded to the scene. American mine-sweepers,
however, which are completing their work on the northern barrage, were
by this time alongside, having apparently been close to North Ronaldshay
when the Vedic fired signals of distress.

The Vedic was got off on the rising tide at 4.30 a.m., and appears to be
undamaged. She has proceeded on her voyage. Commander Benson, on his
return to Kirkwall, stated that he was unable to ascertain either where
the Vedic had come from or whither she was bound, but a signal reached
him that women and children were on board. He regards the escape of the
vessel as extremely lucky, as a tremendous sea was running. The American
mine-sweepers which rendered assistance have not returned to port. When
they proceeded to sea last Monday their orders were to proceed direct to
Plymouth when they had completed their work on the last minefield in the
vicinity of Orkney.

Other reports stated that the Vedic had between 1,000 and 2,000 troops
from North Russia on board, and that the vessel was holed in a bunker
and was leaking a little.

The warships which went to the assistance of the Vedic were the British
destroyers Lark, Robin, and Widgeon and the United States warship

The Vedic was due to arrive at Leith yesterday afternoon and, in view of
her great size, careful preparations were being made for her berthing in
the Imperial Dock, as well as for a welcome to the large number of
troops on board. Another troopship from Russia, the Ulva, is at present
lying in Leith Roads. It was expected that both vessels would enter the
docks yesterday and disembark the returning men.


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