This page is dedicated to the memory of:
Petty Officer II Mechanic
Ernest Norman Vickers
SS Atlantic Conveyor
Born in Middlesbrough 30 July 1924, Ernest Vickers had served in the Navy and worked as a docker, being a spokesman for his colleagues, before joining the Merchant Navy. He shipped out of Middlesbrough Shipping Federation at the time situated in the Dundas Arcade at Middlesbrough. He was also well known locally for his boxing prowess, fighting as an amateur welterweight and winning 39 of his 58 bouts and at the height of his career in the 50’s & 60’s took him to the Northern Area Welterweight Championship.
Ernest served as a Petty Officer Mechanic on the roll-on, roll-off container ship Atlantic Conveyor, owned by Cunard. Along with her sister ship, Atlantic Causeway, the Conveyor was requisitioned by the Ministry of Defence at the beginning of the Falklands War. The ships were used to carry supplies for the Task Force sent to retake the Falkland Islands from Argentine occupation.
Sailing for Ascension Island on 25 April 1982, Atlantic Conveyor carried a cargo of helicopters and jets as well as trucks and general supplies. On 25th May 1982 (the same day as the loss of HMS Coventry) the Atlantic Conveyor was hit by two Exocet missiles fired by a pair of Argentine Super Etendard jet fighters. The warheads exploded after penetrating the ship’s hull to where trucks and fuel were stored resulting in an uncontrollable fire.
In recognition of their loss and sacrifice, the Elizabeth Cross was presented to Elaine, Susan, Linda, Jayne and June, Ernest’s daughters, and their families on behalf of a grateful Nation.
The Presentation was held at the home of HM Lord Lieutenant for North Yorkshire, Lord Crathorne.