Remembering Athenia

Passenger Casualties

I have transcribed the names of the passengers that lost their lives on Athenia into the table below to help anyone searching for information about relatives as images of newspaper cuttings are not searchable by search engines.

Name Nationality Last Abode Other Information
William Allan British Northfield, Queen Street, Alloa
Georgina Allan British West Croydon Age 51, Domestic
Harriet Barrington British Sandfield Road, Gateacre, Liverpool Age 52, Housewife
John Bernard U.S Age 23, Student
Peter Birchall US Hawberry Street Bedford Age 49, Librarian
Nancy Bishop British C/O T. Eaton Company, Regent Street London Age 36, Housewife
Frederick Blair British Savoy Court Hotel, Portman Square, London Age 60, Musician, born Chatham Ontario
Herbert Bown U.S. Faireview Road, Dartmouth Age 79, Retired, born Birmingham England
Henry Braunschneiger German C/O Cunard White Star, Liverpool Age 33, Lawyer
Elizabeth Brookes British C/O Scott, Highholm Street, Port Glasgow Age 60, Widow
William Brown U.S C/O McMorland, Belmont, Barrhill Road, Gourock Age 60, Teacher, born Scotland
Sarah Burdett U.S. Broughton Astley, Nr Leicester Age 51, Housewife
Helen Burrows British C/O Coleman, York Lodge, Antrim Age 50, Housewife
E. Campbell U.S. Ederston Road, Peebles Age 37, Teacher
Helen Chalmers British Restalrig Circus, Edinburgh Age 46, Table Maid
Isabella Chalmers British Restalrig Circus, Edinburgh Age 51, Nurse
Ina May Duncan British C/O Davidson, Craighill Terrace, Edinburgh Age 30, Nurse
Arthur Fisher U.S C/O R. Hancock, Tunbridge Wells Age 16
Mrs. A.B. Fletcher British Kildare Terrace, Bayswater, London
Helen Flower British Cromer Villas Road, Wandsworth, London Age 45, Housewife
Alexandrina Forbes British Frederick Street, Aberdeen Age 52, Housewife
Muriel Fraser British Cockspur Street, London Age 54, Secretary
Anna Gacii (possibly Gach) Polish Age 13, Schoolgirl
Cora Gilroy U.S Lockend Road, Leith Age 41, Housewife
John Gilroy U.S Lockend Road, Leith Age 7, born Detroit Michigan
Martha Goddard British Oldham Road, Manchester Age 52, Housewife
Sarah Goodman British Northfield Road, London N Age 31, Secretary
Nellie Graham British Collier Street, Carnoustie Age 34, Housewife
George Graham British Collier Street, Carnoustie Age 2½
Helen Hannah U.S Berebriggs, Strathaven Age 37, Housewife
Sara B. Harper N/K Belfast Age 66, Housewife
Robert Harper N/K Willowholme Drive, Belfast Husband - presumably of Sara B. Harper
Ellen Harrington U.S C/O Cunard White Star Limited, Liverpool Age 63, Housewife
Robert Harris U.S York Buildings, Adelphi, London Age 21
James Haslet British Grantown-on-Spey, Morayshire Age 41, Butler
Margaret Haslet British Grantown-on-Spey, Morayshire Age 38, Housemaid
Albert Hart British C/O Miss A Hart, University Avenue, Belfast Age 60, Accountant
Margaret Hayworth British Primrose Hill Drive, Aberdeen Age 9, Schoolgirl, born Hamilton Ontario
Margaret Hogg British C/O Tough, Dundee Terrace, Edinburgh Age 52, Housewife
Mary Hodge British C/O Thos. Cook and Sons, Glasgow Age 49, Widow
Jean Gwen Holmes British Inverskip Street, Greenock Age 6, Schoolgirl, born Winnepeg
Ellen Howland U.S C/O Raymond Whitcombe and Co, London SW Age 65
Dorothy Hutchings British Peel Street Glasgow Age 39, Teacher
George Innes British C/O Stewart, Glenmackie Terrace, Dundee Age 41, Advertising Executive
Matilda Jacobs British English Street, Shieldmuir, Wishaw Age 24, Housewife
Emily James British C/O E. Pullen, Preston Park Avenue, Brighton Age 38
Lottie Kunstlicher German Great Russell Street, London Interpreter
Eudokia Kucharczuk Polish Age 40, Housewife
Aleksandra Kucharczuk Polish Age 8
Jakeb Kucharczuk Polish Age 2
Stefan Kucharczuk Polish Age 15
Margaret Lennon British Newall Terrace, Dumfries Age 57, Housewife
Catherine Leslie British C/O Preshaw, Chancellor Street, Glasgow Age 69, Widow
Artur Lourie Polish C/O Regent Street London Age 35, Merchant
Edith Lustig German C/O Great Russell Street, London Age 27, Housewife
Charles Mailer British Wilson Street, Craigie, Perth Age 69
Lucy Marston British Ely View, Houghton Road, St Ives Age 53, Housewife
Thornton Mustard British Dudley Arms Hotel, Dudley Age 47
Sophie McDonald British C/O Dawson, Sankey Street, Warrington Age 78
Bridget McErlean U.S Moneystaghan, Portglenone, Co. Antrim Age 38, Domestic
Agnes McFarlane British Curwood Street, Greenock Age 43, Housewife
Gladys McFarlane British Curwood Street, Greenock Age 3, born Verdun P.Q.
Ray McFarlane U.S C/O Macfarlane, Cathkin Avenue, Rutherglen Age 19, Student
Margaret McGorty U.S Milltown Birches, Portadown, Co. Armagh Age 7
Jean C McNeish British Glebe Road, Letchworth, Herts or Clochview, Kirn Age 69, Widow
Alexander Nicol U.S Easter Drylaw View, Edinburgh Age 40, Receiving Clerk
Edith Nicol U.S Easter Drylaw View, Edinburgh Age 33, Housewife
Marion Nicol U.S Easter Drylaw View, Edinburgh Age 9, born Lawrence Mass
Alexander Park U.S C/O McAleer, Omagh, Co.Tyrone Age 49
Annie Quine U.S Marsh Lane, Halsall Age 57, Housewife
Nancy Redgers British Tredegar Street, Risca, Mon Age 16
Gertrude Reed U.S C/O Stewart, Stubbs Road, Chertsey Age 58, Housewife
Alice Robinson U.S C/O Mr Home, Little King Street, Edinburgh Age 44, Housewife
Mary Scott British C/O Mr J Scott, James Street, Edinburgh Age 31, Housekeeper
Jessie Sharp British C/O Williamson Limited, Frederick Street Edinburgh Age 45, Housewife
Fejga Spring Polish Age 32
Emma Steele British C/O Canada House London Age 49, Librarian
Anna Stewart British
F. Stotland Stateless Age 13
Rebekka Stotland Stateless
Fred Tinney U.S C/O Robinson, Graham Street, Johnstone Age 30
Madeleine Tinney U.S C/O Robinson, Graham Street, Johnstone Age 27, Housewife
Hariet Tolley British Tyran Avenue, Llancily Age 74
Harry Truss British Fleet, Holbeach Age 54
Ethel Truss British Fleet, Holbeach Age 52, Housewife
A.H.Vincent British C/O Thomas Cook and Son Newcastle
Sara Warenreich, Age 39, Cook, born Vienna U.S c/o Kingsley, Miens Road Blackburn Age 7
Anne Waterman British C/O C.W.S. Limited, London Age 52
Fred Weir British C/O Watson, Lochend Road, Leith Age 61
Matilda Wilkes U.S C/O American Express Company, Glasgow Housewife
Jonathan Wilkes U.S C/O American Express Company, Glasgow Age 8
David Wright U.S Killshannagh, Co. Tyrone Age 63, Laundry Manager
Jessie Young British Wilson Street, Craigie, Perth

Passenger Memorials

Robert Shenton Harris

I am grateful to Bill Zimmerman of Norfolk Virginia who contacted me about one of the lost passengers, Robert Shenton Harris from Fredericksburg, Virginia. Robert was an American student returning home via Canada when Athenia was lost. He may well be one of the first US Casualties of the war.

Athenia
Memorial to Robert Shenton Harris at Fredericksburg Virginia. [1]

Margaret Hayworth

I found details about Margaret Hayworth in an article in The Hamilton Spectator from 15 September 2016. Margaret was a passenger on Athenia along with her mother Georgina and sister Jacqueline. A transcription of the article follows:

Seventy-seven years ago Thursday, more than 1,000 people jammed the area around the Canadian National Railway Station to catch a glimpse of a small casket carrying the remains of a 10-year-old girl. Margaret Hayworth was among the first Canadian fatalities of the Second World War and Hamilton was reeling in grief over her death. She was knocked unconscious by flying debris when the passenger ship Athenia was torpedoed and sunk in the North Atlantic on Sept. 3, 1939. She died six days later. Her body was transported by ship to Halifax and then by train to the station on James Street North.

After a packed public service at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Hamilton the next day that saw hundreds of mourners lining the streets, a bronze plaque was prominently displayed at the church to remember the young girl whose death led to "the first funeral in Canada of the 2nd Great War." But the plaque went missing after St. Andrew's closed in the early 1980s. That was until this summer when it resurfaced in a basement at a Presbyterian Church facility in Toronto. And on Sept. 25 it will be rededicated at Knox Presbyterian on Elizabeth Street in Burlington in a ceremony for parishioners.

Margaret's sister, Jacqueline Hayworth Bullock, 82, of Burlington, says she is elated that the memorial has been recovered. "It shouldn't have been sitting in a basement where no one could see it," said Bullock, who was also on the Athenia with her mom when it was torpedoed. Neither was injured. "It should be hanging somewhere. Since my father was an elder at Knox Presbyterian in Burlington and my sister went to Sunday school there, it was a logical place for it."

The plaque was recovered due to the efforts of Knox parishioner and local history book publisher Gary Evans. He came to know of the plaque from a 2005 book he published called "Hamilton at War" by Margaret Houghton that "made mention of the plaque, and said it was hanging in the Presbyterian Church archives in Toronto." Evans felt the plaque should be moved to Knox because of the family's connection to the church. So he set out to find it. "I contacted the museum, and the national Presbyterian Church archives, but no one knew of its existence," he said. He also contacted Bullock who told him the family had also tried to recover the plaque from the archives without success.

But Evans persisted, and over the years convinced officials with the church to take a harder look. Then finally in June the artifact was located. Evans contacted the family about the discovery and drove to Toronto where it was handed over to him in a very dirty state. He cleaned it up for the official unveiling next week. Bullock said she still vividly remembers the torpedo attack all those years ago even though she was only five years old and had no idea about the world tumbling into war at the time. The family had spent the summer in Scotland, visiting relatives. Father John had already returned to Canada on another ship and on Sept. 1 mother Georgina with her two daughters set out for home on the Athenia. Two days into the voyage, Great Britain and France declared war on Germany and it was on that evening that the German submarine struck in the North Atlantic, more than 320 kilometres west of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. "It was after dinner, around 7 o'clock and it was just starting to get dark and kids were playing on deck and the mothers were sitting on the chairs and all of a sudden there was a thud, an explosion. The boat shook and tilted and everybody started running around and yelling for life-jackets. "I didn't know what was going on. My mom ran around with us trying to find life-jackets. I remember a sailor putting one on me."

Jacqueline got separated from her mother and sister and was scooped onto a different life boat that in turn met up with a rescue ship. She ended up in Scotland, staying with relatives and did not meet up with her parents in Canada until a couple of months later. She said it was many months after that she finally learned her sister had died. "Nobody told me about my sister. I guess they thought I was too young to understand. I heard from other kids. My mother would never talk about it. I guess she felt it was because she wanted to stay longer in Scotland that we ended up on the Athenia."

As an adult, she learned details from her father as well as from newspaper stories and books that she collected. Looking back on it now, she feels, the massive public funeral in Hamilton "was political. My family didn't want a big funeral. They just wanted family and friends. It was pushed on them. War had started and all these bigwigs came and they filled the papers with the story about my sister. "I can't understand why they singled out a child to try to pump up the world."
Margaret Hayworth
Margaret Hayworth on the left and Jacqueline on the right - from The Hamilton Spectator 15 September 2016 [55]

Margaret Hayworth
Margaret Hayworth's gravestone at Woodland Cemetery Hamilton - from The Hamilton Spectator 15 September 2016 [55]

Margaret Hayworth
The missing commemorative plaque - from The Hamilton Spectator 15 September 2016 [55]

Annie Quine

I am grateful to Paul Charlesworth who contacted me after coming across the gravestone of Annie Quine at Halsall in Lancashire and located the cuttings from the Ormskirk Advertiser shown on this website.

Athenia Athenia
Memorial to Annie Quine at Hallsall [2]

Merchant Navy Casualties

Nineteen members of the Merchant Navy were killed in the incident as detailed in the Roll of Honour below. Information is from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Forenames Surname Age D.O.D Rank Service Country Cemetery/Memorial Grave Ref. Addl. Information
Hannah Baird 03/09/1939 Stewardess Canadian Merchant Navy Canada Halifax Memorial Panel 17.
James Carlin 56 03/09/1939 Assistant Steward Merchant Navy United Kingdom Tower Hill Memorial Panel 12. Age 56
Ian Donnelly 26 03/09/1939 Assistant Steward Merchant Navy United Kingdom Tower Hill Memorial Panel 12. Age 26
John Donnelly 23 03/09/1939 Assistant Steward Merchant Navy United Kingdom Tower Hill Memorial Panel 12. Age 23
James Elder 45 03/09/1939 Donkeyman Merchant Navy United Kingdom Tower Hill Memorial Panel 12. Age 45. Husband of Mary Elder of Cambuslang Lanarkshire.
Charles Fordyce 65 03/09/1939 Watchman Merchant Navy United Kingdom Tower Hill Memorial Panel 12. Age 65. Son of George and Jessie Fordyce; husband of Mary Penelope Fordyce.
Hugh Gallagher 23 03/09/1939 Greaser Merchant Navy United Kingdom Tower Hill Memorial Panel 12. Age 23. Son of Thomas Gallagher and of Isabel Gallagher of Glasgow.
Alison Harrower 41 03/09/1939 Stewardess Merchant Navy United Kingdom Tower Hill Memorial Panel 12. Age 41. Daughter of William and Hannah Foster Denny Harrower.
John Hogg 51 03/09/1939 Assistant Steward Merchant Navy United Kingdom Tower Hill Memorial Panel 12. Age 51. Husband of Sarah A. Hogg of Brantford Ontario Canada.
Margaret Johnston 41 03/09/1939 Stewardess Merchant Navy United Kingdom Tower Hill Memorial Panel 12. Age 41. Daughter of James and Christina Johnston of Glasgow.
John Kent 50 03/09/1939 Assistant Steward Merchant Navy United Kingdom Tower Hill Memorial Panel 12. Age 50. Husband of Jessie Darroch Kent of Bridgeton Glasgow.
Jessie Lawler 60 03/09/1939 Stewardess Merchant Navy United Kingdom Tower Hill Memorial Panel 12. Age 60. Wife of Patrick Lawler of Sholing Southampton.
James Marshall 15 03/09/1939 Bellboy Merchant Navy United Kingdom Tower Hill Memorial Panel 12. Age 15
David Morrison 32 03/09/1939 Steward Merchant Navy United Kingdom Tower Hill Memorial Panel 12. Age 32
Michael J. McDermott 33 03/09/1939 Assistant Steward Merchant Navy United Kingdom Tower Hill Memorial Panel 12. Age 33
John McJarrow 39 03/09/1939 Printer Merchant Navy United Kingdom Tower Hill Memorial Panel 12. Age 39
John McKeown 47 03/09/1939 Steward Merchant Navy United Kingdom Tower Hill Memorial Panel 12. Age 47. Husband of M. E. McKeown of Dunoon Argyllshire.
David Provan 65 03/09/1939 Barber Merchant Navy United Kingdom Tower Hill Memorial Panel 12. Age 65. Son of Alec and Margaret Provan; husband of Martha Provan of Glasgow.
Samuel Thomson 45 03/09/1939 Assistant Steward Merchant Navy United Kingdom Tower Hill Memorial Panel 12. Age 45. Husband of Julia McCafferty Thomson. of Glasgow.

Merchant Navy Memorials

The Merchant Navy Memorial at Tower Hill

Eighteen of the crew members who lost their lives on Athenia are commemorated on the memorial at Tower Hill to those 'who have no grave but the sea'.

Athenia Athenia
Photos of the panels commemorating the loss of Athenia seamen on the Merchant Navy memorial at Tower Hill. [5]

Athenia

The Halifax Memorial

Stewardess Hannah Baird is commemorated on the Memorial at Halifax.

Halifax in Nova Scotia's capital, erected in Point Pleasant Park, commemorates Royal Canadian Navy and Merchant Navy losses in WW2. Twenty-four ships were lost and nearly 2,000 members of the RCN lost their lives. The Memorial was erected by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and was unveiled in November 1967 with naval ceremony by H.P. MacKeen, Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia, in the presence of R. Teillet, then Minister of Veterans Affairs. The monument is a great granite Cross of Sacrifice over 12 metres high, clearly visible to all ships approaching Halifax. The cross is mounted on a large podium bearing 23 bronze panels upon which are inscribed the names of over 3,000 Canadian men and women who were buried at sea. On June 19, 2003, the Government of Canada designated September 3rd of each year as a day to acknowledge the contribution of Merchant Navy Veterans.

Halifax Memorial
Panel from the Halifax Memorial showing Hannah Baird [56]

Veteran's Park

Hannah Baird is also commemorated on a memorial plaque affixed to a new eight sided old-fashioned bandstand in Veteran's Park in Langford, British Columbia. The plaque was unveiled by ex-merchant mariner Tom Osborne and Barbara Duncan on May 19, 2002 as a bugler sounded Reveille. It is believed to be the first war memorial anywhere in the world dedicated to women merchant mariners who died at their posts in the two world wars.

Veteran's Park Memorial
Commemorative plaque to Canadian women of the Merchant Navy at the Veteran's Park Langford [57]

Memorabilia

The Glasgow Museum of Transport

The Glasgow Museum of Transport housed at the Riverside Museum at Pointside Quay has an excellent model of Athenia and various memorabilia. They are not easy to photograph but I have done my best with them.

Athenia Athenia Athenia Athenia Athenia
Photos of the model of Athenia at the Glasgow Museum of Transport. [32]

Athenia
Seaman's discharge books belonging to James McConnell (1918-1963). James was an engineer aboard Athenia when she was sunk. He survived and worked at sea until the 1960s. [32]

Athenia
Photo of the cooks from Athenia taken in March 1928 [32]

Athenia
Photo of the discharge books of Charles Simpson who was third cook on Athenia when she was torpedoed. He saw his colleagues scalded by steam and burned by hot oil when the torpedo hit the ship. [32]

Athenia
Photo of the keys that opened Athenia's silver room where the silver tableware was kept. The keys came back to Glasgow but the silver itself is at the bottom of the Atlantic with the ship. [32]

Athenia
Photo of a selection of typical souvenirs available for sale to transatlantic passengers on board Athenia. They are a cap-shaped souvenir from 1932, salt and pepper shakers with the Athenia crest from the 1920s-1930s and an Athenia tea strainer purchased in 1935. [32]

Discovery of Wreck

On 5 October 2017 it was reported that wreck hunter David Mearns believed he had located the wreck of Athenia at a depth of 650 feet but this has yet to be confirmed. As of January 2019 I can find no further information about this on the internet.