Welcome to the Athenia Website


You can view these resources on a smartphone if you wish but you need a tablet, laptop or workstation to do justice to much of the content.

The passenger liner Athenia was torpedoed on 3 September 1939 - the very day that France and Great Britain declared war on Germany. No warning was given and the submarine took no action to help the surviving passengers. There was an international outrage as this kind of attack breached International agreements about submarine warfare.

The Nazi regime denied responsibility and blamed Churchill - not that anyone believed them; the full truth emerged during the Nuremberg Trials of major war criminals that took place in 1945-6.

In 1939, the public's only sources of information were newspapers and the radio so, in telling the story, I have used contemporary press cuttings and witness statements to provide a picture of what ordinary people would have known at the time. I also have included detailed information about the preparation for the International War Crimes Tribunal and evidence of the fate of Athenia from the trial transcripts.

The various pages about Athenia can be accessed from the Content tab on the menu and I suggest you view them in order starting with Introduction. Also from the menu you can find out more about the site, provide feedback, view the visitors book and access search facilities.

What's New?

  • 31 August 2020: Modifications to improve the visibility of tables on hand-held devices, improved crew list and deck plans and addition of a photos and a video of an 80th anniversary re-union of survivors.

Brian Watson
31 August 2020