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||Possibly not a casualty as not on the official passenger list from Donalson Line|
|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|
|F. Stotland||Stateless||Age 13|
|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||U.S||c/O Kingsley, Miens Road Blackburn||Age 39, Cook, born Vienna|
|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|
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.
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."
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.
I am grateful to Phil Gunyon for the additional information about Helen Burrows and photos from St. James Churck Orillia, Ontario. Phil was a survivor from Athenia and his account can be found on the website HERE.
In a note to me Phil said:
There are 2 photos of the memorial plaque in St. James Anglican church in Orillia, Ontario, just a half-hour’s drive south of our home in Bracebridge. I've added two interior photos of St. James' and one exterior one. I happened to be at this church in March 2007 and during the lunch break I wandered around the interior looking at the wall plaques. I came to the Memorial Chapel and the first name I saw was that of Helen Burrows, 'killed when S.S. Athenia was torpedoed'. You can imagine how I was taken aback, having also been on the ship when she was torpedoed. The date of 4th September puzzled me as the liner was torpedoed on 3rd September. I later realized that being in the lifeboat that was capsized while alongside the City of Flint, it was indeed on the 4th when Helen died. This is confirmed by the CWGC website.
There has never been a definitive list of the members of the crew onboard Athenia when she was attacked. Various versions of the crew list have been published but none of them are completely convincing.
Ronnie MacLean of Yell in Shetland has spent a great deal of time researching this and has kindly provided his analysis of the crew, their roles and whether they survived taking into account the various sources of information. It can be viewed from the link HERE .
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||D.O.D||Rank||Service||Country||Cemetery/ Memorial||Grave Ref.||Additional Information|
|Hannah||Baird||03/09/1939||Stewardess||Canadian Merchant Navy||Canada||Halifax Memorial||Panel 17.|
|James||Carlin||03/09/1939||Assistant Steward||Merchant Navy||United Kingdom||Tower Hill Memorial||Panel 12.||Age 56|
|Ian||Donnelly||03/09/1939||Assistant Steward||Merchant Navy||United Kingdom||Tower Hill Memorial||Panel 12.||Age 26|
|John||Donnelly||03/09/1939||Assistant Steward||Merchant Navy||United Kingdom||Tower Hill Memorial||Panel 12.||Age 23|
|James||Elder||03/09/1939||Donkeyman||Merchant Navy||United Kingdom||Tower Hill Memorial||Panel 12.||Age 45. Husband of Mary Elder of Cambuslang Lanarkshire.|
|Charles||Fordyce||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||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||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||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||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||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||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||03/09/1939||Bellboy||Merchant Navy||United Kingdom||Tower Hill Memorial||Panel 12.||Age 15|
|David||Morrison||03/09/1939||Steward||Merchant Navy||United Kingdom||Tower Hill Memorial||Panel 12.||Age 32|
|Michael J.||McDermott||03/09/1939||Assistant Steward||Merchant Navy||United Kingdom||Tower Hill Memorial||Panel 12.||Age 33|
|John||McJarrow||03/09/1939||Printer||Merchant Navy||United Kingdom||Tower Hill Memorial||Panel 12.||Age 39|
|John||McKeown||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||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||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'.
The Halifax Memorial
Stewardess Hannah Baird is commemorated on a Memorial at Halifax, Nova Scotia. The memorial at 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.
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.
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.
The sinking of Athenia continues to be of interest and I often receive messages from relatives of passengers about what happened.
80th Anniversary Reunion of Survivors
In 2019 Phil Gunyon, a survivor who has contributed significantly to the construction of the Athenia section of this website, organised a reunion event for survivors which was held in Halifax Nova Scotia at the Marriott Harbourfront Hotel and the Small Craft Gallery of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. It was attended by 9 survivors: Phil, his sister Barbara Gunyon, Vivian (Hunt) Collyer, Heather (Donald) Watts, George "Scott" Calder, Cynthia (Hunt) Gustafson, Geoff Etherington, Margaret (Ferguson) Desanti and Jacqueline (Hayworth) Bullock. The short video below from CBC/Radio-Canada was taken at this event.
Research Prompted by Family Connection
Ronnie MacLean, whose father William Alvin MacLean served briefly on Athenia, has also taken a keen interest in the sinking and has provided the best crew list available to date which is linked from this page. He is working on producing a better passenger list. He wrote an article about the sinking for the Shetland Times which was published on 26 June 2020 which is reproduced below. 
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. There is a BBC News article about this HERE and a copy of the sonar image published below. As of August 2020 I can find no further information about the discovery and personally hope the wreck will be left undisturbed in honour of those that lost their lives.