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Thread: SS Athenia

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    Default SS Athenia

    OnThisDate September 1, 1939

    80 years ago, the SS Athenia left Glasgow on Sept. 1, picked up more people off Belfast that evening, and then went on to Liverpool to receive its final passengers. Some 1,102, along with 316 crew, put to sea at 4 p.m. on Sept. 2. Athenia was torpedoed on Sept. 3 about 400 kilometres northwest of Malin Head, County Donegal, Ireland. An all out battle in the Atlantic ensued and wouldn't end until 1945. #LestWeForget
    "Our veterans did not forget about us .... Let's not forget about them." From Michael Levesque

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    Default Re: SS Athenia

    "Our veterans did not forget about us .... Let's not forget about them." From Michael Levesque

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    Default Re: SS Athenia

    Passenger liner Athenia, 13,465grt, (Donaldson Bros. & Black Ltd). On the evening of the 3rd September 1939 a few hours after Britain declared war on Germany, the Athenia sailing independently from the Clyde and Liverpool bound for Montreal with over 1100 passengers including women and children was attacked by U-30, 250 miles West of Donegal. One torpedo slammed into her port side near the engine room and the ship immediately began to develop a port list trapping a number of passengers below deck as the stairways collapsed. As the ship began to settle the order to abandon was given and the crew began to evacuate the passengers. Crewmembers fought desperately below deck searching for passengers trapped in their cabins, made more difficult by the lights being disabled by the explosion. The sound of bulkheads could be heard collapsing under the pressure of the in rushing sea and the night air became filled with the screams of women and children fighting for their lives in the pitch darkness. The majority of the ships lifeboats were successfully launched, though two met with accidents, one falling from the davits while being lowered throwing the occupants into the sea, while another capsized in rough seas. Transmitting a distress message, which was picked up, number of ships in the area, they quickly raced to the scene. On arriving they were met with the full horror of the situation. The Norwegian Merchant ship Knute Nelson, one of the first to arrive, whilst attempting to pick up the survivors from one of the boats accidentally pulled another boat under her stern, which was cut to pieces by the ships propeller killing most of the occupants. Three British Destroyers were soon at the scene as well as the British Merchant ship City of Flint and the Swedish yacht Southern Cross, who rescued over 1300 passengers and crew. A total of 112 passengers and crew perished. The Battle of the Atlantic had begun. The rules of U-boat engagement were that no passenger ships should be attacked stemming from the worldwide outcry after the sinking of the Lusitania in W.W.I. The Commander of U-30, Fritz J Lemp was said to believe that the Athenia was an Armed Merchant Cruiser. Adolph Hitler worried about reprisals from America because of the amount of American passengers onboard at the time put his propaganda machine into action and denied all knowledge of the incident. Commander Lemp was recalled to Germany to help the cover up.
    "Across the seas where the great waves grow, there are no fields for the poppies to grow, but its a place where Seamen sleep, died for their country, for you and for peace" (Billy McGee 2011)

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    Default Re: SS Athenia

    Once again a welcome and informative post.

    Regards,

    Keith.
    "Our veterans did not forget about us .... Let's not forget about them." From Michael Levesque

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