Alice Apers, Florence Arthur and cousin Laura Apers survived the sinking of Athenia

Dear Mac,

I came across your interesting website while looking for information on the sinking of the Athenia.

I had two aunts and a cousin who survived that sinking. I remember the day(I was eleven years of age) when we still  didn't know if they had survived. I had gone to the movies in Belfast and had to run home to tell my parents that my relatives had survived and I had seen them on a newsreel walking down a gangplank from a destroyer in Scotland. The manager of the cinema ran a special screening to confirm what I had seen.

Both aunts are now deceased, but I often wonder what became of a baby my cousin had somehow picked up  and brought into the lifeboat.

As my aunts told the story it was a moonlight night which aided in their rescue. Apparently they had to scramble up a rope(?) ladder to get on the destroyer and one unfortunate lady fell and drowned.

My aunts were  Alice Apers, Florence Arthur and cousin Laura Apers.

Yours sincerely,
George Weir.


I have just returned to Melbourne after a visit to Europe, so please forgive my lack of response to your mail.

I continue to be suprised at the continued interest about the loss of Athenia on the first day of WW2 on Sunday the 3rd. of September 1939, now so long ago.

I am grateful for your time and trouble in writing to me, obviously your relatives who survived the tragedy were rescued by one of the Royal Navy destroyers, to return to Gourock on the Clyde. That is the only group of survivors I have been unable to track down, now you have given AHOY three names from that source.

My thanks and best wishes.


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