John Easton and mother, Lily Easton, aboard Athenia when sunk.

Hello  Mac,
MY name is John Easton, I was born July 9 1938 in GB, my father John Easton was from  Dunoon Argyle, my mother was Lily Easton from Hamilton Ontario. My grandfather Furnish had gone blind, my mother and I where going to Canada to care for him,dad to follow later. Lily didn’t like to talk about the war, but over the years she told us about it. My mother passed away over a year ago at 93, the Hamilton Spectator  had a story in their paper details from friends of hers.

My mom was bathing me when the torpedo hit, she grabbed me and ran to the hallway, there was smoke and a lot of wate(r), she made her way to the stairs, they had been removed by the blast, standing near the stairs she met a rescue sailor (Scotsman) he said help was coming, give me the baby and look after yourself, then ran off with me.

As things got organized a rope was dropped down, my mother was afraid of heights and doesn’t know how she made it to the deck, there where many injured who where being put into lifeboats lots of women and kids, she was given a lifejacket and put in a lifeboat, the sailor came by and handed me over wrapped in his coat as I had lost my clothes being bathed.

The lifeboat was lowered and in the water we where sunk by a rescue ship, we where picked up by another lifeboat, we where covered with black oil, the lifeboat had a few kids and women and two sailors or stewards, we got separated from the other boats and where picked up the following evening Sept 5, by HMS Escort and taken to Gourock then to Glasgow.

We stayed in Glasgow for awhile until we got fed up with air raid shelters and getting bombed, we went to Dunoon to my grandfather and grandmother, my grandfather worked for the RN sub school Osprey, I got to see a lot of subs and battleships where we lived at Holy Lock, they used to take me onto the subs when they were being supplied. One day going to school along the shore we collected up Jerry sailors hats clothes and all kinds of stuff, I remember wearing the German hat to school, the stuff was taken from us when a Navy man came to the school. The night before a U boat had gotten inside the boom and was sunk,the Jerry where buried in the church near our house. When I looked at the big grave marker I felt they had it coming to them. We went to Canada with a little brother in 1948.


I do have a Glasgow newspaper with my mother and I on the front page.


I am indeed grateful for all your efforts in sending me your story about the tragedy of the Athenia sinking, thank you. Is it possible to please copy the Glasgow paper report with you and your Mother, and sent it to me? We would love to add that to your story for AHOY.

You and your Mother are the first two names I have been able to get for those rescued by one of the two British Destroyers and taken to Gourock, that list of names still eludes me.

Best wishes and thanks again.

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