Joseph and Elnetta Macdonald survive sinking of Athenia?

July 16,


I have been advised, as a result of research carried out about a relative who was a WW1 casualty, that his brother and wife survived the sinking of the Athenia.

They were Joseph and Elnetta Macdonald. Do you have any record of these two on any of the survivors lists?



I am afraid I have no record of the two survivors from Athenia that you mention.

I have very little record of those survivors who were rescued by the three British destroyers and landed at Greenock Scotland.

Those lists have always eluded me, and I still cannot track them down.

Kind regards,

July 29, 2010


I managed to obtain further information about these two passengers, after quizzing my mother about it! (Joseph was her Uncle) This is what she remembers:

Joseph and Elnetta were in the Athenia, returning to the USA after a holiday in Scotland. (He was Scottish, and she was American. He was a banker.)

They had a Grey Buick in the hold, which obviously went down with the ship!

At the time of the torpedo, he was below decks, and she was on deck, as she wasn't keen on being inside. When the torpedo hit, she decided to stay where she was until her husband appeared. She had decided she wasn't leaving without him. He did appear, and they were both rescued.

The were put up in the Central hotel in Glasgow, and then transferred to another hotel. (Possibly Beresford Hotel) 

They returned to the USA shortly afterwards, but were understandably nervous during the journey.

Unfortunately she can't recall the name of the ship that carried out their rescue.



My thanks for your extra information.

I can imagine any survivors being anxious about crossing the Alantic again.

best wishes,

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