Leonard Robert Sykes, Walda Katrina Sykes, Shirley Margaret Sykes, survived sinking of Athenia

April 14, 2010

All my life I heard about the sinking of this ship. My mother and maternal grandparents were among the survivors.

They are all now deceased, but here are their names: 

Leonard Robert Sykes
Walda Katrina Sykes
Shirley Margaret Sykes

My mother, Shirley, would describe the events and chaos and the hours in the lifeboat. They were from Fort Wayne, Indiana, returning from a stay in England due to the rumblings about the war. Oddly, they were all reported lost by the local Ft Wayne newspapers and a memorial service was held, as my grandfather was a prominent local businessman.

When they turned up very much alive, I understand it was quite a shock to the community.

Bev Gerrish


Thank you for your mail, at this distance in time from the Athenia sinking, I must say that I am suprised at the amount of interest still shown.

Hardly a week goes by without my being contacted by a survivor or some relatives who had their loved ones involved.

I have your mother Shirley on a list published in the NewYork Times on September 7 1939, she was rescued by the
City of Flint and taken to Galway.

Leonard and Walda are listed in this paper on September 6. They were also landed at Galway.

Best regards,

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