Maria (or Mary) Dick (nee Webster) survived sinking of Athenia

December 31, 2009


My great-aunt was a survivor of the Athenia... her name as Maria (or Mary) Dick (nee Webster). She would have
been traveling on her own.  She was born in England and had been visiting her family there, but at the outbreak of the war she headed home to her husband and 2 sons in Boston, Massachusetts.

The sad part of the story is that she had some borrowed items of clothing with her from my grandmother. When she returned home and was unable to return them, my grandmother wanted to be paid back for them. This caused a rift that lasted for the rest of their lives.

My mother remembers the local movie theater owner showing the family (before the rift!) a private screening of the newsreel in which she said her aunt was sitting in the front row with her ankles crossed and her purse on her lap!

I've checked the lists as best I could, but have been unable to find her name. If you have any other reference to her, I would be very grateful if you could share it with me.

Do you know if the newsreels about the survivors have survived?

Thank you,
Dorothy Burke


It seems a shame that a family fall out was the direct result of your great Aunt being sunk in the Athenia disaster.

I have a copy of a New York Times report of the sinking dated September 6 1939.

In it is a report that Mrs M Dick was landed at Glasgow uninjured.

It is attached here.

I do not know about the survival of any news reels.

Best regards,


It is a shame, isn't it. Fortunately the cousins ignored their mothers' discord and did stay in touch, so the family wasn't permanently broken.

Thank you so much for the copy of the article!! I have printed out a copy which I will mail to my mother today.... she will be thrilled to have something tangible to support her memories.

And thank you so much for putting together such an amazing website.



I was pleased I was able to help.

Thank you for your kind  words about AHOY, but it would not exist without the dedication of my web master Terry
Kearns in Atlanta Georgia
, who also gets a great deal of satifaction when we are able to assist a  family member, and the sunking of Athenia is a case in point.

Please offer your Mother our best wishes for 2010 and the future, which of course also extends to yourself.


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