Athenia Research, Museum of Transport, Glasgow

Dear Mac,
I've been meaning to update you on our progress with "Athenia" over the past few months - here goes.

Your contacts for Marianne Young, Phil Gunyon, Ruth Kasianiuk, Gayle Nee and Margo Farnsworth have been very useful - I have spoken to Marianne a couple of times on the phone and been in email contact with the rest. 

We've also made new contacts with James Kerr (father, also James, was a steward on board) and Frank McClory whose father Francis Henry McClory was a galley hand.  We've now got a total of 11 different "stories" to tell - and a great range between passengers and crew/Glaswegians and "foreigners"(!).  Our next job is to sit down and make sense of all the material and work out how best to present it.

I contacted both the Galway Advertiser and the Galway council archives to see if they had any extra information, but though I've had replies they were of the "will pass on anything we find" sort.  The Glasgow sources continue to prove useful, however, with a particular source of interest being the papers of the Athenia Relief fund held in the Mitchell Library - full of letters seeking recompense for everything from a street musicians' violin to a rich New Zealander's furs - I will let you guess the response to each....

I presume that you would be interested in more details of the material we are using - if you are I will pull together some sample pages/images and email them to you - would a general update on what we are doing be useful?  It might serve to focus my mind in the first instance!

I'll keep in touch as things develop - many, many thanks again for all your help.

Best wishes,

Emily Malcolm
Curator, Transport & Technology
Museum of Transport


Dear Emily,
How nice to hear from you again, yes please a general update and some sample pages would be great thank you.

I am still suprised that there does not seem to be a consolidated list of survivors picked up by the British Destroyers and landed at Gourock from Athenia

Emily, you may not have seen this report that I came across today, and it may be of little use to you, but here goes anyway.

"A report about HMS Electra and the sinking and rescue of some of her passengers, by Able Seaman Jack Taylor"

On another tack, Stewart Holder from Liverpool told me his Father was sunk in Athenia, and is putting together a few pages for me about that time, (LINK?) his Dad has some material about the ship, which he is considering offering to the Museum in Liverpool, I suggested he duplicate that , gave him your E Mail, and said share it with you in Glasgow as well.

If you do not hear from Stewart, please alert me, and I will ask if I may pass on his address to you.

I am pleased you are gathering data for your proposed new display in 2009, and also that I have been able to help if only in a minor way.

Best wishes,

Dear Mac, many thanks for both your mails. You must be burning the midnight oil in the antipodes! The notes from the Electra crew member are most interesting - preparation for rescue in particular and I did wonder if it was easy for the sailors to replace the clothing they gave away!

I have been working from the survivor lists published in the Glasgow Herald - but I have been mainly checking names that I wanted to confirm had been landed at Glasgow - nothing of an overall survey for completeness.  Saying that, however, everyone I've looked for I've found in the listings over..three days I think it is. A case in point covers your query about Francis McClory - his son says that his dad was rescued by HMS Hood - I'm assuming this is an "interpretation" of one of the RN destroyers! I'm corresponding with him at the moment, so will try and clarify - but will also check in the paper just to make sure.
The "Herald" lisitngs don't differentiate between vessels, however, except when listing those taken ashore in Galway.  Would a copy of the these listings be of use to you?

I will let you know about Mr McClory when I have checked up, meanwhile James Kerr's son said that his father was picked up by the Southern Cross and then transferred to a naval vessel - he wasn't sure of the name - and taken to Glasgow.  This is one of the many (many) points I hope to clarify over the next few weeks.  I'll write something up and send you some nice pix - any preferences as to file size and format?

Thanks again!


Thank you, I would love a copy of the survivor lists from the Glasgow Herald.

Of course as you know HMS Hood was not involved in the rescue of crew and passengers from Athenia, and as you suggest was  probably an intrepretation of the RN destroyers.

The Southern Cross who collected a number of survivors before transferring them to the City of Flint was owned by the Swedish industrialist Axel Leonard Wenner-Gren, and I believe he purchased the Yacht from Howard Hughes.

Here is a rare photo of Southern Cross

Best wishes,

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