Robert (Bob) Bryson MacArthur Sim an engineer survived the torpedoeing of SS Athenia

September 01, 2009 


I don't know if I can possibly add any value to your research, but I am Robert Bryson Sim Mackie the grandson of Robert (Bob) Bryson MacArthur Sim an engineer (Chief Sanitary I think) who survived the torpedoeing of SS Athenia. Legend has it (and not just in the family) that my grandfather was somewhat renowned for his liking for alcohol and it was his being at the bonded store door awaiting its opening after clearing limits that was the saving of him as the ship was hit on the other side.

He eventually returned to sea and retired from the Empire Brent in the Fifties.

The sea must have been in my own blood as I sailed with Shell for five years prior to returning ashore to marry forty years ago.

Bob Mackie 


Than you for that information.

I have only a few crew names who survived the sinking, and your Grandfather is not listed amongst them.

I have never been able to unearth all who were rescued by the British destroyers and taken to Greenock.

Best regards,

September 02, 2009
Hi Mac,

My grandfather was taken into Galway Bay in Ireland prior to being returned to Scotland. Whether the rescue vessel was a warship or another merchant ship I don't know.

Anyway it's nice to have seen your website, particularly at this 70th anniversary time.

ps Many years later I did meet an engineer shoreside who had sailed as a junior engineer with my grandfather after the war. BTW he was able to confirm the drinking legend!

Bob Mackie


It was the tanker Knute Nelson that took Athenia survivors to Galway, but still no grandfather in my list of those whe were landed there.



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