Wilhemina Greer and Sylvia ( Greer ) Love survived sinking for Athenia

April 30, 2012

Dear Mac,

I have found your website, which seems to have more information about the sinking of the Athenia and her survivors than do many other sites.

I am searching for a mother and daughter, Whilemina (many, many variations) Greer, age 36, born in Ireland but a naturalized US citizen (1927), living in Orange County, New York, and Sylvia Pearl Greer, age 9, born in New York.

Sylvia is now 82, and her memory is spotty, at best. There are a number of articles about her and her mother being on the ship, but we can find no list that specifically mentions them. We do know that she and her mother arrived back in the US on the SS Orizaba, on 27 September, 1939, coming from Glasgow. 

They could have been among those rescued and brought to Scotland. Sylvia cannot help us with details at all, and in fact, she barely remembers anything about the whole thing, not even being on the Orizaba.  My sister, Joyce, has been court appointed as her guardian. There is a lot of history here, and it would be a shame not to preserve it.

If you could shed some light on this, it would be fantastic. I do a lot of genealogy, and this search has
been rather difficult, especially with only patchy information to help.

Many thanks in advance.

Diane Driscoll
Virginia, USA

Dear Diane,

The survivors from Athenia who finished up at Gourock, Scotland were all rescued by three Royal Navy destroyers, Escort, Electra, and Fame.

To my utter frustration I have never uncovered a consolidated list of survivors rescued by those 3

I have however found 28 names of people rescued by these destroyers, here they are:

    1. Lydia Pemberton and Bertha Pemberton .They were from Montreal, Quebec, Canada going to England and then coming back.
    2. Marianne Low-Beer ( now Doctor Marianne Young), living in New York )
    3. Alice Apers
    4. Laura Apers
    5. Florence Arthur
    6. Joan Eleanor Hecht
    7. Jean McVittie
    8. Wilhemina Greer
    9. Sylvia ( Greer ) Love
    10. Florence ( Kelly ) Roseman picked up by HMS Escort
    11. Mary Kelly ( Mother of Florence ( Kelly ) Roseman picked up by HMS Escort
    12. Andreaanna Gunyon , picked up by HMS Electra .
    13. Philip C. Gunyon - aged 7
    14. Barbara A. Gunyon ( 4 ) picked up by HMS Electra .
    15. Andrew R. Gunyon ( 2 ) picked up by HMS Electra .
    16. Kathleen Ferguson ( Mother )
    17. Kathleen Ferguson ( daughter 9 years old )
    18. Margaret Ferguson ( daughter aged 3 at the time )
    19. Berta Rapp
    20. Osias Rapp
    21. Elizabeth and Margaret Orr ( picked up by HMS Escort )
    22. James Kerr. Steward
    23. Duncan MacKenzie Wood Sr
    24. Ann Scott Wood (wife of Duncan Wood Sr.)
    25. Duncan MacKenzie Wood Jr. (son of Ann and Duncan Wood)
    26. Linda May Walker
    27. Aileen Scott Philipsen (nee Marston) picked up by HMS Fame
    28. Mrs. Barbara Rodman Wilson of Garden City, New York

see "Survivors from Athenia rescued by Royal Navy destroyers, Escort, Electra and Fame, and landed at Gourock on the Clyde, Scotland"

As you can see numbers 8 and 9 are Wilhemina and Sylvia.

Best wishes.

5 May, 2012

Dear Mac,

When I told my sister that you were able to locate Sylvia on the Athenia survivor list you had, she was quite excited.  She extends her sincere thanks to you.

She has many articles of Sylvia's experiences (actually, her mother's, as Sylvia was only 9 years old).  She would like to scan all the articles and email them to you.

Would this be of any interest?  Perhaps adding to personal accounts you have from others? Or perhaps it would be better if she just mailed copies of everything to you.

Please let me know if you would even want all this.

With best wishes,


I would love copiies of all you have about Sylvia.

Thank you for thinking of me.

Best wishes,

Dear Mac,

Thank you so much! I was just getting so frustrated about the lack of a complete suvivor list from this rescue.

You really made my day.

You and all of your hard work are so very appreciated!


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