Willie Jenkins survived sinking of Athenia


Hi Mac,

Came across your 1st class site.

I was a officer in SS.Lismoria which sailed out of Princess Dock in Glasgow, this ship belonged to the Donaldson Line.

We had a chief steward aboard whom I became very friendly with, his name was Willie Jenkins, he was nicknamed the "robot man" as he was very mechanical in his actions, the reasons will become apparent. Willie came from Glasgow and I knew the area he came from we spent a lot of time talking while at sea. One particular day he really opened up and told me he was aboard "Athenia" when it was torpedoed. In actual fact Willie had had been aboard 3 ships which had been torpedoed, Athenia 1 of them.

Needless to say his nerves were pretty bad, hence his mechanical movements. When he told me his story I tended to protect him and tried  to make sure no one made a fool of him. It is very sad that, man can be cruel to their fellow man, Willie had more than his fair share of suffering, all he wanted to do was be the best chief steward in the Donaldson Line and continue to serve his country. Heroes can appear in many forms!

Trust you will find this item of interest,

Kindest Regards,
Billo Gibson


Thank you for your kind words about AHOY, and the content about Willie, I am continually being suprised just how much about the loss of Athenia is out there on the internet, and that people take the time and effort to write to me. I am indeed grateful.

Some of those who served at sea in WW2, especially on the North Atlantic run had a tough time, once is enough to be sunk, as I can attest, but three times is going much too far.

Best wishes.

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