Day: August 30, 2019

The sinking of SS <em> Athenia </em>
Military History, Navy

The sinking of SS Athenia

Britain declared war on Germany at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 3, 1939. At just after 7 o’clock that evening, Captain James Cook of the passenger liner SS Athenia joined his first-class guests for dinner. While the ship had actually gotten underway two days earlier—en route from Glasgow to Montreal via Belfast and Liverpool—Cook had felt that the urgency of the international situation demanded his presence on the bridge. But by about mid-afternoon Sunday, as Cook told one passenger, they should be far enough into the Atlantic Ocean northwest of Britain and Ireland to be out of danger. At 7:40, just as the evening meal was being served, a violent explosion destroyed the engine room, plunging the dining room into darkness, sending tables and chairs skidding across the deck, and causing th...

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