Note: Rosemary Cass-Beggs was three years old when she boarded the British passenger liner Athenia Sept. 2, 1939, with her parents, Barbara and David Cass-Beggs. When their ship was torpedoed by a German U-boat (the central event in my forthcoming historical novel, Without Warning), Rosemary’s parents put her on one of the first lifeboats to leave the ship, even though there was no room for them in the boat. They expected Athenia to sink at any moment and wanted to make sure their daughter survived. Following are Rosemary’s memories of these events.
I am kneeling on a bench near the pointed end of the boat crying, “Mum-mee!” at intervals. What worried me most was that I was wearing my pajama top and nothing else. I don’t remember being cold or wet, simply embarrassed. Behind me, sitting round the edges of the boat were a lot of other people, all very silent. Read More