Barnet Mackenzie Copland was the thirty two calendar year outdated Main Officer of the 13,465 tons passenger liner Athenia when she left Liverpool for The united states on 2nd September, 1939, carrying 1400 travellers. The Athenia starting to be the past passenger ship out of Europe ahead of war was declared. She was portion of the Donaldson Atlantic Line and normally ran consistently on the Glasgow to Montreal route. It is a further coincidence that the ships predecessor, the very first Donaldson liner, Athenia was torpedoed off Inishtrahull in August 1917.
Soon just after evening meal, Copland uncovered Mrs Rose Griffin of Toronto, lying unconscious at the foot of the stairs primary to ‘D’ deck, in all probability triggered by a lousy tumble. Copland managed to get her to the unwell bay and termed the health care provider.
Mrs Griffin was even now unconscious when, later on the adhering to working day, Oberleutnant Fritz-Julius Lemp, the 26 12 months previous commander of the German submarine U-30, sighted Athenia about 200 miles West of the Hebrides. Four hrs before he experienced gained the signal telling him that his state was now at war with Britain. Lemp purchased 3 torpedoes to be fired on the Athenia. These were the very first shots fired at sea of Entire world War II. Two of them missed. But the 3rd hit the liner broadside in the motor place. With this explosion, Athenia then grew to become the initial sea casualty of Entire world War II.
Copland was a single of the very last to go away the sinking ship following organising the start of all lifeboats. He was picked up by the destroyer HMS Electra, which was a person of the ships that experienced answered Athenia’s distress call. Climbing aboard, he achieved the Athenia’s medical doctor and was told that in the confusion Mrs Griffin had been left behind.
Copland promptly organised her rescue and with two volunteers, returned with them to the sinking liner. They found her listing over thirty degrees, this just about fifteen hrs considering the fact that remaining hit by the torpedo. The liner was nevertheless having difficulties to continue to be afloat. Jeopardizing their lives in a race towards time, Copland and the two volunteers observed the unconscious Mrs Griffin – she was near to drowning in the flooded unwell bay. Hurriedly, they bought her from the ship to security back again aboard the destroyer. Tragically, the rescued woman in no way regained consciousness and died two weeks later on in a Glasgow medical center.
Copland was awarded the OBE for his bravery. Then just about two years handed. In Could 1941, Copland was serving aboard the freighter Esmond, sailing in an Atlantic convoy. The convoy was sighted by a newly-commissioned enemy submarine, the U-110. For the second time in his job, Copland’s ship was torpedoed.
But escorting destroyers closed in mercilessly on the submarine. Aubretia set down ten depth prices which blew U-110 to the surface area. Two other individuals, Bulldog and Broadway then pounded it with shell-fireplace. The battered submarine surrendered and was captured. 30-4 customers of her crew have been rescued from the drinking water – but her commander was not between them. That commander, who was never ever viewed all over again, was none other than Fritz-Julius Lemp, the gentleman who had sunk Athenia. Thus, for the second time, and in dramatic fashion, even though they never fulfilled, did the hand of Fate trigger the paths of Copland and Lemp to cross each other.