Journalist and author Thomas Sanger told the compelling story of the World War II torpedoing and sinking of the British passenger ship SS Athenia in his Nov. 20 Morning Forum of Los Altos presentation, “The Athenia Story: The Forgotten Tale of a Passenger Ship Torpedoed on the First Day of WWII.”
The Athenia was the first ship attacked in World War II. Sanger was inspired by the ship’s story, as his grandmother, Rhoda Thomas, was a passenger and a survivor. She wrote 14 letters about her experience and then stashed them away. Finding the letters after she died prompted Sanger to write about the ordeal. His book “Without Warning” is a fictionalized account of the sinking and of the heroism of the crew, especially Chief Officer Barnet Copland.