Texans survive first U-boat sinking of WWII

By Bartee Haile
 
A Houston judge learned on Sep. 8, 1939 that his daughter not only had survived the U-boat sinking of the British passenger ship Athenia but also had been hailed as a heroine by the American ambassador. In her last letter before leaving Europe, Helen Hannay told her parents not to worry. “There may be a delay, but we will get out all right. We aren’t in the least afraid.” The teenaged traveler closed on a prophetic note: “I am certainly glad to have had this lovely trip and to have seen all the beautiful things before they are blown up.”
 
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