Civilian Bridget McErlean was a passenger on board S.S. Athenia when it sank on 3rd September 1939. She was the daughter of Henry McErlean and Jane McErlean of Moneystaghan, Portglenone, Co. Antrim.
She died on 3rd September 1939 aged 38 years old. Oberleutnant Fritz Julius Lemp in U-30 sank the British vessel 370km north-west of Inishtrahull, Donegal, Éire.
The Athenia was the first British ship sunk by the German Navy during the Second World War. With 117 passengers and crew dead, the loss was the Donaldson Line’s greatest disaster. During wartime, Germany denied sinking the Athenia but admitted responsibility in 1946. Many considered the attack a war crime.
Bridget McErlean has no known grave. Her name is on the Civilian War Dead Roll of Honour at St. George’s Chapel, Westminster Abbey, London.