Friday, May 23 – 1941
Torpedoed, She Awaits Next Ship.
When a U-boat torpedoed the liner on which she was sailing overseas to be married, Miss Lavina Ainley, a 24-year old Anfield, Liverpool, nurse, spent 21 hours in a lifeboat. The Nazi submarine shelled the lifeboat for 15 minutes before making off.
Help was brought by an American flying boat. Miss Ailey, clad only in pyjamas, coat, and shoes has landed again in this country. Despite her ordeal she intends to sail again as soon as possible.
She became engaged last year to Mr. Herman Van Den Berg, Liverpool F.C.’s outside left, who is an airman.
Miss Ainley was awakened by the explosion of the torpedo to find water pouring into the cabin, which was occupied also by a mother with two children. Miss Ainley put on a coat, picked up one child, and led the way to the deck.
“In the boat we were rationed to one ship’s biscuit and a mouthful of water three times a day,” said Miss Ainley. “When we saw a large plane in the distance we feared it was a Nazi bomber coming to finish us off, and did our best to lie low in the boat as it approached.
“An officer, however, identified the plane, which signalled us that it was going to bring help. Shortly afterwards we were picked up.”
(Dundee Courier, 23-05-1941)
Herman Van Den Berg, Liverpool F.C.