History comes alive for Cath and family

Cath Muir from Newarthill holds her grandfathers watch flanked by curator Emily Malcolm and Sidneys nephew Dr Ernie Worrall. Pic: Craig Foy/SNS Group
Cath Muir from Newarthill holds her grandfathers watch flanked by curator Emily Malcolm and Sidneys nephew Dr Ernie Worrall. Pic: Craig Foy/SNS Group

A Newarthill woman has been reunited with a piece of family history as well as a family member she never knew existed.

The Riverside Museum in Glasgow put out a public appeal to ‘find Sid’ to get in touch with family of the original owner of a watch donated to the museum.

Sidney Worrall was on board the ill-fated liner TSS Athenia, which was attacked and sunk the day World War Two was declared in September 1939.

Sidney Worrall was on board the ill-fated liner TSS Athenia, which was attacked and sunk the day World War Two was declared in September 1939.

Sidney Worall was a cook on board the TSS Athenia when it was hit by a German torpedo on the first day of World War Two.

The force of an explosion knocked a huge pan off the ship’s cooker, covering him in boiling oil.

Fearing for his life he asked Canadian passenger Gerry Hutchinson to look after his watch.

When Gerry died, his son Rob, who thought Sidney had died of this injuries, donated the watch to the Riverside Museum.

Curator Emily Malcolm issued a plea for information after discovering Sidney had lived while researching the history of the object to put it on display.

Sidney’s granddaughter Cath Muir and nephew Dr Ernie Worrall from Burnside, who didn’t know each other, came forward.

Cath said: “What a surprise it was when by husband told me there was an appeal for information on my grandfather.

“I remember him as a child, he was very badly burned when the Athenia was attacked and had many skin grafts on his face and legs, he told us that they were his maps of the world.

“I am indebted to Gerry for keeping my grandfather’s watch safe all these years and look forward to bringing my own grandchildren to Riverside to see it on display soon.

“Hopefully we’ll even meet Rob if he is over from Canada.”

Sidney was shown on the Pathe news landing in Galway which let his family he has survived the attack.

Ernie added: “Not only has Emily’s detective work allowed me to learn more about my family’s history, it has put me in touch with Cath and family I didn’t know.”

An updated TSS Athenia display is expected to open in the summer.