Amoo Antila, known as “Aino”, ‘Anita’ or “Annie” Antila, was born in Finland at the end of the nineteenth century. She was married, and had two children, Carl who was born in 1910 or 1911 and Jan (or John) who was born in 1911 or 1912. Both children are believed to have been born in Iron County, Michigan, where the family resided in 1914.
In July 1914, for unknown reasons, Amoo and her two sons were deported from the United States of America. They arrived in Liverpool on the 7th August 1914 on board the Cunard liner
Carmania; and were to travel onward to Hull on the east coast of England to board another liner which was to take them to Hanko, Finland. However, instead of travelling to Hull, all three remained in Liverpool and boarded the
Laconia the following day to return to New York.
On arrival in New York on the 16th August, all three were detained at the hospital on Ellis Island to await deportation again. They remained at Ellis Island until they were all fit enough to travel and thus they were put on board the
Lusitania as third class passengers, in time for the liner’s sailing on the early afternoon of 1st May 1915.
The vessel was sunk, six days later, on the afternoon of 7th May by the German submarine U-20, when she was within sight of the coat of southern Ireland and only hours away from her Liverpool destination. Remarkably, all three of them survived and having been taken from the sea, were landed at Queenstown.
A letter received by the Cunard Steamship Company from a sister of Mrs. Amoo Antila, writing from Oulu, Finland, in the days following the sinking, was replied to on 12th May. In their reply, Cunard stated that the Antila family departed from Hull for Hangö, Finland, on board the Finska Steamship Company vessel, Christiania. It is unknown if they actually boarded the vessel, and nothing further is known about them.
UK Incoming Passenger Lists 1878 – 1960, New York Passenger Lists 1820 – 1957, Cunard Records, Liverpool Record Office, PRO BT 100/345, UniLiv. D92/2/8, Graham Maddocks, Geoff Whitfield, Michael Poirier, Jim Kalafus, Cliff Barry, Paul Latimer, Norman Gray.
Copyright © Peter Kelly