Survivors of the RMS Titanic Disaster
Group of Titanic Survivors on the Deck of the RMS Carpathia. Underwood & Underwood. The Sinking of the Titanic. GGA Image ID # 102d40a9fa
At 10:25 on Sunday night, April 14, she smashed into an iceberg and at 2:20 am, on Monday, she went to the bottom, 1,150 miles east of New York, with nearly all her crew and all but 705 of her passengers, a total death list at this writing of 1,475.
The survivors were picked up in boats by the Cunard steamer “Carpathia” shortly after the “Titanic” had gone down, and were landed at New York on Thursday night April 18.
The loss in a financial sense is upwards of $20,000,000, the value of the vessel alone being $7,500,000 without furnishings, cargo, mails, and baggage.
Among the few men saved was Mr. J. Bruce Ismay, one of the directors of the line. Never before has the civilized world been so stunned by such a wholly unanticipated and stupendous disaster.
Twelve days from her builders' yard to the bottom of the Atlantic with the greatest loss of life and property on record for a single wreck, was the meteoric career of the great White Star steamship “Titanic,” the largest and finest vessel ever constructed.
Self-Sacrificing Heroism from the Titanic 1912
Newspaper Boy Holds Evening Newspaper with Titanic Disaster Headlines. The New York Observer (9 May 1912) p. 585. GGA Image ID # 105f492675
A newspaper boy stands outside the Oceanic House on Cockspur Street new Trafalgar Square in London, the headquarters of the White Star Line.
The many remarkable instances of heroism on the Titanic will influence mankind for centuries to come. "Women and children first!" is a motto for a monument for all time.
The weakest and most needy are protected and cared for by the strongest and wealthiest, making their action truly Godlike. The testimony of the survivors to the deeds of noble men will ever be like a moving picture of thrilling inspiration.
We shall always behold Major Archibald Butt, with his stately, soldierly form, guarding the way to the life-boats for the helpless women and children. Aware that the closing hour of his life was at hand, he did not tremble or shirk but stood grandly true.
Once, when he saw a crowd of men surge toward the boats, he cried out, "Stand back, you men! Women and children first !" Some were heard to exclaim as the boat rowed away from the ship, "Thank God for Archie Butt!"
As the Major place Miss Mary Young, of Washington, as the last woman in the last boat, he ran to get two blankets to put around her, tucking her in as if she were in an automobile.
Then he smilingly said, "Good-bye, Miss Young; will you kindly remember me to all the folks at home?" Now his work was done; like a grand hero, like a true soldier, like noble manhood, there he stood and there he died.
Martyrs at the stake never showed greater nobility of soul, for his was a voluntary death, that others might live. There, in the gloom, far away from dear ones, in the cold grip of the pitiless waters, his body sank, with the palace of the seas, but his spirit ascended to dwell with the heroes of all ages.
Out of the goblet of self-sacrifice and suffering, he drinks today the elixir of everlasting life.
John Jacob Astor stood heroically by Major Butt all through the struggle. When he begged his wife to let him put her in a lifeboat, she exclaimed, "No, no! I cannot go and leave you in the ship." "Oh, but you must, my dear," he replied, and then he almost dragged her to the boat. Kissing her goodbye, he said, "Don't worry; all will be well."
There the doomed husband stood, gazing at the boat that was carrying his wife away from him forever. After that scene was over, he was beheld everywhere helping fill the life-boats, and at last, standing up to his knees in water, he jumped overboard. Such heroism is a precious memory to friends and fellow citizens.
The public is accustomed in these days to speak evil of men of wealth, but the millionaires on the Titanic manifested courage and fidelity and strength of character equal to any other persons there.
Benjamin Guggenheim sent the last message to his wife in New York by one of the life-boat passengers, which contained these words: "If anything should happen to me, tell my wife I have done my best in doing my duty."
After helping fill all the boats, he removed his life-preserver and sweater and clothed himself in his best evening dress, saying to a friend, "Now we are prepared to go down like gentlemen."
Isidor Straus said to his wife, "Now, dear, I want you to do as I say and get into the next lifeboat." She replied, "I will get in this one if you will." He shook his head.
He had made up his mind to drown rather than take his place in a life boat when there were not enough boats to go around. With their arms around each other, there they stood, dying for others, as all their lives they had been living for others, all over the world.
Again some friends are seen begging Mrs. Straus to go, but she persisted, "I cannot leave my husband." Someone said, "There is room enough for both."
Mr. Straus exclaimed, "As long as there is one woman on this vessel I will not leave." "But you are an old man, Mr. Straus."
He grandly replied, "I am not too old to sacrifice myself for a woman." The officers now tried to force Mrs. Straus into the boat, but she clung desperately to her husband, and, recalling the words of Ruth, she cried out, "Entreat me not to leave thee. Where you go, I will go."
At last, Mr. Straus succeeded in getting his wife into a lifeboat, but she had only just been seated when she sprang up, jumped out of the boat and, catching her husband's arm, she exclaimed, "We have been together through a great many years; we are too old to separate now."
There, clasped together, the happy pair stood, true to each other, to God and to humanity, a picture for an artist. No doubt they thought of the words, "Love is stronger than death; many waters cannot quench it, neither can the floods drown it. Lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death, not divided."
The women were as heroic as the men when allowed to manifest their will. Miss Edith Evans, a young heroine, after being seated in a boat, saw Mrs. John Murray Brown, of Boston, approaching.
She gladly gave up her opportunity for life to Mrs. Brown, saying, as the officers shouted, "Room for only one more," "Take this woman; she has children waiting for her." Can such an act of heroism be excelled anywhere in human annals?
Many of the workingmen in the depths of the ship possessed equal grandeur of spirit. The captain had ordered every man on board to take his post of duty. Thirty-three firemen, besides the engines and dynamos, stood fast and faithful, keeping them running till the last.
When the water was rising about them one of the officers looked down and saw their lips moving in prayer. To such men, honor and faithfulness to duty was dearer than life.
As a steward was putting on a life-preserver for one of the passengers the friend said to the steward, "Where is yours?" He replied, "There are not enough to go around." "Others first," was his motto.
After the ship had sunk, Captain Smith was seen swimming toward a lifeboat, holding a child with one hand, high out of the water. Someone grasped the child as he reached the boat, while other hands were outstretched to take him aboard. As one of them seized him, he broke away, saying, "I will go down with the ship." Then he calmly unloosed his life-belt and sank, to be seen no more.
While many were slowly freezing to death in the icy air and in the water that leaked into the life-boats, hymns were sung and prayers were offered to inspire their courage and hope. Catholics and Protestants united in chanting the Lord's Prayer together. At last, in the gray of the morning, a shout was heard, "The Carpathia is coming!"
Rescue of the Titanic Survivors by Captain Rostron - 1913
A feature of the Scribner’s March 1913 number that will attract the attention of the general reader will be Captain Arthur H. Rostron’s own narrative of “The Rescue of the Titanic Survivors.” This impressive story by the captain of the Carpathia will describe how that ship, her crew and passengers responded to the Titanic’s wireless call for help. It is a feature of world interest.
The Cunard Royal Mail Twin-Screw Steamer "Carpathia." Cunard Handbook (May 1905) p. 2. GGA Image ID # 1031a26a51
The Carpathia left New York, April 11, 1912, in fine, clear weather, bound for Gibraltar and other Mediterranean ports.
Saturday and Sunday (13th and 14th), it was very fine but cold weather, and we had remarked that there must be a lot of ice to the northward, as we had then a light northerly breeze.
I turned in about midnight on Sunday and was just dropping off to sleep when I heard the chart-room door open (this door leads directly into my cabin, near the head of my bunk), and I thought to myself: “Who the dickens is this cheeky beggar coming into my cabin without knocking?”
However, I very soon knew the reason. I looked up and saw the first officer and the Marconi operator; the first officer at once informed me “we have just received an urgent distress message from the Titanic that she had struck ice and required immediate assistance.”
You can imagine I was very soon wide awake, and, to say the least, somewhat astonished. I gave orders to turn the ship around, and jumped up getting hold of Marconi operator by the sleeve, and asked: “Are you sure it is the Titanic and requires immediate assistance?”
He replied: “Yes, sir.” Again I asked: “Are you absolutely certain?”
He again replied: “Yes.”
“All right,” I said: “tell him we are coming along as fast as we can.”
I then went into the chart-room and asked if he had given Titanic's position, and then the operator gave me the position on a slip of paper: “Lat. 41° 46' N., Long. 50° 14' W.”
When in chart-room working out the position and course, I saw the boatswain's mate pass with the watch as they were going to wash down the decks. I called him and told him to knock off all work, and get all our boats ready for lowering, and not to make any noise; also that the men need not get excited, as we were going to another vessel in distress.
I had already sent for the chief engineer, and on coming up told him to turn out another watch of stokers and make all speed possible and not to spare anything, as we were going up to Titanic, she being in trouble, having struck ice.
Chief engineer hurried away at once, and I then sent for English doctor, purser, and chief steward.
These officers were soon in my cabin, and I related the circumstances and gave the following instructions:
- English doctor, with assistants, to remain in the first-class dining-room; Italian doctor in second, and Hungarian doctor in the third-class dining-room, and to have a supply of stimulants, restoratives, and everything necessary.
- Purser, with assistant purser and chief steward to receive the people at the different gangways, controlling our own stewards in assisting the Titanic's people to the dining-rooms, etc.
- Also, get Christian and surnames of survivors as soon as possible to send by wireless.
- Inspector, steerage stewards, and masters-at-arms to control our own steerage passengers and keep them out of third-class dining-hall, also to keep them out of the way, and off the deck, to prevent confusion.
- Chief steward that all hands would be called, and to have coffee, etc., ready to serve out to our men. Have coffee, tea, soup, etc., in each dining-room for rescued. Have blankets near gangways, in saloons and public rooms, and also some handy for our own boats.
- To see all rescued cared for and immediate wants attended to, that my cabin and all officials' cabins would be given up for accommodation of rescued; smoke-rooms, libraries, and dining-rooms, if necessary, to be utilized as accommodation.
- All spare berths in steerage to be used for Titanic's third- class, and to get all our own steerage passengers grouped together.
- To all, l I strictly enjoined silence, order, and strict discipline; also to station a steward in each alleyway to reassure our own passengers should they inquire about any noise they might hear.
After receiving their instructions, these officers hurried away to make their preparations.
Captain Arthur H. Rostron of the RMS Carpathia. Scribner's Magazine (March 1913) p. 355. GGA Image ID # 102f032c7b
I then went on to the bridge, and soon after the Marconi operator came up and reported he had picked up a message from Titanic to Olympic, asking the latter to have all his boats ready.
(But previous to this the operator had received a message from Titanic, asking when we would be up there. I told him to reply: “About four hours.” We did it in less than three and a half hours.) I told the operator to inform Titanic all our boats would be in readiness, and also all preparations necessary.
After the operator left, I gave the following instructions to the first officer:
- All hands to be called and get coffee, etc.
- Prepare and swing out all boats; all gangway doors to be opened.
- Electric clusters at each gangway and over the side A block—with line rove—hooked in each gangway.
- A chair—slung—at each gangway for getting sick or wounded up.
- Pilot ladders and side ladders at gangways and over the side.
- Cargo falls, with both ends clear and bight secured, along ship's side on deck, for boat ropes or to help people up.
- Heaving lines and gaskets distributed about the decks and gangways, to be handy for lashings, etc.
- Forward derricks rigged and topped, and steam on winches—to get mails on board or as required.
- Pour oil down forward lavatories, both sides, to quiet the sea.
- Canvas ash-bags near the gangways to haul the children up in.
- Ordered company's rockets to be fired from three A. M., and every quarter of an hour, to reassure Titanic.
- Also arranged as to how the officers would work, should the situation require the service of our boats.
About two thirty-five the doctor came on the bridge and reported all my instructions carried out, and everything in readiness.
Titanic Survivors on Lifeboats. Scribner's Magazine (March 1913) p. 356. GGA Image ID # 105f27631d
The Sighting of the Titanic Lifeboats Making Their Way Towards the Carpathia.
Captions of Images (left to right):
- Emergency Boat No. 2
- Officer Lowe's Boat Under Sail
- Fourth Officer Lowe Tows a Canvas Collapsible Lifeboat
I was talking to the doctor as to what we might expect, and keeping at the same time a sharp lookout, when quite suddenly —and only for a couple of seconds—I saw a green flare about a point on port bow.
I remarked, “There's his light, he must be afloat still,” as at one-thirty or so the operator had reported to me that he had received a message saying, “Engine-room filling.” So, of course, I knew, on hearing that, of the gravity of the situation.
All our men were quietly but busily making preparations. It was a beautiful, fine, clear night, very cold, and every star in the heavens shining bright, the sea quite calm and no wind.
We were racing along splendidly—attaining a maximum speed of about seventeen knots—our usual speed being fourteen.
The chief engineer had been up to me about one-thirty and reported all hands were working below and doing all they possibly could. It appears some of the stokers can being called—and knowing the reason—had turned straight out of their bunks and rushed below, not even taking time to dress.
Soon after seeing the green light, the second officer reported an iceberg about two points on the port bow. This berg we saw with the reflected light of a star—a star beam—on it.
From now on, we were passing bergs on either side and had to alter course several times to keep well clear of them. You may depend on it, we were keyed up pretty tight, and keeping a bright lookout. I was also fully aware of our danger, knowing what had already occurred to the Titanic. So it can be imagined I was pretty anxious, thinking of my own passengers and crew and ship, as well as those on the Titanic.
We had three and a half rushing, anxious hours, and plenty to think of and plenty to do in the meantime in order to be ready.
We started sending up rockets at intervals of about a quarter of an hour, and when nearer fired the company’s Roman candles (night signals), to let them know it was Carpathia.
We saw the green light at intervals, and what with keeping a lookout for icebergs, vessels' lights, and the green light, we had to keep our eyes skinned and no mistakes to be made.
About three-thirty A. M. the purser and chief steward came up to the bridge and reported all in readiness, enumerating all the orders I had given.
Three-thirty-five or so I put the engines on the “stand by,” so that I should know the engineers would be at the engines for instant action if required.
Titanic's Second Officer Lightoller's Lifeboat. Scribner's Magazine (March 1913) p. 357. GGA Image ID # 102f846575
About four A. M., I stopped the engines, knowing we must be somewhere near the position. A few minutes after, I saw an iceberg right ahead, and immediately the second officer reported the same.
We had seen the green flare light lowdown not long before, and so knew it must be a boat. I had intended taking the boat on the port side, which was the lee side if anything, but with the iceberg to consider, I swung the ship around and made to pick up the boat on the starboard side.
Another few minutes and the boat was alongside; a hail came: “We have only one seaman in the boat and cannot work very well.” “All right,” I replied; “I’ll bring the ship alongside the boat.” We got her alongside and found her to contain about twenty-five people, and in charge of an officer.
The Canvas Collapsible Lifeboat from the Titanic. Scribner's Magazine (March 1913) p. 357. GGA Image ID # 102f8796cb
Now comes the heart-rending part when we knew for a certainty the Titanic had gone down; I sent word to the gangway to ask the officer to come up to me on the bridge when he came aboard.
On coming up to the bridge, I shook hands and asked: “The Titanic has gone down, I suppose?”
“Yes,” he replied—but what-a-sad-hearted “Yes” it was—“she went down about two thirty.”
Lifeboat Pulling up along Side the Carpathia. An Unloaded Lifeboat Is on the Right. Scribner's Magazine (March 1913) p. 358. GGA Image ID # 102fb37c7b
Daylight was just setting in, and soon, in the early dawn, could be seen dozens and dozens of icebergs, large and small, all around us; here and there dotted about the calm sea we could distinguish the other boats, the boats being within a radius of about four to five miles, I should think.
We also saw the iceberg we picked up right ahead; this was about one-third of a mile off our starboard beam. Looking aft we saw a growler—a broken-off lump of ice—about ten to fifteen feet high and twenty-five feet long, a couple of hundred yards off our port quarter.
Giving instructions to junior officer on bridge to count the number of bergs about two hundred feet high—and pointing out several as a guide—he counted twenty-five estimated at from two hundred to two hundred and fifty, and dozens of bergs from fifty to one hundred and fifty, feet high.
Close-Up View of a Lifeboat of Titanic Survivors Unloading. Scribner's Magazine (March 1913) p. 358. GGA Image ID # 102fb459db
From now on, we were getting the remainder of the boats alongside, and one's imagination fancied these people shivering for hours during that cold night in their confined space.
We maneuvered about to reach the boats, and by eight o'clock had all the boats alongside, and we were also in the immediate vicinity of the disaster.
I had arranged to hold a short service whilst we were close to the spot—a short prayer of thankfulness for those saved and a short service for those lost. This service was held in the first-class dining-room whilst slowly cruising about.
Bringing Survivors On Board the Carpathia. Scribner's Magazine (March 1913) p. 359. GGA Image ID # 10300dc14e
From the deck, we could see little to indicate the terrible catastrophe of a few hours previous. We saw little but bits of small wreckage—some deck chairs, a few life belts and large quantities of cork; for all the world just as one sees on the sea-shore, merely a tide drift.
The Leyland Line SS Californian of 6,223 Gross Tons Appearing on the Scene. Scribner's Magazine (March 1913) p. 362. GGA Image ID # 1031be7ef6
At eight o'clock we also saw a steamer coming toward us out of the ice-field. This ice-field stretched as far as the eye could see from northwest to southeast, and we soon found her to be the Californian.
We signaled her and told the news of trouble, and asked her to search around, as we were returning to New York. It was now blowing a moderate breeze and the sea getting up.
About eight-twenty or so, all the people were aboard, and by eight-forty-five all the boats we could take, and then we proceeded to New York.
I had decided to return to New York, as I considered New York the only port possible under the circumstances. We soon found our passage blocked by a tremendous ice-field. Of course, we had seen this ice-field before, but did not know how compact it was, nor the extent of it.
In the field, were many bergs from one hundred to one hundred and fifty feet high, and the general mass of the ice perhaps six to twelve feet high. We sailed round this ice-pack for nearly four hours—quite fifty-six miles—before we could set our course for New York. We also passed several large bergs clear of the pack.
About noon, we passed the Russian steamer Burmah, bound east. We saw him attempt to cut through the ice-pack, but he had to turn out again. And I don't blame him, either.
We had been in wireless communication with several steamers that were coming up to assist, but I sent word we had accounted for all the boats, and it was useless, as we had left the Californian searching. They also were all a long distance off.
Our own passengers began to arrive on deck soon after the first boat was alongside. It was quite remarkable the manner in which everyone behaved. There was absolutely no excitement. Our own passengers did not seem to realize what was happening or the catastrophe which had occurred.
The Carpathia was stopped in mid-Atlantic. The sun was just rising over the horizon, chasing away the last shades of night from a cloudless sky; beneath us a calm sea with scarcely a ripple on its gently heaving swell; everything perfectly still—a perfect sunrise and a picture before us almost impossible to imagine either as regards the color or the subject.
View from the Carpathia of the Ice Field near the Scene of the Disaster, Early in the Morning on 15 April 1912. Scribner's Magazine (March 1913) p. 360. GGA Image ID # 1030153139
All around us were dozens and dozens of icebergs, some comparatively close, others far away on the horizon, towering up like cathedral spires or assuming in one's fancy the forms of ships under full sail.
The sun shining on these ice pinnacles seemed to enhance their splendor and belie the hidden truth. Dotted here and there on the quiet sea were to be seen the boats, some in groups of two or three, others singly, pulling in toward a common center—the Carpathia.
Alongside were more boats more or less filled with people, more people climbing up the ship's side, others being pulled up, all having white life-belts on—no noise, no hurry.
The whole might have been an early morning improvised spectacular arrangement for the benefit of our passengers, but withal there was an atmosphere of inability to grasp that which was before them: as if it had been given them too suddenly, and just as if they were looking on at something most unusual, and yet with an indefinable tragedy behind it all; something too great to realize.
In reality, our passengers had a few minutes before been asleep in their beds, and this sudden experience of such a scene and its relative meaning was almost beyond one's comprehension.
Can one wonder, with the immensity of it all thrust on their hardly awakened senses in such an unheard-of and undreamt-of dramatic manner?
However, something of the true nature soon seemed to strike our people. They seemed to understand that they had a part to play and that this was something which was not meant for them to be merely as an audience, but in which they could and ought to act.
The Ice Field Photographed Several Hours Later. Photo by L. C. Stoudenmire. Scribner's Magazine (March 1913) p. 361. GGA Image ID # 103048a954
Our passengers mixed with the new arrivals and tried to comfort and help them; persuading them to take some nourishment or stimulant, arguing with and pressing on them the necessity for such a course.
Our doctors must have been relieved to see our own passengers using their persuasion and common-sense so successfully. Then they saw the survivors required dry and warm clothing, so off they took them to their cabins to fit them out with everything they could do for them.
It was a most busy and stirring scene, our people never overdoing it and showing such excellent tact and sympathy, always ready to help and ready at any moment to do the right thing.
Our men gave up their cabins, and the ladies turned out of theirs—in many instances to double up with other ladies, so leaving their cabins for the use of the survivors.
The ladies were very soon self-appointed nursing sisters, getting some to lie abed, others to rest on deck, and listening to the heart-breaking tales, and doing all women can do to console and try to brighten them up.
As many of the second and third class people who came aboard were but poorly clothed, blankets and sheets were requisitioned, and many of the ladies started in to make clothes, work seeming a relief to their overwrought nerves. Some ladies—both survivors and our own—went amongst the third-class and nursed, bathed, and clothed and fed the children.
The cream of human kindness was surely given with a free hand those three days and a half, and through it all an almost unnatural quietness and lack of all excitement seemed to pervade the whole ship.
Our own doctors did all doctors could do: rest and sleep seemed to be the most desirable thing for those we had taken aboard, and so everything possible was done to induce sleep.
I was astonished and more than thankful and pleased when Doctor McGee, on Tuesday morning, reported to me all the survivors physically well. The doctor had hardly had a minute to himself—day or night—since we commenced embarking the people.
It seemed almost incredible that those hundreds of people who had undergone such trying experiences should not have developed some physical trouble. I knew it meant untiring attention on part of not only the medical staff but everyone, both our own officers and men, and our passengers also, in attending to the people immediately they arrived, and also the preparations made for them on board.
I hardly think it good taste to attempt to picture the sad, heart-rending appearance of those sorely tried people as it impressed us, but I can say how bravely they bore up under their agonizing trouble, and how we one and all felt that we must get them to New York safe and sound and do all we possibly could to keep them from further trouble or anxiety.
About four-thirty Monday afternoon, I received a wireless message from the Olympic asking for information. I gave the bare facts and also sent the official messages to the Cunard Company, etc.
The names of the survivors were then sent, and we continued in communication until about one o'clock on Tuesday morning, when we got out of range.
This was the first opportunity we had had of sending any news of any kind through to shore, as the other steamers we had been in communication with earlier in the day were all too far to the eastward.
It was also the last until Wednesday afternoon—and we afterward learned what an awful suspense the world was enduring those three days, as we had only been able to send the formal official messages of disaster, with approximate number saved, and the names of the first and second class passengers and crew.
Our wireless instrument was only a short-distance one, limited to one hundred and thirty miles—to about two hundred and twenty under most favorable circumstances; also we only had one operator.
It was most difficult to get the names even, and the continuous strain at the instrument, the conditions under which the operator was working, and the constant interruptions made it anything but a simple matter.
I must again refer to the quiet, subdued manner of everyone on board during our return to New York. We had several hours of fog on Tuesday morning early, and again it set in thick Wednesday morning and continued foggy, more or less, all the way to New York.
The dismal nerve-racking noise of the whistle blowing every half-minute must have been very distressing to the survivors especially, and one can quite understand their suspense and agony of mind in having gone through such a terrible experience on that fateful night, and then the other terror of the sea-fog coming to augment their mental suffering.
We had taken three bodies from the boats, and one man died during the forenoon of Monday, all four being buried at four in the afternoon, Protestant and Roman Catholic services being held over them according to their religion.
At half-past eight Monday night, in company with the purser and chief steward, I went all around the ship to inspect the arrangements made for everyone and found all that was possible to be done was either done or being done.
All the public rooms were converted into sleeping accommodations.
Smoking Room on the RMS Carpathia That Was Used as Sleeping Accommodations for the Titanic Survivors. Cunard Daily Bulletin (1908) p. 70. GGA Image ID # 1030fa8337
Fortunately, we had an ample supply of blankets, and all spare mattresses and pillows were served out, everyone having every attention given them that was at our command.
Many of our own stewards were self-appointed watchmen during the night, remaining at their posts in readiness to attend to anyone requiring assistance, and to give moral support—to the ladies especially, who always found someone ready to help or to cheer them.
In speaking of the loyalty and cheerful willingness of every member of the crew, officers and men, from the moment I gave the first order to our arrival in New York (and I know for a certainty that the doctor, pursers, and stewards—even the little bell-boys—had very little rest until the Friday night, that is, the day we left New York again), I must also mention the assistance given by the stewards of the Titanic who were saved; they all turned to and assisted in every way they could.
We heard of many great and noble deeds of self-sacrifice performed by those on the Titanic that night: tales of heroism and bravery of men and women, of men who had everything in this world to live for, men who were sending away in the boats those who were dearest on earth to them, those in the boats leaving on the ship those most dear to them in the whole world.
Men who had so much of this world's honors and riches yet at the great test they showed the world they had still greater gifts—the gift of high and noble self-sacrifice and self-command.
Standing out equal to each or any, and superbly noble, was that of a young girl.
A boat full of women and ready for lowering was found to be too full, and the order was given for someone to get out, as it was considered unsafe. A young lady—a girl, really—got up to leave the boat; then some of the others tried to persuade her to remain. “No,” she said, “you are married and have families; I'm not; it doesn't matter about me!”
This girl-woman, in the highest and noblest sense, got out of the boat and returned to the deck of the ship. Those in the boat were saved; the girl on deck went down with the ship.
From being in a position to be saved she deliberately returned to the uncertainty, and so gave her life willingly that others might have a better chance of being saved.
There were many incidents, almost too numerous to mention,-and incidents one does not care to recall, but one case might be cited, perhaps.
During dinner on Sunday evening, a wireless message was received by some of our passengers from relatives aboard the Titanic.
At four-thirty Monday morning, two of the relatives were brought to the state-room of our passengers, who were then in bed asleep and knew nothing of what was taking place, such was the irony of fate! The surprise—nay, stupefaction—of our passengers so suddenly roused to hear such news can well be imagined.
Wednesday afternoon about one o'clock we were in wireless communication with U. S. S. Chester; dense fog at the time, and through her sent in the remainder of the names of survivors, with corrections also.
We picked up Fire Island light vessel from its fog-horn about four o'clock Thursday afternoon, after which the weather cleared considerably. About six we stopped off Ambrose Channel lightship and picked up our pilot. It was at this time we got some idea of suspense and excitement in the world.
We were met by several powerful tug-boats chartered by the press and full of press men, anxious to get news. Naturally, I did not care to have any of the passengers harassed by reporters seeking information; so I decided not to allow anyone on board the Carpathia.
As we were going up Ambrose Channel, the weather changed completely, and a more dramatic ending to a tragic occurrence it would be hard to conceive.
It began to blow hard, the rain came down in torrents, and, to complete the finale, we had continuous vivid lightning, and heavy, rolling thunder. This weather continued until our arrival off the Cunard dock.
It was astonishing how quiet—apparently stolid—everyone aboard was in their loyalty. Seeing I refused to hold any communication with the press-boats, all the passengers seemed to take the same view, and to all inquiries for news or photographs, or even names, a tense silence was maintained throughout.
Whilst we were stopped off the dock, getting the Titanic's boats away from the ship, a pressman did manage to get on board. It was reported to me, and I had him brought on the bridge.
I explained my reasons for not allowing anyone on board, and that I could not allow the passengers to be interviewed and put him on his honor not to leave the bridge under certain penalties. I must say he was a gentleman.
What with the wind and rain, a pitch dark night, lightning and thunder, and the photographers taking flashlight pictures of the ship, and the explosion of the lights, it was a scene never to be effaced from one's memory.
There were dozens of tugs dodging about the ship, and the lowering away of the Titanic's boats (we could not get into dock until all the Titanic's boats were away from the ship, as seven of them were suspended in our day its and six were on the forecastle head, and so in the way of working the mooring ropes); and these boats leaving the ship in the blackness of the night with two of the rescued crew in each boat and some of the Titanic's officers in charge of them, it brought back to one's mind the manner in which these same boats were last lowered from that great and magnificent ship never to reach New York.
The Carpathia brought into New York Harbor on Thursday night, April 18, the seven hundred and five passengers rescued from the Titanic. The scene at the dock was one which vibrated between episodes of extreme joy and most profound sorrow. The merely curious were kept far away from the dock by the police, but the crush to welcome the survivors was itself difficult to control. Collier's Magazine (4 May 1912) p. 13. GGA Image ID # 1031c857fa.
It did indeed seem a fitting final scene to the most tragic and greatest marine disaster in the history of the sea. At nine twenty we got into dock, and the passengers were now free to land. And so they left us, after being aboard over three and a half days—landed to meet their dear ones and friends, and to feel once more their poignant grief surging uppermost in their minds.
As they landed, we all felt such a relief as only those experience who have for days been under a great strain —keyed up to the highest pitch of anxiety all the time. With such anxiety for the safety of so many people placed in my care under such heart-rending and tragic circumstances, on their landing I was thankful.
With the people landed, the work of the Carpathia was finished, so far as the part, we had taken in the catastrophe.
Of all the remarkable incidents in connection with the whole history of the short life of that magnificent creation of man, not the least was the name of that never-to-be-forgotten ship.
Looking in the dictionary, one finds there the definition of that ill-fated name, “TITANIC: a race of people vainly striving to overcome the forces of nature.” Could anything be more unfortunate or tragic in its significance?
The Leyland Line SS Californian
Designed as a Cargo Ship, the Californian had the capacity to carry 47 passengers and 55 crew members. Launched in 1901, she had a maximum speed of 12 knots. While the intial findings determined that Captain Lord of the Californian may not have done everything possible to help the Titanic, the authorities stopped short of lodging any charges. A 1992 MAIB report concluded that Captain Lord and his crew's actions "fell far short of what was needed." The report did concede that even if "proper action had been taken," the Californian could not have arrived on the scene until "well after the sinking." (Wikipedia)
 The Cunard steamer “Carpathia,” Captain Rostron, which has added another laurel to the Cunard Line by her opportune rescue of the “Titanic's" survivors, resumed her voyage to the Mediterranean on the 20th April 1912. There were no complaints from her passengers who met with such a long delay in their journey. They were happy to be enabled to render aid to the sufferers. The delay and return voyage was a substantial expense to the line, but the cause and results from their assistance to the Titanic survivors more than justify the loss. The Nautical Gazette, 8 May 1912, p. 14.
Eyewitness to the Rescue on the Carpathia - 1912
Titanic Survivors on Way to Rescue Ship Carpathia - 15 April 1912. © Bain News Service. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division (LC-USZ62-93570). GGA Image ID # 10d6191d55
The Cunard steamship Carpathia was on its way from New York to Europe when it was arrested in its course by the wireless calls for help from the Titanic. The story of how it abandoned its trip and returned at full speed to rescue the survivors from the Titanic is now known to the world.
One of the passengers on the Carpathia bound for London was Dr. Stanton Coit. A graduate of Amherst College in the class of 1879, he pursued his studies in philosophy at Columbia University in New York, and at the University of Berlin in Germany.
He was one of the first head workers in the New York University Settlement but has for many years lived in England, engaged in ethical and settlement work. He is now President of the West London Ethical Society and is the author of several popular books on ethical and humanitarian subjects.
Before he re-sailed for Europe on the Carpathia at four o'clock on last Friday afternoon, Dr. Coit wrote for The Outlook the following statement of the profound impression which he had received from a personal association of four days with the survivors of the tragedy.
It is, as he says, an impression, but those who read it will, we are sure, agree with us that it conveys the most important lesson which this tragedy has for the world, the lesson that the divine element in human nature is capable of rising, and does rise, superior to the most fearful shock of material things.— The Editors.
AT 5:30 Monday morning last our bedroom steward reported that the ship had stopped to rescue the passengers from the Titanic, which had sunk the night before. I hurried on deck, saw enormous icebergs about, and, looking over the railing, saw some fifteen rowboats approaching us, full chiefly of women.
These were drawn up on board and passed us by, most of them so stiff with cold and wet that they could not walk without being supported. Soon the tragic news spread among us that some fifteen hundred people had been drowned, and for the most part only women had been saved.
My first and lasting impression was the inward calm and self-poise—not self-control, for there was no effort or self-consciousness—on the part of those who had been saved. I said to one woman, whose dress, but not her face, betrayed that she was one of those who had undergone tragic experiences:
"You were on the Titanic?"
She answered, "Yes, and I saw my husband go down."
The only hysteria displayed was after the physicians had administered brandy to the half-frozen sufferers. The people struck me not as being stunned and crushed, but as lifted into an atmosphere of vision where self-centered suffering merges into some spiritual meaning.
Everyone reported a magnificent self-possession of the husbands when they parted from their wives. Many related the cases of the women who had to be forced from their husbands. Touching beyond words was the gratitude toward those of us who gave clothes and our staterooms.
More magnificent than the calm of me clear down was the unconsciousness of and personal horror, or need of pity, on the part of those who related how they had met their fate. One youth of seventeen told as if it had been an incident of everyday life, that he was hurled from the deck and that as he found himself sinking, he took a deep breath.
When he came up and found that he was again to be drawn under, he thought it would be well again to breathe deep. Upon rising the second time, he said, he saw the upturned bottom of a canvas boat. To this, he clung until he was rescued.
One woman in one boat insisted that they should row back and rescue eight men clinging to wreckage, although the oarsmen feared the suction of the great steamer might endanger their lives, and the eight were thus rescued. My feeling is that amid all this horror human nature never manifested itself as greater or tenderer. We were all one, not only with one another but with the cosmic being that for the time had seemed so cruel.
On board the Carpathia there was much discussion as to the possible culpability of the captain of the Titanic, but there was no judgment offered, and the feeling, I believe, grew upon us that the only wrongs were the insufficient number of lifeboats and the full speed of the Titanic, and that even this great sacrifice of innocent life and happiness would have been counted by each sufferer worth making if it would help to put an end in the future to the sacrifice to commercial interests of the infinitely precious life of those we love.
But I return again to what I say was my first and abiding impression—the self-poise that is so because the human soul is not self-centered.
One young woman with whom I talked was so calm and full of stories of the heroism and the suffering of others that I said:
"How fortunate that you lost no friend!" Then for the first time her face changed, and, with tears streaming down her cheeks, she said: "My brother, who was my only living relative, went down before my eyes. He scorned to disobey the discipline, so now I am alone."
My faith in the deeper meaning of things has been greatly strengthened by this extraordinary experience.
Some Survivors of the Titanic Disaster - 1912
Survivors of the RMS Titanic Disaster in England. Photographs by S. and G. News Illustrations, F. D. Casey, and Topical. The Illustrated London News (18 May 1912) p. 736. GGA IImage ID # 101d9a8fcf
ON THIS SIDE: SURVIVORS OF THE “TITANIC” DISASTER IN ENGLAND
We give here portraits of a few of those who had the good fortune to survive the "Titanic" wreck although quite a number of them, the men more particularly, did not leave the sinking vessel in her boats, but were picked up later from the water.
- Mr. G. Pregnall. Greaser. Picked up after being in the water an hour and a-half and had his feet and hands frostbitten.
- Quartermaster W. Wynn. Had charge of No. 9 Lifeboat, containing 42 women, 3 stewards, 3 sailors, and 2 men passengers. Was in the lifeboat for 6 ½ hours with only matches as lights.
- Mr. W. Major. Fireman, was in the last boat to leave the "Titanic.”
- Mr. Joughin. Chief baker. Drifted for nearly 3 hours, and then found place on a raft which saved 34. This after he had been pushed off one side of the raft as it was so full.
- Mr. Threlfall. Leading Stoker and Mr. McGough. The former has described the closing of the water-tight doors, and how Captain Smith, at the last, gave the command "Every man for himself.” The latter has said that no one was killed by the collision. He saw Captain Smith go down.
- Mr. H. Senior. A stoker.
- Mr. F. Prentice, Mr. E. Brown and Mr. W. Lucas, a Saloon Steward. Mr. Prentice, a storekeeper, has said that for a time no one anticipated any real danger. He let himself drop into the sea at the last, taking with him a bottle of brandy, which, after he had been picked up, was thrown away, as it was feared that if any hysterical person in the boat touched it, the result might be bad. Mr. Brown was in the water for three hours.
- Group of Stewards. Waiting for Their Statements to Be Taken after Their Arrival on the "Lapland": Stewards, Saved from the "Titanic." outside a Waiting Room at Plymouth Docks.
- Stewardesses. Picked up by the "Carpathia": Surviving Stewardesses of the "Titanic."
- Stewardess and Turkish Bath Manageress. Saved by the "Carpathia": A "Titanic" Stewardess and (On the Right) Mrs. Slocumbe, Turkish Bath Manageress of the Vessel.
Survivors of the RMS Titanic Disaster in New York. Photographs by Levick, S. and G., Thompson, and L.N.A. The Illustrated London News (18 May 1912) p. 750. GGA Image ID # 101de2f426
ON THE OTHER SIDE: "TITANIC” DISASTER SURVIVORS IN NEW YORK
- The Wireless Operator Who Received the "Titanic's" Distress Signals Aboard the "Carpathia”. Mr. Cottam, who received the "Titanic's" wireless call for help, and so conveyed to the "Carpathia's" captain the news which sent that vessel speeding to the rescue, gave important evidence, and said the first message received from the White Star liner was "Come at once. Have struck berg. This C.Q.D."
- Before Senator Smith, in the Earlier Stages of the Senatorial Inquiry: The Commission Listening to \Vitnesses in the Ball~Room of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, New York. (1. Mr. Cottam, wireless operator of the "Carpathia": 2. Signor Marconi; 3. Representative Hughes: 4. Mr. Bruce Ismay: 5. Senator Smith: 6. Mr. Franklin)
- Reported to Have Dealt Effectively with a Man Who Tried to Steal the First Operator's Life-Belt: Mr. Harold Bride, of the "Titanic" Mr. Bride's story of how He dealt with a man who tried to steal the life-belt of Phillips, the first wireless operator of the "Titanic" has been widely reported. Phillips died from exposure.
- Carried Ashore with Feet Crushed and Frostbitten: Mr. Harold Bride, Second Wireless Operator of the "Titanic" Leaving the "Carpathia." Mr. Bride, who was washed off the liner with a collapsible boat and picked up, had his feet badly crushed and frostbitten. He could only just climb up the “Carpathia's" rope-ladder, and he was carried ashore at New York. He was taken to the Senatorial Investigation in an invalid chair.
- Mystery-Children for a While. For a time, there was a mystery about two of the children saved, for they did not know their names. They have since been found to be Lolo (or Michael) and Momon (or Edmond) Navratil, of Nice.
- On Their Way to a Meeting of the Senatorial Commission: Mr. P. A. S. Franklin, Vice-President of the International Mercantile Marine Corporation, Who Believed the "Titanic" Unsinkable; And Mr. J. Bruce Ismay, Managing Director of the White Star Line, a Survivor.
- "The Funeral Ship": The Cable-Ship "Mackay-Bennett," Which Went to the Scene of the Disaster to Recover Bodies from the Water. On April 25, the “Mackay-Bennett" wired that she had recovered 205 bodies and was making for Halifax, Nova Scotia.
- Waiting to See the Survivors of the Great Disaster: The Crowd outside the Cunard Docks in New York for the Arrival of the "Carpathia." The "Carpathia" arrived at New York with the 705 survivors, on April 18.
Joseph Bruce Ismay, Managing Director of White Star Line
Mr. Joseph Bruce Ismay, Managing Director, White Star Line. Drawn by A. C. Michael. The Illustrated London News (11 May 1912) p. 701. GGA Image ID # 101d335631
Chief Witness at the Senatorial Inquiry: The White Star Chairman.
Saved from the " Titanic," on Which He Was a Passenger: Mr. Joseph Bruce Ismay, Managing Director of the White Star Line and President of the International Mercantile Marine Company.
The fact that Mr. Bruce Ismay, Chairman and Managing Director of the White Star Line was one of the passengers saved from the "Titanic," has given the American newspapers, in particular, much "copy" and there seems no doubt whatever that many of them have let their desire for sensation overwhelm both their discretion and their accuracy.
Of his escape, Mr. Ismay is reported to have aid, in reply to a question as to whether there were any women and children on deck when he got into a life-boat: "What kind of man do you think I am?
Certainly, there were no woman and children around. I thought they had all been saved. I think that it was the last boat that was lowered that I went into. . . My conscience is clear."
Mr. William E. Carter has substantiated Mr. lsmay’s statements, saying: " Mr. Ismay and myself and several officers walked up and down the deck, crying “Are there any more women?”
We called for several minutes. and there was no answer. . . . Mr. Ismay called again, and getting no reply, we embarked. . . . I can only say that Mr. Ismay entered the boat only after he saw that there were no more women on deck.”
Mr. Ismay, who was educated at Elstree and Harrow, was born at Liverpool on December 12, 1862.
Harold Bride - Titanic Wireless Operator
A Titanic wireless operator, Harold Bride, being carried ashore from Carpathia. He jumped into the sea and was rescued, but his feet were badly frozen. Sinking of the Titanic (1912) p. 49. GGA Image ID # 102d3cbe8e
One of the two wireless operators on the “Titanic,” pictured as he was carried ashore from the “Carpathia,” One of the last men to leave the ship, he jumped into the sea and floated until rescued. His feet were frozen when he was taken into a lifeboat, and they became wedged between the slats of the boat, adding to his injury. Yet on board the “Carpathia” he helped send many wireless messages. “Jack" Phillips, the “Titanic’s” chief wireless operator, perished.
The Story of the "Titanic" Wireless
The Experiences of Harold Bride, Surviving Member of the Ill-Fated "Titanic" Wireless Staff.
The Carpathia, the Cunard liner carrying the survivors from the wreck of the Titanic reached New York on the evening of April 18. The Titanic, after collision with an iceberg, had foundered on the morning of Monday, April 15, with a loss of 1,595 persons. Just 745 were rescued, including 210 of the officers and crew of the stricken ship.
To the credit of the wireless and the heroes manipulating the apparatus much must be written down. The "C. Q. D." and "S. O. S." flashed from the Titanic was caught up by the operator of the Carpathia, outward bound for Naples.
Captain Rostron immediately put about and after steaming all night under forced pressure arrived in time to pick up the boats, but not until the pride of the White Star Line had foundered.
When the Carpathia reached New York, William Marconi, to whose genius much of the significant development in wireless is due, was the guest in New York of John Bottomley, manager of the American Marconi Company. In company with a representative of the New York Times, Mr. Marconi visited the Carpathia upon its arrival at New York, and to them, Harold Bride, the surviving member of the wireless staff of the Titanic, related his thrilling experience, which appeared in the Times.
"In the first place," said Bride, "the public should not blame anybody because more wireless messages about the disaster to the Titanic did not reach the shore from the Carpathia.
At that time, I positively refused to send press dispatches because of the sheer bulk of personal messages with touching words of grief was so vast. The wireless operators aboard the Chester got all they asked for.
"When I was dragged aboard the Carpathia, I went to the hospital at first. I stayed there for ten hours. Then somebody brought word that the Carpathia's wireless operator was 'getting queer' from work.
"They asked me if I could go up and help. I could not walk. Both my feet were broken or something, I don't know what. I went up on crutches with somebody helping me.
"I took the key, and I never left the wireless cabin after that. Our meals were brought to us. We kept the wireless working all the time.
"To begin at the beginning, I joined the Titanic at Belfast. I was born at Nunhead, England, 22 years ago, and joined the Marconi forces last July. I first worked on the Haverford, and then on the Lusitania. I joined the Titanic at Belfast.
"I didn't have much to do aboard the Titanic except to relieve Phillips from midnight until some time in the morning when he should be through sleeping.
On the night of the accident, I was not sending but was asleep. I was due to be up and relieve Phillips earlier than usual. And that reminds me—if it hadn't been for a lucky thing, we never could have sent any call for help.
"The lucky thing was that the wireless broke down early enough for us to fix it before the accident. We noticed something wrong on Sunday and Phillips, and I worked seven hours to find it. We found a 'secretary' burned out, at last, and repaired it just a few hours before the iceberg was struck."
Bride told of waking to relieve Phillips, chief operator, who had been standing watch, when Captain Smith told them to get ready to send the call for assistance, how at first they joked over the matter while flashing out the international call; how the confusion increased; how the ship commenced to settle, and the call became more insistent. He told of the Carpathia taking them up and of its putting about and heading for their location.
"Our Captain had left us at this time, and Phillips told me to run and tell him what the Carpathia had answered. I did so, and I went through an awful mass of people to his cabin. The decks were full of scrambling men and women. I saw no fighting, but I heard tell of it.
"I came back and heard Phillips giving the Carpathia fuller directions. Phillips told me to put on my clothes. Until that moment I forgot that I was not dressed.
"I went to my cabin and dressed. I brought an overcoat to Phillips. It was frigid. I slipped the overcoat upon him while he worked.
"Every few minutes Phillips would send me to the Captain with little messages. They were merely telling how the Carpathia was coming our way and gave her speed.
"I noticed as I came back from one trip that they were putting off women and children in lifeboats. I noticed that the list forward was increasing.
"Phillips told me the wireless was growing weaker. The Captain came and told us our engine rooms were taking water and that the dynamos might not last much longer. We sent that word to the Carpathia.
"I went out on the deck and looked around. The water was pretty close up to the boat deck. There was a great scramble aft, and how poor Phillips worked through it, I don't know.
"He was a brave man. I learned to love him that night, and I suddenly felt for him a great reverence to see him standing there sticking to his work while everybody else was racing about. I will never live to forget the work of Phillips for the last awful fifteen minutes.
"Then came the Captain's voice: 'Men, you have done your full duty. You can do *io more. Abandon your cabin. Now it's every man for himself. You look out for yourselves. I release you. That's the way of it at this kind of time. Every man for himself.'
"I looked out. The boat deck was awash. Phillips clung on sending and sending. He clung on for about ten minutes or maybe fifteen minutes after the Captain had released him. The water was then coming into our cabin."
A wave carried away the collapsible boat he had helped to unlimber, and as it swept past him, Bride grabbed an oarlock and was dragged along. He was in this boat when it overturned, and then he and his companions were picked up by another—a full lifeboat.
His feet were jammed under a stanchion, smashed and frozen. Finally, the Carpathia came up, and they were dragged aboard. One man was dead. It was Phillips. Worn out by his vigil, he had been washed off the ship, picked up, and died from exposure as help arrived.
"I felt somebody at my feet and felt the warmth of a jolt of liquor. Somebody got me under the arms. Then I was hustled down below to the hospital.
"After that, I never was out of the wireless room, so [ don't know what happened among the passengers. I just worked the wireless. The splutter never died down. I knew it soothed the hurt and felt like a tie to the world of friends and home.
"How could I then take news queries? Sometimes I let a newspaper ask a question and get a long string of stuff asking for full particulars about everything. Whenever I started to take such a message I thought of the poor people waiting for their messages to go— hoping for answers to them.
"The way the band kept playing was a noble thing. I heard it first while still, we were working wireless when there was a ragtime tune for us, and the last I saw of the band, when I was floating out in the sea with my life belt on, it was still on deck playing 'Autumn.' How they ever did it, I cannot imagine.
"That and the way Phillips kept sending after the Captain told him his life was his own, and to look out for himself, are two things that stand out in my mind over all the rest."
The Titanic Disaster
Wireless telegraphers who figured in this greatest of all maritime disasters on Sunday night, April 14, nobly upheld the traditions of a half-century in the telegraph craft, recorded in wars, pestilences, and disasters on land and sea. One of these, John G. Phillips, the senior operator on the Titanic, after flashing the thrilling distress calls of the sea, "CQD" and "SOS," remained at his key until the icy waters of the ocean were creeping about his legs.
He was there in his wireless cabin working heroically to save the lives of all, while J. Bruce Ismay, president of the International Mercantile Marine Co., the owners of the White Star Line, was sneaking off to safety in a boat loaded with women and children. He was there ten to fifteen minutes after. Captain Smith had released the men in these words:
"Men, you have done your duty. You can do no more. Abandon your cabin. Now it's every man for himself. You look out for yourselves; I release you."
When the Titanic went down Phillips somehow managed to get on a raft but died from exposure and cold in those agonizing hours of suffering endured by the survivors until the arrival of the Carpathia.
Harold Bride was the assistant wireless operator and survived the disaster. He told his story in the New York Times of April 19. Bride, too, remained until the last, carrying messages from Phillips to the captain and assisting in getting off the lifeboats. He and Phillips seem to have gotten on the same raft.
Mr. Bride was washed off the steamer and clambered onto a life raft. He was crippled by a man who sat on his legs for a long time. "I did not have the heart to ask the man to move," said Bride. "I didn't care what happened. I just lay and gasped when I could.
At last, the Carpathia was alongside, and the people were being taken up a rope ladder. Our boat drew near, and one by one the men were taken off of it. One man was dead. I passed him and went up to the ladder, although my feet pained terribly. The dead man was Phillips."
Mr. Bride was then placed in the hospital of the Carpathia where he remained until nearly night. He was then told that H. T. Cottam, the Marconi operator on the Carpathia was getting "queer" from the long time he had been on duty and the exciting events Mr. Cottam had passed through and asked if he could not relieve him.
Cottam had been on continuous duty from early Sunday morning until Monday evening and was thoroughly exhausted. He had been up until 2:30 am the previous night and until 3 am the night before that. "I had planned to get to bed early that (Sunday) night, and it was only a streak of luck that I got the message at all."
Mr. Bride then took charge of the wireless cabin on the Carpathia and never left the room until the boat reached New York. He was at the key while the U. S. scout ship Chester was trying to establish communication by the direction of the president of the United States.
Mr. Bride lays the inability of the USS Chester to get a satisfactory response to the incompetence of the U. S. navy operators. "The wireless operators on the Chester got all they asked for.
They were wretched operators. They knew American Morse but not Continental Morse sufficiently to be worthwhile. They taxed our endurance to the limit. I had to cut them out, at last, they were so insufferably slow and went ahead with our messages of grief to relatives.
"If he had been a decent operator," said Bride, evidently referring to the man he was working with, "I could have worked with him longer, but he got so terribly on my nerves with his insufferable incompetence."
A committee of the United States Senate called both Bride and Cottam before it in an endeavor to explain the so-called "bottling up" of information. From the facts developed it is apparent that Cottam and Bride were acting directly under the instructions of the Marconi Company.
The committee has not yet made its report but will unquestionably recommend a drastic change in existing wireless conditions—among other things the elimination of amateur wireless interference.
J. G. Phillips, the senior wireless operator on the Titanic who lost his life, was an Englishman 24 years of age. He had been in the employ of the Marconi Company as an operator for about five years and went to the new vessel from the steamship Oceanic.
Mr. Phillips' wireless service had taken him into many parts of the world. He was formerly the Marconi man on Mr. James Gordon Bennett's yacht. Entering the trans-Atlantic service, he was assigned to the Oceanic. Before going on the Bennett yacht, Mr. Phillips had served on a Peninsular and Oriental steamship running to the Orient.
Referring to Phillip's work on the Titanic during the exciting moments following the fatal collision with the iceberg, the New York Times says: "The wireless operator seemed absolutely cool and clear-headed, his sending throughout being steady and perfectly formed, and the judgment used by him was of the best." Phillips was a native of Godalming, England, and learned telegraphy in Godalming postoffice. In March 1906, he joined the Marconi School at Liverpool and became one of the most expert wireless operators.
Mr. Harold Bride, the second wireless operator on the ill-fated steamer, is 22 years of age and was born at Nunhead, England. He joined the Marconi service in July 1911, working first on the liner Haverford and afterward going to the Lusitania of the Cunard Line.
He joined the Titanic at Belfast. Ireland, when she left her builders' hands, to sail from Southampton on her first trip to New York, a voyage she never finished. On arriving at New York on the Carpathia, he was carried ashore by two men on account of injuries to his legs and feet during his trying experience on the life raft.
Harold Thomas Cottam, the wireless operator on the Carpathia, was born in Nottinghamshire, England 21 years ago. At the age of 17, he learned telegraphy in Clapham, London, and receive a diploma in eleven months. He has worked on several steamers, and this eventful trip on the Carpathia was his first on that boat.
Berger Introduces Wireless Ownership Bill.—That the Titanic disaster has demonstrated the need for government-owned wireless is the belief of Victor Berger, who has introduced a bill in the house providing for the nationalization of radio-telegraphic systems.
Berger declares that practically all of the chaos and demoralization in the handling of wireless which was evidenced in the recent disaster would not have occurred had these systems been absolutely under the control of the Federal government.
In support of his bill, Berger issued a statement to the press in which he points out that Commissioner Eugene T. Chamberlain, of the Bureau of Navigation, and Lieut. D. W. Todd, of the Navy Coast Signal Service, has recently gone on record in favor of government ownership of wireless.
The bill provides for the appointment of a commission of three experts to appraise the real value of the wireless property and inventions and report the same to the secretary of the Department of Commerce and Labor. Congress is then to make the necessary appropriation for the purchase of these properties.
It is also provided in this measure that a Bureau of Wireless Telegraphs be created, within and subordinate to the Department of Commerce and Labor.
Require Two Operators.—The Senate has passed a bill requiring two or more wireless operators on every ocean-going vessel carrying 100 people, whether passengers or crew, an operator to be on duty at all times, and further requiring that the wireless apparatus be capable of transmitting and receiving messages from a radius of at least 100 miles. The bill was passed without discussion or a dissenting vote and is to go into effect on July 1, 1912.
For Safety of Life at Sea.—Senator Ashurst of Arizona has introduced a bill which requires steamships and steam vessels leaving ports of the United States to provide adequate life-saving apparatus and safeguards against accidents.
Helen Churchill Candee - Sealed Orders - 1912
Helen Churchill Candee in 1901. Photo from Personal Collection of Randy Bryan Bigham. GGA Image ID # 101e5a4a65
Mrs. Candee was a passenger on the Titanic, returning to America after a winter of literary work abroad. She has written impersonally a narrative so vivid that the imagination cannot escape from it.
WHEN all the lands were thrilling with the blossoming month of shower and sun, three widely differing craft crept out upon the sea. One sailed from the New World's city of towers, plowing east.
Another coquetted with three near ports of Europe and then sailed west. The third slipped down unnoticed from the glacial north.
The first was a little ship, and modestly, decorously glided down the bay and took her place on the ocean highway.
But across, on the other side of the world, the triumph of shipbuilding was starting her maiden trip—challenging the sea, men said; but a challenge is given by those who have rivals. The mammoth had none.
She was the largest ship man had ever made; in her construction and in her finish, from keel to topmast, she was the ultimate note of talent and skill and invention. Triumphant was the word that best told her imperial progress.
And the third, the sinister craft, set out from the north with an insolent indifference that transcended even the magnificence of the greatest ship afloat. And to all three of these craft the power that is greater than man gave sealed orders.
All three, though they knew it not, were bound for the same unmarkable spot on the shifting surface of the deep.
The titan's departure was the one man noticed for power and riches cannot be obscure. Three days out the ship knew she was Queen of the Seas. Not only was she the largest, the most beautiful, but she was hour by hour discovering herself a possible fleetest. And that way came destruction.
THERE had been delays in detaching from the shore; at one port a too close touch with another ship, a stop of hours at another for heavy bags of mail. But when free of the land, at last on the high sea, day followed day with the weather in which ships make time.
When the run went on the board it astonished, and there was a light laugh of pleasure from smoking room, deck, and lounge. Each man felt it a credit to himself.
The ship was to make the record trial run. The oldest captain of the fleet had had the crowning and final honor of his sea life in his assignment. The head man of the line was on board. From stoke hole to bridge the men had been picked with care from among their fellows on lesser boats, that the crew might be worthy of their trust.
It almost seemed that passengers had been picked too. The richest man was there, and he who by striving had nearly reached him. About the decks strolled the artist of renown and the great writer, the man of theatrical success, the giant in the world of trade, the aid of a nation's President, the prettiest woman, the woman who represented social prominence, the indispensable American girl, presidents of railways, aristocrats of Europe—all these to add to the glory of the first sea-crossing of the biggest ship.
Two days to try her wings, to prove her powers, and she was off for the saving of time. And the passenger for whom the keel had been laid and the magic wrought looked over the side at the flying water and laughed as a child.
A blond woman on the steerage deck stands like a Viking’s daughter, facing the wind. Her hair is golden bright in the sun, her long lines of grace show bold where the wind presses hard their draping. Around her is her little brood shouting and leaping in the wild free air.
All have their faces set to the new Land of Possibility, whither the ship is taking them smooth and fleet, day, and night. Over the child asleep in her arms the woman's wide eyes are directed forward with the look of the emigrant, the look of courage which has conquered fate since the days of Columbus and the colonies.
“Let us wander over the ship and see it all,”
Donnybrook Fair. said she of the suite deluxe to him of the bachelor's cabin. So they mounted to the hurricane deck and gazed across to the other world of the second class and wondered at its luxury, and further across to the waves and wondered at their clemency.
A DOOR along the starboard side was open, clicking sounds within and a cheery English voice. “Come in, come right in, and try your strength,” cried the exhibitor of this particular booth in “Have a race with me on the wheel, sir, while the lady takes a trot in the saddle.
Or, here is a camel for you, sir—good for the liver.” His own could not have needed it, so rubicund and clean of tint was he, this powerful five feet-five of white flannels. He bounded about the place, pulling weights with a smooth finish, slipping into a sliding seat and begging him to take the other boat and beat him with a Cambridge stroke. He was up again like a cat and gave a hard hand to the lady's foot to mount her into the saddle and to turn on the appliance for the trot.
And so they played an hour with the toys in this wonderful retreat, never thinking of the sweet blue waters that lay so far away.
“I expect you'll be having a plunge in the pool after all this exercise, sir,” said the white flannels. “But I'll see you both in the morning for another go with the wheel and the oars.”
It was getting cold, biting cold, the cold that makes you glad to be alive, with air and water clear and clean as young blue eyes. The acres of decks were cleared of loungers, even of those whose chairs were placed well behind the plate glass weather screen. It was a time for activity, and a scattered parade was on.
“You are flirting with the prettiest girl,” she accused, laughing.
“Man is omnivorous,” he admitted, laughing back.
“One of the women I most admire is this one,” he signified an elderly figure, soberly dressed, walking arm in arm with her husband. With no parleying you knew they were people who had gained and accepted the sweets of success without intoxication. Sobriety and modesty were theirs; strength and calm showed on their faces.
“They, too, have been using one of the ship's appliances. They have just finished a Marconi talk with their son, whose east-bound ship is talking with ours.”
“I see the glow on their faces—the same parent glow of the woman on the steerage deck. And there it is again—that handsome woman over there—see, it is for her son who is beside her with the adorable young wife. I have noticed them all the way over.”
THEN they went inside to escape the cold sparkling in the water and snapping in the air. And snugly in a green bay of the saloon, a bay made of velvet and wood in furniture shapes, they settled down before a glowing grate as one settles down before the home fire after a frosty afternoon ride over the fields.
And servants brought tea and toast, and a general feeling of well-being brought content. The old couple came in and settled nearby; the lady with the fine son drifted in and showed her pride to the world, her loving care to him.
The quiet hour was on, the hour when the sun grows sleepy.
At dinner, two hours later, the scene might have been in London or New York, with the men in evening dress, the women shining in pale satins and clinging gauze. The prettiest girl even wore a glittering frock of dancing length, with silver fringe around her dainty white satin feet.
And after dinner there was coffee served to all at little tables around the great general lounging place, for here the orchestra played. Some said it was poor on its Wagner work; others said the violin was weak. But that was for conversation's sake, for nothing on board was more popular than the orchestra.
You could see that by the way everyone refused to leave it. And everyone asked of it some favorite bit. The prettiest girl asked for dance music, and clicked her satin heels and swayed her adolescent arms to the rhythm.
He of the Two who had walked the deck asked for Dvorak, while she asked for Puccini, and both got their liking, for the orchestra was adroit and willing.
At eleven, folk drifted off to their big cabins, with happy see-you-in-the-mornings, until a group formed itself alone, and the only sounds the musicians made were those of instruments being shut in their velvet beds.
The Two had all their friends about them. It was early yet. There was the restaurant above, a more cozy place for a little crowd—and things to drink were there on the end of a word of order.
So they all strayed easily up the regal stairway—refusing this time the lift—and arrived at the littlest place where one might eat and took a table large enough for the six. The only other table was made gay by the party of a President's aid.
“But how cold it is, how arctic" and she of the Two drew close her scarf.
“Something hot, then,” said he to the waiter, and the steam savored of Scotch and lemons.
How gay they were, these six. The talkative man told stories, the sensitive man glowed and laughed, the two modest Irishmen forgot to be suppressed, the facile Norseman cracked American jokes, the cosmopolitan Englishman expanded, and the lady felt divinely flattered to be in such company.
HALF-PAST eleven came. Even the last parties were breaking up, and only a handful of men strayed ladyless into the smoking room and fell to cards or reminiscence. Except for these and the night watch, the ship's company had settled down for another night of motionless repose.
Silence and emptiness were all the illumination shone on in the great public room and corridors of the great vessel. And in this soft silence the titan was flying like an arrow on the trackless sea whither the sealed orders were sending her.
But she was not the first to arrive at the tryst. Down from the silent north that other sinister craft had slipped into her destined place. No wireless equipment, no port and starboard lights, no lines of cabins showing bright, no compass, no captain. But the power that is greater than man has no need of man's methods.
The white craft stretched its low, uneven length over miles of smoothest sea, shooting up peaks of dazzling white in lieu of sails, and her escort was the sleek, black seal and the white-winged gull.
With implacable patience the white craft awaited the coming of the greatest ship in the world, the virgin cleanly running to the unknown bridal across the starlit sea.
It was nearly midnight when she shuddered with horror in the embrace of the northern ice. Twice, from bow to stern, she shook with mighty endeavor to crush beneath her the assailant.
And it seemed she had succeeded. A great calm at once fell upon the ship, such a calm as falls in port, and solitude reigned along the corridors and the wide halls.
A head or two were thrust from cabin doors but seeing nothing went back to bed. Stewards were reassuring, gay, and idle. In the smoking-room men went on bidding for the trump.
But the Two went for a walk about in the keen cold air of the decks, “because I was startled.” she apologized.
They mounted to the hurricane deck and stood by the closed door of the gymnast's chamber. They looked up at the stream, violently roaring, of steam escaping by the mammoth funnels.
“It is all right,” he said: “that is always a precaution when machinery stops.”
“But why are not the other engines doing the same?” He could not answer; he did not know the bottom had been torn from the ship beneath him.
They walked aft and looked down where the mother and children of the steerage had been playing, and where the prosperous second-class passengers had reveled in their comforts. Solitude, desertion. Not a human being in sight.
“There is a list to starboard,” said she.
HE WAS grimly silent. They went forward to make sure. There the list was worse. The forward deck below them leaned as a man leans with a sword in his living side.
On the deck below they found the same desertion as everywhere, the deck where all the chairs were spread, where folk displayed themselves and criticized others.
The Two seemed all the people in the world, and because of the cold and because each had hard sorrow, although they walked about for warmth of body, they cracked jokes for warmth of heart.
“If I had had a wireless—if I knew that my child was no longer living”—she left him to imagine the rest.
“I don't mind going either,” he said, grim for for a moment.
“Nevertheless,” she laughed, “I'd fight death to the last if it came. I'd be Mrs. Lecks and put on black stockings to scare sharks. Why are we so calm?”
“We are Anglo-Saxons,” said he.
The cold drove them into the big, green velvet room with its glowing grate, empty in its blaze of light.
A young man—he of the adoring mother and adorable wife—sprang gayly across the wide floor holding cuplike hands together. “Ice " he laughed. “Have some iceberg. Take a piece! That's what happened. We struck an iceberg. This is what she left on the deck.”
HE FLEW away as gay as a boy. She took the bit, wondering in awe, and he dashed it from her and chafed the cold small hand until it glowed again, nor released it then, but turned the chafing to a caress, nor ever let the hand go. And in that minute, they looked into each other's faces, acknowledged the presence of death, and accepted it. But neither spoke a word.
After that people began to come about, some dressed, some not, none alarmed, all quiet and curious to learn the cause of the disturbance. They took the seats about the companion way and talked low.
Women still in sweeping dinner gowns drew wraps about them as the deck door opened. People talked quietly in conventional groups, and all waited, waited, nor knew for what they delayed. The Two went again outside. The list had terribly increased as they viewed it from the deserted deck.
“Listen" said she, holding his arm. “That noise over our heads—it is the sound of lifeboats being put out.”
His answer was to force her to the scene above.
Scarce a passenger, but the port side filled with a growing crowd of wiry men, black alike in face and dress, in order crowded about the strong, quiet figure of the captain.
The firemen had been ordered up from the engine rooms and the black crew huddled together awaiting the order to man the lifeboats, the order that would put life again into their hands, for they knew, these hard-faced toilers, that only those little boats would save from death. She smiled on them as she walked through the iron crew, and they looked, startled, at the smile, thinking it a lack of wit, not excess of courage.
But he was uneasy, and again took her down stairs and within, in search of less grim scenes.
Different, but was it less grim? Up the sweep of the regal stairway was advancing a solid procession of all the ship's passengers, wordless, orderly, quiet, and only the dress told of the tragedy.
On every man and every woman's body was tied the sinister emblem of death at sea, and each one walked with his life-clutching pack to await the coming horrors. It was a fancy-dress ball in Dante's Hell.
Another glance between the Two. He caught her by the arm and forced her to a cabin, threw over her shoulders the white and bulky pack, saw that she was warmly wrapped, seized a rug, and said briefly : “Come.”
They passed those who huddled within the ship and mounted again to the topmost deck. A line of boats swung on davits at deck level. The black cloud of firemen still waited in order the command to jump in, faces set. The order came on the clear, cold air. “Down below, men. Every one of you, down below!”
And without a sound they wittingly turned from life and went to death, no protest, no murmur, no resistance, a band of unknown heroes.
And then it was that the captain ordered: “Put the women in the boats. No men are to go.” He spoke hard words in a quiet voice, but none might disobey.
Now for tragedy; all the horrors of separation had begun.
“See, captain, my arm is broken. My husband must go with me or I am helpless.”
“No men allowed in the boats, madam,” and the couple turned away.
“I am not young, and need my son; may he not come?”
And the young man in gay courage gave his mother and wife to the care of the swinging boat.
Others got in; the captain, who knew he was living his last hour, stopped a number, then augmented it, then ordered the little craft lowered, and twenty-five silent women descended nearly a hundred feet, filled with hope, sure that those on board were better off than they, sure that all would be reunited in an hour either on the big ship they had just left, or on that other vessel whose far white light just showed over the port quarter.
THE Marconi man was hard at work, the second biggest ship was in near waters, and hope was high.
Terrible was the artillery of the rockets. The great ship seemed shrieking in despair. Before that was a dignity of self-confidence, but in that wild cry to heaven went up all the horror of death.
Then it was the women already in the lifeboats agonized over what love had coerced them into doing. What was life but love, and what was life without loved ones? The horrors of the discovery can never be told. Women of courage had been tricked by noble heroes into saving their own lives.
It was an easy ruse—get into the boats, obey because it helps me; we will soon be together again. Do it for my sake, or the children's. By these sophistries of love were the women put into the boats at a time and in a place where theirs seemed the harder part to do.
But when by endless lowering each boat reached the water the women knew. They saw the salt flow sloping over the lighted ports of the third deck, and knew the vessel was already sunken thirty or forty feet into oblivion.
“Keep all the boats together and pull away from the vessel,” the captain has said in a strong, low voice. Why pull away? Because presently the great palace of light would be following the lead of her diving bow, and in the final plunge would draw everything after her.
ON THE ship the bravely competent still loaded boats with protesting women and wailing children.
“Take her from me; take her "" cried the men from whom wives refused to part, and it was done.
In a corner against the cabin stood the aged couple, arm in arm, calmly resolute. “Come into this boat,” the rescuers said to her. “I stay with my husband,” she said simply. It was not the frantic protest of the younger women, but the firm will of the seasoned soul. And in death these two were not divided.
What can one whose profession is to amuse do in time of tragedy? They, too, have a part in the great play of courage. Over the crowds, quiet, in active, anguished, there flowed a flood of music, such music as never before was heard—a gay march, a two-step, light operatic airs, all freighted with a burden of love, that love which lays down its life for a friend.
The ship orchestra was sending out courage from man to man in its peculiar expression, cheering others while itself faced death.
Men of courage and resource who had been loading and lowering boats from the very first came at last to a stop. The last boat was ready for the launching. Two who had held together in the work went a deck below to see if any stray women were there unrescued. All was brilliant desolation.
The lights were beginning to burn low, water—soft, noiseless water—was creeping up the slanting deck so fast that in another minute they would have been imprisoned under the deck's roof. They leaped to the railing and mounted it.
At that moment the last boat was floating just before them, three yards away, with vacant room in the bow. Surely, they had the right! They looked in each other's faces to ask the question, and each nodded to the other yes. They leaped the space and caught the sides of the boat, the last to leave the ship by boat, almost the only rescuers who were saved.
THE hundreds that were left drew closer. The beaten bow was hidden under water, the only uncovered space of deck sloped high toward the stern, and on this diminished point huddled this close pack and waited death with the transcendent courage and order and quiet that had been theirs for the horrible two hours.
And over them trembled the last strains of the orchestra's message: “Autumn” first, and then “Nearer, my God, to Thee.”
Down on the sea the little lifeboats were following the captain's orders to pull away from the ship in water as calm, as full of reflected stars as the pool in a Moorish garden. All waited the end, transfixed with horror. Window after window of the ship became dark as the water covered in the sloping, slow descent: less and less became the stern space where the hushed crowd waited.
At the last, the end of the world. A smooth, slow chute. Life went out on the big ship.
THE death. call of sixteen hundred units of divine selflessness spread its volume over the waters as a single cry to God. There was no shriek nor wail nor frantic shout. Instead, a heavy moan as of one being from whom final agony forces a single sound.
And with this human protest against stifling arctic waters was a muffled sound from within, the groan of the dying ship, as if she, too, were sensate and joined her agony with man's.
The mass in the dark waters was throwing hither and thither, and one or two caught rafts and boats. In the human instinct to preserve life, one man had drawn himself upon a raft.
He was white-haired, but short and strong, and had much to live for. At last the raft had rescued so many she endangered all, and then began the horrid task of fighting off the swimmers.
Those who looked for the gray beard on the raft saw him no more. Seeing the press, he had ceded his place and slipped silently into the sea.
"Don’t get on, you'll swamp us.”
“All right; God keep you all. Good-by.” and the waters closed over him. It was the little gymnast.
AFTER that, silence, silence on the surface of the deep, and awe on the faces of the stricken freight in the scattered lifeboats Where had been the glowing lights from the luxurious cabins of the mammoth ship was now a soft, impersonal sheen of silver starlight, the implacability of nature.
And how futile were the little boats. Where were they going? Why were they there?
The distant light that some had followed from the first scudded away into the aurora as fast as the first breath of breeze rippled over the glassy waters.
Why live now to die miserably of cold and starvation and drenching? And always with the horror of that death groan sounding in ears and soul. It was then that those in the boats who had been picked up from the water gave up the spirit.
It was then the mother of the fine son began to call for him in the unmeaning repetition of the mind which has snapped. It was then that the emigrant woman of the many babes sent screams for them ringing to the stars in maniac baby-talk. It was then the ghostly gulls swung and cried in the icy air.
THREE hours before the Marconi man had been at his post on the ship. Out over the oily waters, out on the clear, crisp air, as far as the twinkling canopy of stars, had trembled the soundless cry from the magic wires:
“Ship is sinking fast!”
Full sixty miles away a faithful wire had trembled in response.
And thus the third craft that went a-sailing on an April day learned of her sealed orders and their import, and turned flying to the trysting place.
All night she was preparing to help the proud big ship, happy to serve so great a supplicant.
She would be but small and shabby beside the greater vessel, but would humbly do her best, and so she pounded the engines and kicked the waters and strained the boilers.
The latitude and longitude given by the cry for succor were attained, yet the keenest glass could find no lights other than the stars. Darkness brooded on the face of the waters, and horror was in the faces of the relief.
DAWN showed the vast, vast reaches of the sea empty of big craft, but, floating near, a swaying tangle of deck chairs and cushions, and a pale white babe rocked in the cradle of that fashioning.
The sun lingered in coming on such a scene. The rescue boat lay still and watched it.
The aurora in the north was paled by the rosy chiffon scarfs that waved over the sun's east. Close down in the warm glow nestled an impertinent crescent moon.
Toward the sun rose sinister points dark against the light, the peaks of ice.
Away from the sun, struck by its light, were wondrous glistening sails of frozen white and pearly pink, ice mountains glorified into celestial beauty, and as far as the eye could see, the limitless level of the ice pack, purer and whiter than man's imagining.
The sound of the woman calling her babes because they were not, the moan of the woman calling her son—these were almost the only sounds from the scattered fleet of rowboats that showed like shells on the waters, the limping, chilled, and sorrowing fleet to whom the rescue ship brought salvation.
BUT a few hours more and the modest ship of gentle aim was turning back to port, heavy with the hundreds saved, and the flag at half-mast. But the burden of sorrow in the widows' hearts was to be read in the dark, dark shadows of their eyes.
The wail of mothers was heard in the closed chamber of the sick.
For every life on board three other braver ones had surrendered theirs in God like selflessness.
The ice pack lay for miles, dazzling in the sun, peaks rising proudly here and there.
Seals black and shiny showed in the waters, gulls flew and cried, active white against the silent white.
Superb, thrilling, dominant, the ice pack held the region with nature's implacable strength. The power that is greater than man's had prevailed, the crushing insensate power against which there is no defense, from whom is no pity and no sparing.
But the power that is greater than all dominated even that, a power that is of God, which is the divinity of noble men.
WHOSE who love them call them gone, but they live with a virility immortal.
The courage and tenderness of sixteen hundred souls who quietly gave their lives for others floods an entire world and makes it humbly eager to give tribute by living nobler lives.
And as long as man lives the tale will be told to the uplifting of men, for showing them the divinity which is man's and his kinship to God.
My Experience in the Wreck of the RMS Titanic
The RMS Titanic. The largest and most luxurious ocean liner in the world. Launched at Belfast, Ireland, May 1911. Length, 882 ft. 6 inches. Displacement, 66,000 tons. On her maiden trip struck a large iceberg on Sunday, April 14th, at 10.25 P. M., 41° 46 minutes, north latitude; 50° 14 minutes, west longitude. Sunk at 2.20 A. M., April 15, 1912, with a loss of over 1,500 lives. American Medicine (May 1912) p. 272. GGA Image ID # 1be53797db
The First-hand account by Henry W. Frauenthal, M. D., New York City - A Survivor of the Titanic Disaster.
Recalling the Titanic as I saw it from the tender just before going on board at Cherbourg, it is almost impossible to conceive that this magnificent vessel of 880 feet could have sunk. Up to the time of the accident, the trip had been ideal.
On Sunday night, I retired at about ten o'clock, and my wife and I were sleeping soundly when at about twelve o'clock, I was awakened by my brother pounding on my cabin door, and insisting upon my getting up.
Thinking that I had overslept and was late, I asked what was the matter, and he said that something had happened to the boat. On going to the door, he informed me that he had overheard the captain telling Colonel Astor that something serious had occurred to the ship, and advised that everyone put on life preservers, and they were lowering the lifeboats.
When I went on the boat deck, there were a few people there, but no confusion, and I saw them lowering the boats. There seemed difficulty in filling the lifeboats. I returned for my wife to my cabin, No. 88, Deck C, and in passing Mr. Widener, who was in No. 80, Deck C, I informed him that I had learned the boat was in danger, but he said that it was ridiculous.
This answer probably describes the mental state of nearly everyone on the lifeboat thinking that it was impossible for anything serious to happen to this paradigm of modern ship architecture. I returned to my cabin and insisted on my wife putting a life preserver on.
We went on deck and got in the boat which was in charge of Third Officer Pittman. In this boat, there was an equal number of men and women, thirty-four in all.
The lifeboat on the port side, which was lowered at the same time as ours, was sent off by order of Captain Smith with only twenty-two passengers because at that time there were no more who were willing to trust themselves to the lifeboats.
In the process of being lowered, several times we thought we would be thrown into the water. When near the water, it was discovered that the plug in the bottom of the boat had not been safely inserted, and this was attended to.
Had this been overlooked, this lifeboat would have sunk as one of the others did, in which the plug was not inserted. After rowing a short distance, I inquired of Third Officer Pittman what had occurred to the boat, being under the impression that the trouble was with the machinery and we were likely to be blown up.
I learned then for the first time, that ‘we had struck an iceberg. I asked when we would return to the Titanic, and he said within half an hour, as he thought there was no danger to the vessel and only as we observed one row of porthole lights after another disappearing below the water line, did we begin to realize how serious the accident was.
One of the sailors in our boat was on watch at the time the accident occurred and said that the iceberg was above the upper deck and through concussion, several tons of ice were thrown on the upper deck.
Pittman, the 3rd officer, who like me, was asleep, was not awakened by the accident. Those who were awake at the time said there was no concussion, but it seemed as if the boat scraped like a ferry-boat going into the slip.
Pittman was awakened by a sailor and said he went down to see what had occurred and met some of the stokers coming out of the hold, saying that water was rushing in and driving them out.
He then went on deck and aided in loading the other boats. He was ordered to take charge of the lifeboat in which I left the vessel, which I think was No. 5.
There was no moon, but the stars in the sky were numerous, and it made the surroundings appear as light as it would with a quarter moon. We rowed about a mile from the Titanic, believing that if she went down, it would be a protection against the suction of the vessel.
In the lifeboat, I was in, and in all the other boats which I inspected as they were hoisted in the Carpathia, there was no compass, no lantern, no water, and no food!
The only light in any of the small boats was a lantern taken off by Fifth Officer Lowe and his reason for taking it was, as he said, that he had been in two shipwrecks previously and realized its need. It was through this light that the Carpathia was able to sight us, as they saw the light at a distance of ten miles.
After daybreak, it would have been difficult for the Carpathia to have detected us in the ice field we were in. The ocean surface during the whole night was as smooth as glass, nor was there any wind. The air was intensely cold, and nearly everyone suffered from the low temperature.
Track Chart Showing the Place Where Titanic Struck an Iceberg and Sank at 2.20 A. M., April 15, 1912. American Medicine (May 1912) p. 273. GGA Image ID # 105ea28490
We watched the boat and timed her as she sank, which was about 2.20 am, according to the officer's watch. The time of the accident was approximately 10.45 p.m., showing that the boat remained afloat for only about three and a half hours.
One of the boats rowed up to us, which had but twenty-seven passengers in it and three men from our lifeboat were transferred to this lifeboat.
When the vessel went down and for some time after, the cries of those who were on life preservers and floats were indescribable and no one who heard these cries, will ever forget them.
The Carpathia was in sight at about 4.30 a.m., when all the small boats rowed towards her. We were taken on board at about six o'clock, being on the water just about 5 1/2 hours.
Some of the smaller boats did not arrive until nearly nine o'clock, after which we circled around for about three hours, hoping to pick up some of the shipwrecked.
During the night we could see the massive iceberg which we struck and several smaller ones, and I cannot see how so large a mass of ice could not have been seen in ample time by the lookout. At about 8 a. m., two large vessels arrived on the scene, and they were left on the ground to see if they could pick up any of the survivors.
When day broke, we saw about two miles away what seemed to be land, but which was a field of ice and which I since learned was 200 miles long. So had we missed the massive iceberg, going at the rate of 21 or 22 knots an hour, we would have driven into the field of ice just ahead of us.
The passengers from the small boats were taken into the Carpathia utilizing a pilot's ladder. For safety, the women had a looped rope under their arms, and when they lost their footing on the rope ladder, they were drawn on board the boat.
Many did lose their footing on account of the nervous state they were in and the cold which made them stiff; and in being hauled on board, received many bruises.
One cannot speak in too high praise of the arrangements for our reception on board the Carpathia. As each one got to the deck, they were given a sizeable hot drink, of either hot water or hot tea, or hot diluted brandy. If this did not warm them up, they were covered with blankets, and additional drinks were given.
By this means, a reaction was brought about, and in place of being blue, they became pink and moist, and out of the 705 survivors, no case of bronchitis or pneumonia occurred to my knowledge, and the vessel came into port with a clean bill of health.
Although all the papers were filled with the account of a large number of ill on board, it was not a fact. A certain number suffered from the exposure and from injuries and were taken to St. Vincent's Hospital.
Several sprained ankles and Pott's fractures occurred from various causes. Since many women lost their husbands, a certain amount of nervous hysteria prevailed.
This was intensified by the fact that on our trip to New York for four days, we were most of the time enveloped in fogs and everyone seemed to dread the recurrence of an accident.
About $6,000 was collected on the Carpathia from the survivors to meet the immediate needs of the Titanic passengers, of which $4,000 was afterward given to the crew on the Carpathia, in recognition of their services.
The extensive death list was because the majority of the people did not know the nature and extent of the damage done to the boat, and a significant number knew that the Carpathia had been in communication and that she was coming to the rescue. The fear of going into the small boats on account of the danger in case of a high sea deterred many from entering.
There was a general feeling that the ship could not possibly sink before some of the larger boats nearby would come to the rescue. This was particularly true, as some of the people refused to depart shortly before the ship went down, thinking it safer than venturing in a small boat.
Titanic Survivor: Actress Dorothy Gibson
Miss Dorothy Gibson - a Survivor of the Titanic Wreck. The Moving Picture News (27 April 1912), p. 7. GGA Image ID # 100f23f403
Readers of the Moving Picture News will be glad, no doubt, to hear Miss Dorothy Gibson's story of the terrible Titanic disaster as she saw it, and felt it, and lived it.
Miss Gibson, the 22-year-old silent film star, who is the leading lady of the Eclair Moving Picture Company of America, was returning with her mother from a trip to Europe, feeling, in her own words, “like a new woman,” and had taken passage aboard the great new steamship, the Titanic. The following is Miss Gibson's story as she tells it:
“I was seated on one of the upper decks with several others playing bridge whist. The steward had come to us time after time telling us that it was past time for lights to go out, but we had begged insistently to be allowed to play just one more rubber.
At twenty minutes of twelve, we felt the card table, and I was just at the foot of one of the magnificent staircases on my way to my stateroom when I heard that peculiar crunching sound which proved later to be the iceberg ripping open the side of the ship.
My companion and I merely noted the occurrence in a passing manner, supposing that perhaps a propeller had broken, or something of that sort, for we knew that there were icebergs around us. In fact, it was impossible not to know, for they were all about.
And so, we continued on our way, the gentleman, who was with me suggesting a certain course around the deck which would bring me closest to my stateroom.
“As we turned to come toward the stern of the ship, we found ourselves, to our great surprise, walking uphill. We both remarked that it did not look right to us and felt that something must be wrong.
Inside we found the steward, who assured us that nothing was the matter. “Why,” said he in most confident tones, ‘you couldn’t sink this ship if you wanted to—and supposing you could, she couldn’t sink under ten hours, anyway.”
“Leaning over the deck rail, I exclaimed that there was water on the deck below, at which he assured me that the bulkheads had all been shut off and that it was not anything serious. Just at that moment, the designer came rushing up the stairs, his face perfectly livid.
Not until this moment was I certain that there was really anything serious the matter. I stood in front of him as he came along and asked him what the trouble was, but he pushed me aside and tried to continue on his way. I stepped again in front of him, asking the same question.
Still, without receiving any reply—his face was enough, however, to make me feel real concern—and so I went immediately below and brought my mother to the deck where we were.
She put on her coat suit, and we each took a steamer rug with us. I had only a sweater on over my evening dress. When I went to my stateroom, I had light satin slippers on, and when I came up, I had on these black pumps that you see on me now, but I do not know when or how I got them on. I had a pair of gloves and mother had none.
“The passengers becoming alarmed, came one by one from their staterooms, and I shall never forget when, as we stood together there, with only three lights burning in the immense room where we were, there came to us the cry of “All passengers to the life-preservers!”
Everyone went quietly without a sign of panic and did what they were told. Mr. Bruce Ismay fastened the life preserver on me. My mother was the first woman in the second boat launched, and I followed.
There were only twenty-six in our boat. The reason for this was that most of the people, up to this time, felt safer on the big boat than down on the open sea in a small one.
“After our boat had been let down, we found that the plug had not been put in, and then when it was put in it did not fit, and someone had to sit on it all the time to keep it down. We looked about for a lantern, but there was none.
Then we hunted for matches, and not a soul could find any. I happened to put my hand in my sweater pocket and found that, by some means of which I have no knowledge, a box of matches had been placed there.
I may have picked them off the card table. We had neither water nor food. One man, supposed to be a French baron, gathered all the blankets to himself. This same man, when aboard the Carpathia, appropriated no less than forty-five blankets to make himself a soft bed.
“We were about a mile from the Titanic when she sank, but I will never forget the terrible cry that rang out from people who were thrown in the sea and others who were afraid for their loved ones.
No one knows just how anxiously we watched for some sign of a boat. Repeatedly, some eager passenger of a lifeboat would shout that there was a ship approaching, and we would all spring up to find that the light he had seen was only the twinkling of a distant star.
“At four o'clock in the morning, when we had ceased to take notice of the calls that a ship was near, the Carpathia really came. She could not come to us, however; we had to row around the icebergs to get to her.
I was so tired that I slept twenty-six hours after getting on board the Carpathia. Everyone was so perfectly splendid to us. The women aboard all came and offered us their berths, and clothes, and in fact, anything that they had of which we could make use.”
Miss Gibson, although she assured me that it would take more than a shipwreck to knock her out, at the same time has the appearance of one whose nerves had been greatly shocked. She will, however, start work again, with the Eclair Company almost immediately.
Miss Gibson speaks in the highest terms of our brave American men who took so heroic a part in one of the most terrible tragedies the sea has ever seen.
The scene is from “The Easter Bonnet,” an Eclair comedy released April 25. The Moving Picture News (20 Apriil 1912) p. 43. GGA Image ID # 100f271c70
In this photo, the girl trying on the bonnet is Miss Dorothy Gibson, the famous “Harrison Fisher” girl, who has been the star of the Eclair Company. She was one of the survivors of the terrible Titanic disaster, just returning from a two months' trip abroad for her health.
Saved From the Titanic
Miss Dorothy Gibson Points to the Location Where the Titanic Sunk. The Movie Picture News (4 May 1912) p. 27. GGA Image ID # 100f49bdd7
It was a unique chance that led Miss Dorothy Gibson, of the Eclair Film Company, to take passage on the Titanic, when she had already been booked on the Hamburg-American line.
As told in these columns last week, she had a wonderful escape from the dread disaster; and so impressed were the Eclair producers with her story that they decided to bring out a drama entitled “Saved From the Titanic,” from Miss Gibson's own account, with that handsome young cinematic star playing the leading role.
Titanic Survivors: Honeymoon Couple - Mr. and Mrs. George A. Harder
Mr. & Mrs. George A. Harder, A Honeymoon Couple Rescued from the Titanic. The woman weeping, hand to face, is Mrs. Chas. M. Hays, whose husband, president of the Grand Trunk Railway, was lost. Sinking of the Titanic (1912) p. 97. © Underwood & Underwood. GGA Image ID # 102d5408cf
Titanic Survivors at Plymouth - 1912
The RMS Titanic Survivors at Plymouth. The Illustrated London News (18 May 1912) p. 742-743. GGA Image ID # 101dfca205
- Ready for "Titanic" Survivors Who Preferred to Go to Their Homes without Delay. Sleeping Accommodation Provided for Members of the Liner's Crew in the Docks at Plymouth, with Dining-Tables in the Background.
- The Home-Coming of 167 or the 210 Survivors of the "Titanic’s" Crew, Some of the Men Aboard the Tender Sir Richard Grenville, Awaiting Their Landing at Plymouth.
- Those Who Wired “Crew on “Titanic” Being Detained as Prisoners". the Union Leaders, in a Sailing Boat. Addressing Survivors on the Tender.
- The Cook Who Was One of the Last to See Captain Smith before He Went Down: Mr. Maynard, Who Clung to an Upturned Collapsible Boat for Some Hours before He Was Picked up by a Life-Boat.
- Safe Home: One of the Seamen Survivors with His Mother and Three Brothers on His Arrival at Plymouth.
- A Position Which Caused the Sending of the Wire to the Board of Trade: "Crew of 'Titanic' Being Detained as Prisoners": Survivors Looking through Closed Dock-Gates at Plymouth
- Saved from the “Titanic”: Mr. Whitter Steward and Mrs. Robinson, Stewardess
- As near as They Were Allowed to Be, the Crowd Looking through Locked Gates of the Dock to See Survivors Coming Ashore from the Tender.
- The Vessel Which Brought to England 167 of the 210 Survivors of the "Titanic's" Crew: The Red Star Liner "Lapland."
- About to Land in England after Their Terrible Experience on the High Seas, Survivors of the "Titanic's" Crew on the Tender Which Brought them from the “Lapland.”
- After Their Arrival, "Titanic" Survivors at Dinner in the Shed Set Apart for Them in the Docks.
The Red Star Liner "Lapland,“ having aboard 167 of the 210 survivors of the crew of the "Titanic," arrived at Plymouth on the morning of Sunday, April 28. Great precautions were taken by the Board of Trade to make it impossible for anyone to communicate with them until their depositions had been taken and each was served with a notice requiring him to make a statement so that the British Inquiry Commission may be able to select witnesses to appear before them.
In the evening, eighty-five of the survivors left Plymouth for Southampton, while it was decided that the others should proceed to Southampton on the following day.
This was a sequel to intervention by officials of the men's trade union, who protested against their being kept at Plymouth longer than was necessary to take their statements.
It had been arranged that the whole of the men should sleep in the docks on the Sunday night, on mattresses placed on the floor of a big room: while food was to be provided for them.
Concerning the matter, the Board of Trade solicitor wired: "Crew of Titanic from Lapland are not in any sense detained at Plymouth against their wish.
They are only invited to remain on the premises provided so that statements may be taken from them to avoid delay and to settle who shall be called to evidence on the inquiry. They are free to leave when they like, only hope for their co-operation making depositions."
The survivors landed by the "Lapland" included 147 men and 20 women.
 Excerpt from "Most Direful Disaster of the Deep," The Nautical Gazette: A Journal of Navigation, Shipbuilding, Marine Engineering, Naval Architecture, and Commerce, New York: J. W. Dawson Stearns, Publisher, Vol. 81, No, 8, Whole No. 2317, Wednesday, 24 April 1912, p. 3.
Caswell, Rev. Edwin Whittier, "Self-Sacrificing Heroism," in The New York Observer, Vol. XC, No. 19, Whole No. 4644, Thursday, 9 May 1912, p. 585.
Captain Arthur H. Rostron, R.D., R.N.R., Photographs by Louis Mansfield Ogden, "The Rescue of the Titanic Survivors by the Carpathia, April 15, 1912," in Scribner's Magazine, Vol. LIII, No. 3, March 1913, p. 354-364. (367}
"The Rescued: By an Eyewitness on the Carpathia," in The Outlook, New York: The Outlook Company, Vol. 100, No. 17, 27 April 1812p. 894-895.
"On This Side: Survivors of the "Titanic" Disaster in England," and "On the Other Side: "Titanic" Disaster Survivors in New York," in The Illustrated London News, New York: The International News Company, Vol. 50, No. 1506, Saturday, 18 May 1912, p. 736 and 750.
"The Story of the 'Titanic' Wireless," in Electrical Review and Western Electrician, Vol. 60, No, 17, p, 816.
"The Titanic Disaster," in The Commerical Telegraphers' Journal: The Official Publication of the Commercial Telegraphs' Union of America, Chicago, Vol. X, No. 5, May 1912, p. 153-154.
"Chief Witness at the Senatorial Inquiry: The White Star Chairman," in THe Illustrated London News, New York: The International News Company, Vol. 50, No. 1305, Saturday, 11 May 1912, p. 701.
"Sealed Orders," in Collier's: The National Weekly, New York: P. F. Collier & Son, Incorporated, Publishers, Vol. XLIX, No. 7, Saturday, 4 May 1912, p. 10, 12, 27-28.
Henry W. Frauenthal, M.D. (New York City), “My Experience in the Wreck of the Titanic,” in American Medicine, Original Articles, Complete Series, Vol. XVIII, New Series, Vol. VII, No. 5, May 1912, p. 271-274.
"Dorothy Gibson Tells Her Story of the Titanic Wreck to Our Roving Commissioner, " in The Moving Picture News: America's Leading Cinematograph Weekly, New York: Cinematograph Publishing Company, Vol. V, No. 17, Saturday, 27 April 1912, p. 7
"Miss Dorothy Gibson: A Survivor of the Titanic Wreck," in The Moving Picture News: America's Leading Cinematograph Weekly, New York: Cinematograph Publishing Company, Vol. V, No. 16, Saturday, 20 April 1912, p. 43.
Excerpt from Eclair, "Saved From the Titanic," n The Moving Picture News: America's Leading Cinematograph Weekly, New York: Cinematograph Publishing Company, Vol. V, No. 18, Saturday, 4 May 1912, p. 27
"Not in any Sense Detained ... Against Their Wish: Men of the 'Titanic's' Crew. Survivors of the Disaster, at Plymouth," in The Illustrated London News, New York: The International News Company, Vol. 50, No. 1506, Saturday, 18 May 1912, p. 742-743.