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“Truth Touched by Emotion”: The Carpathia’s Arrival in New York City

"Truth Touched by Emotion": The Carpathia's Arrival in New York City

The news of the Titanic disaster had reached shore and spread even while its lifeboats were still being rescued by the Carpathia.

All thanks to the wireless telegraph.

Guglielmo Marconi's wireless "telegraphy" technology was truly a wonder of the modern age.

But beyond its dazzle, it functioned as an entirely public line of communication between operators--and anyone else who might care to know.

And so, as Titanic sank, its urgent, unbroken distress calls had been dispersed in real-time. Until around 2:00 a.m., when Titanic's voice quite suddenly went silent, and was not heard again.

At the New York Times office, editor Carr Van Anda was incredulous at first. "It can’t be true," he reportedly said. "The Titanic’s equipped with extra safety compartments."

But in the end, Van Anda was the sole editor to deduce the substance of Titanic's abrupt radio silence: she must have gone down.

The news sent New York City into havoc.

Some of the most prominent, celebrated, and famous New Yorkers, such as Colonel John Jacob Astor and Isidor Straus, had been on board Titanic. People swarmed the offices of the White Star Line in Manhattan, demanding the unknown fates of their family members and friends. Contradictory headlines mounted as they were barked from street corners and pinned to walls. Even still at sea, the rescue ship Carpathia was besieged by journalistic intrusion as it sailed toward the city with Titanic’s survivors.

It was plainly impossible to exist in New York City without knowing of the Titanic disaster.

Details, however, were sparse and often hypothetical.

The White Star Line, unsurprisingly, promoted only the most optimistic of reports: that everyone had been saved, and that Titanic was being towed into port.

The rescue ship Carpathia, still at sea with Titanic's 700-plus survivors, was on a mandatory media blackout. All wireless transmissions were restricted to personal messages, and conducted solely for passengers on board. The volume was so overwhelming that Titanic's junior operator Harold Bride, wheelchair-bound from frostbite to his feet, sat in to assist the Carpathia's operator in sending them all. Solicitations from journalists were ignored.

Carpathia was due to arrive in New York City on the evening of April 18th, shortly after 9:00 p.m. It had been three days since the disaster.

That night, people amassed by the dozens of thousands in a chilly, driving rain.

Anxious family and desperate press awaited the arrival of the passengers on board the rescue vessel. Two hundred police officers, some on horseback, surveilled the crowd. Medical staff were on standby, with stretchers waiting to be brought aboard. Traffic mounted; automobiles hydroplaned into curbs as they neared the pier.

The forty thousand people in the throng waited at the Cunard Line's usual docking spot: Pier 54.

Captain Arthur Rostron and the crew of the Carpathia had braced for the mania ahead. And so, the first stop on that rainy evening was to the White Star Line's Pier 59, where they quietly and diligently unloaded the Titanic's thirteen recovered lifeboats. The crew of the Carpathia had been unable to fit any more than that on board, and so seven of Titanic's lifeboats still floated on the open sea.

Then, Carpathia moved a few blocks onward, to Pier 54.

The media had made no effort to restrain itself, despite edicts from the mayor.

The New York Times had rented an entire floor in the Strand Hotel, which was located about a block from the pier. The Times had orchestrated the installation of telephone lines, so journalists at the scene could run to the Strand and dictate their stories to the newsroom in Times Square. They wanted to interview as many survivors as possible, and they had only three hours--until 12:30 a.m.--to do so.

Additionally, over 50 tugboats clotted up the harbor; they hounded the rescue ship as soon as it was in sight. Journalists on the tugboats' decks hollered into megaphones and over one another, offering the passengers above them cash for eyewitness accounts. Cameras popped in rapid sequence, their clouds of magnesium powder wilting in the rain. Each flashing bulb illuminated the Carpathia's weary passengers, standing dazed against the railings in the dark.

And on board the rescue ship, a journalist named Carlos Hurd anxiously waited for his chance.

He worked for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and had been on holiday on the Carpathia. And he had spent the past three days of the voyage transcribing a clandestine witness account against Captain Rostron's orders.

When the correct tug steamed up alongside Carpathia, Hurd appeared over the railing of an upper deck and dropped a manuscript wrapped up in canvas overboard. Afraid it would fall in the water and sink, he had created a makeshift flotation device for the dictionary-sized bundle, using a cigar box and champagne corks he had acquired from the ship's bar.

The manuscript was rushed to shore and printed for a next-day 'Extra" feature.

The headline read, "Titanic Boilers Blew Up, Breaking Her In Two After Striking Berg."

The ship finally docked at Pier 54, moving slowly due to the darkness and rainfall. Under Captain Rostron's orders, the Carpathia's passengers were the first to disembark, as he was concerned that madness would follow if the Titanic survivors were to precede them.

When the survivors began to appear, the scene fell still.

As the survivors came into the street dead silence fell over the crowd that was assembled, and even the flashlight batteries of the Press photographers ceased for the moment their bombardment.

When an unnamed female passenger stumbled off the gangway and fell weeping into the arms of a police officer, the spell was broken.

Journalist competition for one particular interview eclipsed all others that night: everyone wanted Harold Bride. They were to "get the Titanic wireless man’s story, if he’s alive,” the city editor of the New York Times demanded. And they wanted the Carpathia's wireless man, Harold Cottam, second-most.

The New York Times succeeded in scooping Bride and Cottam both, when their reporter Isaac Russell, accompanied by Guglielmo Marconi himself, was permitted on board Carpathia.

Bride was paid $1,000 for his interview, a fact to which he testified at the American Senate Inquiry to follow. He was later hauled off Carpathia, unable to walk due to the injuries he sustained on Collapsible B. Harold Cottam received $750 for his own interview.

Isaac Russell rushed back to the Times office to complete his exclusive story. He said he wept as he wrote.

“I turned back to my typewriter. They say literature is truth touched by emotion. I have written steadily for 20 years or more. If ever I wrote literature, that was the night.”

The Carpathia was set to depart at 4:00 p.m. the following day, an effort by the Cunard Line to remove the vessel from the debacle.

In that single day of rest, the ship became a tourist attraction, overrun with New Yorkers eager to gawk at the wireless shack that had, only days prior, heard the dots and dashes of Titanic's last words.

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“Every Star in the Heavens Was Visible”: Fourth Officer Joseph Boxhall

"Every Star in the Heavens Was Visible": Fourth Officer Joseph Boxhall

Joseph Groves Boxhall was the son of a seafaring family, and he carried the tradition on. When he boarded Titanic on March 27, 1912, he had already spent 13 years at sea. 

He was 28 years old.

Joseph signed onto Titanic as Fourth Officer. Despite his extensive career up until that point, his path had only intersected with one Titanic colleague, Second Officer Charles Lightoller.

Fourth Officer Boxhall was on duty when Titanic collided with the iceberg on April 14, 1912.

Joseph Boxhall, photographed before 1919.


Per his testimony to both the American and British Inquiries following the tragedy, Joseph said that he was on the bridge when the collision occurred. 

But in 1962, he gave an interview to the BBC in which he stated that he was in his cabin, making a cup of tea.

He heard a trio a warning bells and immediately returned to the bridge, where he overheard First Officer William Murdoch shouting to Quartermaster Hitchens to pull the wheel hard over, as well as the telegraphs ordering the engine room to reverse.

Joseph was subsequently present for First Officer Murdoch’s discussion with Captain Smith about the strike, which he detailed at the British Inquiry.

Commissioner: And did the Captain then come out on to the bridge?

Boxhall: The Captain was alongside of me when I turned round.

Commissioner: Did you hear him say something to the first Officer?

Boxhall: Yes, he asked him what we had struck.

Commissioner: What conversation took place between them?

Boxhall: The First Officer said, "An iceberg, Sir. I hard-a-starboarded and reversed the engines, and I was going to hard-a-port round it but she was too close. I could not do any more. I have closed the watertight doors." The Commander asked him if he had rung the warning bell, and he said "Yes."

He went on to say that Captain Smith and Murdoch went to look overboard to spy the iceberg, but that he did not see it himself. “I was not too sure of seeing it,” he said. “I had just come out of the light, and my eyes were not accustomed to the darkness.”

Joseph then went down to F Deck to assess the ship for any damage, but he found none. On his way return, as he passed through C Deck, he encountered steerage passengers playing with fragments from the iceberg that had scattered the well deck.

Yes, I took a piece of ice out of a man's hand, a small piece about as large as a small basin, I suppose; very small, anyhow; about that size (Describing.) He was going down again to the passenger accommodation, and I took it from him and walked across the deck to see where he got it. I found just a little ice in the well deck covering a space of about three or four feet from the bulwarks right along the well deck, small stuff.

Joseph returned to the bridge to report the absence of any finding, and was sent to fetch the ship’s carpenter. He met him on the way, and he told Joseph that water was coming in. Fast.

Joseph hurried to the mailroom, where he saw the worst. “It was rising rapidly up the ladder and I could hear it rushing in.”

From there, Joseph returned to the bridge to report the state of the mailroom, and was assigned to calculate Titanic’s position for Captain Smith to provide to the Marconi Room, in order to begin distress signaling.

Joseph then worked to prepare the lifeboats for launch, unlacing the covers on the port side himself. It was then, he testified, that he heard someone state that they saw the light of another ship out ahead of them.

He saw it himself: the two masthead lights of a steamship.

At Captain Smith’s behest, Joseph began firing distress rockets, one at a time at five-minute intervals. He informed the British Inquiry that these rockets were the type with which “you see a luminous tail behind them and then they explode in the air and burst into stars.”

COMMISSIONER: Could you see it distinctly with the naked eye?

BOXHALL: No, I could see the light with the naked eye, but I could not define what it was, but by the aid of a pair of glasses I found it was the two masthead lights of a vessel, probably about half a point on the port bow, and in the position she would be showing her red if it were visible, but she was too far off then.

COMMISSIONER: Could you see how far off she was?

BOXHALL: No, I could not see, but I had sent in the meantime for some rockets, and told the Captain I had sent for some rockets, and told him I would send them off, and told him when I saw this light. He said, "Yes, carry on with it." I was sending rockets off and watching this steamer. 

Joseph Boxhall testified at great length about the nature of this light: its color, its distance, and how frequently it was signaled.

The ship—which most have concluded was the SS Californian, and which had been communicating via wireless with Titanic shortly before collision—never came to Titanic’s aid.

The reasons for its negligence are manifold and contested.

The SS Californian, taken on or about April 15, 1912.


Soon thereafter, Joseph was assigned by Chief Officer Wilde to Lifeboat 2. He noted that there were no lights stocked in the boat, and had the presence of mind to bring some green flares along.

Joseph recalled that there were mostly women and children in the boat, three crewmen, and a male passenger “who did not seem to do much.”

Lifeboat 2 was launched on the port side under the supervision of Second Officer Lightoller. So Joseph, following orders, promptly rowed around Titanic’s stern to the starboard side.

I got the crew squared up and the oars out properly and the boat squared when I heard somebody singing out from the ship, I do not know who it was, with a megaphone, for some of the boats to come back again, and to the best of my recollection they said "Come round the starboard side," so I pulled round the starboard side to the stern and had a little difficulty in getting round there.

But Lifeboat 2 did not return. When the boat approached the starboard side as ordered, Joseph sensed suction from Titanic “settling down.”

And so he turned the lifeboat away, until it was about a half-mile out. He stated that he did not witness the final moments of Titanic's submersion.

COMMISSIONER: After she sank, did you hear cries?

BOXHALL: Yes, I heard cries. I did not know when the lights went out that the ship had sunk. I saw the lights go out, but I did not know whether she had sunk or not, and then I heard the cries. I was showing green lights in the boat then, to try and get the other boats together, trying to keep us all together.

Joseph Boxhall’s was the first lifeboat to be picked up by the rescue ship Carpathia, aided by his signaling with the green lights he had brought on during the sinking.

Once he was aboard, he was ordered to the bridge, where he informed the captain of the Carpathia that Titanic had gone under at 2:30am.

Titanic's recovered lifeboats, 1912. Courtesy of the State library of Queensland, Australia.


Joseph was called before the American Senate Inquiry, in which his insights, while valuable, were communicated with curt words. Once permitted to return home to Great Britain, Joseph also testified--with a notable surplus of patience--at the British Inquiry.

Joseph promptly returned to the sea. Having joined the Royal Navy Reserve already, he was promoted the lieutenant in 1915 during World War I. In 1919, he married, and post-war, was promoted once again to Lieutenant Commander.

Joseph Boxhall was a taciturn sort, and was always reticent to speak about Titanic, but he did agree to be a technical advisor on the 1958 film “A Night to Remember” and even attended the premier.

 In the years that followed, Joseph agreed at last to collaborate with researchers, and also took the above-cited BBC interview.

He passed away five years later, in 1967.

He was the last of Titanic’s deck officers to die.

Joseph Boxhall (far right), photographed with Titanic's other surviving officer Harold Lowe (far left), Charles Lightoller (center), and Herbert Pitman (seated.) Circa 1912.


Per his wishes, Joseph Boxhall’s ashes were scattered at sea at 41° 46’ N, 50° 14’ W: the coordinates he had calculated for Titanic as she sank.

The wreck site sits to the east, about 20 miles away.

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“As If All the Devils of Hell Had Been Let Loose”: Henry & Clara Frauenthal

"As If All the Devils of Hell Had Been Let Loose": Henry & Clara Frauenthal

In 1906, Clara Heinsheimer divorced her husband.

This was, predictably, a scandalous notion in polite society. And Clara more or less resigned herself to raising her child, a daughter named Nathalie, all alone.

But when one of Clara’s brothers passed away, her remaining brother Alfred was left in charge of an incredible estate worth more than $5 million. 

And so Alfred established the New York Foundation, which promoted charitable and educational causes.

Alfred had an active role in the selection of candidates and the distribution of grants to those who applied on behalf of their causes. And he was one of the first to make a donation to the Hospital for Deformative and Joint Diseases.

And that was how Clara met Dr. Henry Frauenthal, the surgeon who had founded the institution.

Henry was an eminent physician, to say the least.

He had achieved a great deal of acclaim, in particular, for his methods of treating chronic joint diseases; soon, in 1905, he and his brother Herman were opening their first hospital on Lexington Avenue, before moving to a larger building on Madison Avenue in 1906.

This was when he met Clara.

Henry was an ardent believer in the principle of treating the whole person, and as such, had patients spanning race, class, age, and gender.

It was this philanthropic philosophy that brought him fame as an innovative and successful treater of children afflicted with polio, which at the time was overwhelming the nation.

Henry and Clara eloped in Nice, France, in the autumn of 1911, with only Henry’s brother Isaac coming along to serve as the best man.

Clara was 42 years old by this point; Henry, 48. They were atypical newlyweds, perhaps, but no less affectionate for it.

Henry and Clara boarded Titanic in Southampton with First Class passage. Isaac joined them at Cherbourg.

Henry’s reputation as an eminent physician followed him aboard. When First-Class passenger Irene Harris fractured her elbow because “took a header six or seven steps” on the Grand Staircase (because she had slipped on the remains of a teacake), she requested the specific supervision of Henry Frauenthal.

At dinner on Sunday, April 14, Isaac told Henry and Clara that he had had a foreboding dream. 

It seemed to me that I was on a big steamship that suddenly crashed into something and began to go down… I saw in the dream as vividly as I could see with open eyes the gradual settling of the ship, and I heard the cries of frightened passengers.

Henry replied that maybe Isaac shouldn’t have had so much cheese before dinner time, as it was clearly making his imagination work as hard as his gallbladder.

As it turned out, Isaac was the one who was awakened later that same night by the collision with the iceberg, which he described as a “long, drawn-out rubbing noise.” 

Isaac went up to A Deck, where he noticed a number of fellow First-Class passengers milling about. And when John Jacob Astor stopped Captain Smith as he was descending the steps from the bridge, Isaac overheard the conversation: the situation was dire and the ship was sinking.

Isaac ran down to Henry and Clara, pounding on their door and waking them from sleep. 

The three soon found themselves waiting at Lifeboat 5 on the starboard side, which was overseen by First Officer William Murdoch and Fifth Officer Harold Lowe.

Clara was permitted to enter the boat; Henry and Isaac followed. How exactly they did so is contested.

While no survivor accounts make mention of any sort of upset or curiosity in how the Frauenthal brothers boarded, Mrs. Annie Stengel later filed a claim with White Star in which she alleged that a “Hebrew doctor” broke her ribs and knocked her unconscious when he jumped into the lifeboat. 

The Frauenthals only learned once the lifeboat had been rowed around 100 yards away from Titanic that the ship had collided with an iceberg.

After the ship sank, Henry in particular sat heartbroken with his face in his hands, absorbed in the anguished cries of those in the water. As a physician, he knew full well how unlikely their survival truly was.

The Denver Post printed Dr. Frauenthal’s firsthand account on April 19, 1912.

When the word came that we were sinking and the lifeboats were ordered over the side, the panic was fearful. From all sides came shrieks and groans and cries, and it seemed as if all the devils of hell had been let loose. "Just now I am so thankful to be alive that my appreciation of the horror is dulled. I am only afraid that when I recover from the first shock it will all come back to me again.

It was reported that Henry, Clara, and Isaac were the very first to leave the rescue ship Carpathia upon its arrival in New York.

They took with them a young Swedish woman named Dagmar Bryhl, who had lost both her brother and her fiancé in the sinking. The girl was frightened, alone, and frail, so Clara took her immediately to Henry’s hospital for rehabilitation.

The Frauenthal brothers, particularly Henry, were maligned for their cowardice, as many surviving men were.

Shortly after the disaster, Henry called upon Irene Harris to check up on her fractured elbow, which he had helped to set on the Saturday before the sinking.

It is reported that when he began to discuss Titanic with her, she snapped, “I wouldn’t have my husband at the cost of a woman’s life.”

I swear we thought every woman on the ship had been placed safely in the boats. It was 'Women first' with all of the men, and at least it seemed as if the decks had been cleared of them, for not one was to be seen save those already lowered. Then the officers ordered the men to leave the sinking vessel and we left for the boats, not knowing, any one of us, I think how many of our fellow men we were leaving behind as prey to death.

Henry was subjected to additional scrutiny because he appeared “too neat” when disembarking the Carpathia, instead of disheveled.

But Dr. Frauenthal’s patients were nothing less than elated that he had survived. The New York Herald reported the following on April 19, 1912, about Dr. Frauenthal’s first day back at work.

When in the city Dr. Frauenthal visits the hospital between nine and ten o'clock each day. It has been assumed that he will follow his custom, and the patients will be taken in wheeled chairs to the verandas to watch for his approach, which they will greet with cheers and the waving of handkerchiefs. An informal reception inside the hospital will follow.

Dr. And Mrs. Frauenthal survived Titanic, but they were less fortunate in the years that followed. Despite professional successes and further travel abroad, Henry and Clara both suffered from mental health issues as the years bore on. 

Henry’s health deteriorated alongside his marriage: diabetes caused him to lose some of his toes—a procedure that he supervised over, of course.

On March 11, 1927, Henry Frauenthal jumped out a seventh floor window of his hospital. 

His family, including his great-nephew, believe that Dr. Frauenthal’s suicide was because of his failing health, and a fear of the diabetes-related amputations that he foresaw as inevitable.

He was 63 years old. 

Owing to social mores, Henry’s suicide could not be reported on in any direct fashion. The medical examiner listed his cause of death as “a fall from a window due to mental derangement.”

Over one thousand people attended Henry’s funeral. Per his last will and testament, his ashes were reserved until they could “be scattered from the roof of [his] hospital to the four winds” on the fiftieth anniversary of its founding: October 4, 1955.

Clara was admitted to a sanitarium shortly after Henry’s death, where she remained until she died in 1943.

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“I Am Here for Life”: Fifth Officer Harold Lowe

"I Am Here for Life": Fifth Officer Harold Lowe

Harold Godfrey Lowe was born in Wales in 1882, the fourth of eight children. At all of 14 years old, he ran away from home to escape an apprenticeship that his father had destined him for.

I ran away from home when I was about 14, and I went in a schooner. I was in seven schooners altogether, and my father wanted to apprentice me but I said I would not be apprenticed; that I was not going to work for anybody for nothing, without any money.

Well, alright then.

Young Harold Lowe endeavored to get his certificates, then worked for about five years off the West African coast before signing on with the White Star Line.

Even though Lowe had been working at sea for some time and had been on two White Star vessels, these voyages were on Australian routes. As such, Titanic was to be his first transatlantic journey.

He signed on as Fifth Officer, and reported to White Star’s Liverpool offices on March 26, 1912. He then went on to Titanic’s sea trials in Belfast.

Being Fifth, Lowe was considered a junior officer, along with Third Officer Herbert Pitman, Fourth Officer Joseph Boxhall, and Sixth Officer James Moody. Unlike his fellow officers, who had all worked together in some capacity before, Lowe was not acquainted with anyone at all.

Lowe was off-duty and in bed on April 14, 1912, when Titanic collided with the iceberg. He stated that he was woken up and informed of it by Fourth Officer Joseph Boxhall about 30 minutes after the fact, although Lowe did not remember this particular moment.

It must have been while I was asleep. You must remember that we do not have any too much sleep and therefore when we sleep we die.

Lowe grabbed his revolver and presented on deck to assist First Officer William Murdoch in launching lifeboats on the starboard side. He insisted that it was calm, for the most part; only “little knots” of people here and there.

When reading Lowe’s testimony, it’s clear that Lowe was a very forthright—even terse—man. And he had precisely no patience for nonsense as he worked to the lower the boats.

Within the event of the sinking itself, nowhere is this more apparent than in a conflict he had with J. Bruce Ismay, the Chairman of White Star.

White Star Chairman J. Bruce Ismay, circa 1912.


It was a very tense point of contention in the Senate Inquiry that would follow the disaster.

Senator SMITH. What did you say to him?

Mr. LOWE. This was on the starboard side. I don't know his name, but I know him by sight. He is a steward. He spoke to me on board the Carpathia. He asked me if I knew what I had said to Mr. Ismay. I said, "I don't know Mr. Ismay. "Well," he said, "you used very, very strong language with him." I said, "Did I?" I said, "I can not help it if I did." He said, "Yes, you did," and he repeated the words. If you wish me to repeat them I will do so; if you do not, I will not.

Senator SMITH. I will first ask you this: What was the occasion for your using this harsh language to Mr. Ismay

Mr. LOWE. The occasion for using the language I did was because Mr. Ismay was overanxious and he was getting a trifle excited. He said, "Lower away! Lower away! Lower away! Lower away!" I said - well, let it be -

Mr. ISMAY. Give us what you said.

Mr. LOWE. The chairman is examining me.


Lowe went on, at Ismay’s belligerent insistence, to write down and then read out loud the very terrible no-good language he had used.

I told him, "If you will get to hell out of that I shall be able to do something."

…He did not make any reply. I said, "Do you want me to lower away quickly?" I said, "You will have me drown the whole lot of them."

Lowe afterward tried to mitigate, expressing that Ismay was just anxious and trying to help.

While working on Lifeboat 14, Lowe entered into a conversation with Sixth Officer James Moody, and Lowe stated that an officer should accompany the group. Moody deferred to Lowe as the junior-most of the two officers, and insisted that Lowe man the boat, which was about to be lowered away. Moody said he’d take to the next one.

Officer Moody did not survive.

By the time Lifeboat 14 was being lowered, alarm had risen within the crowds. As the vessel descended toward the water, passengers rushed to the edge of the deck, and Lowe fired his pistol three times into the air to ward off some steerage men from jumping down into the boat.

He insisted that his bullets never struck a soul.

Upon reaching the water, Lowe ordered the boat to row approximately 150 yards out from Titanic. He then set to work in corralling four other lifeboats around and lashing them together, to condense the passengers therein and return to the wreck.

Lowe was the only officer to return for survivors.

I herded them together and roped them - made them all tie up - and of course I had to wait until the yells and shrieks had subsided - for the people to thin out - and then I deemed it safe for me to go amongst the wreckage. So I transferred all my passengers - somewhere about 53 passengers - from my boat, and I equally distributed them between my other four boats. Then I asked for volunteers to go with me to the wreck…

Unfortunately, it was done too late. In an effort to avoid the lifeboat being swarmed, they had waited over an hour.

As Lowe maneuvered through the wreckage and corpses, he found only four men alive.

Daylight was breaking by this time, and Lowe perceived the Carpathia steaming ahead in the far distance. He determined then that his lifeboat was fastest, and he rigged the sail. His was the only lifeboat to do so.

Lifeboat 14 (right) approaching the rescue ship Carpathia, with sail up and Fifth Officer Lowe standing. From the George Grantham Bain Collection, courtesy of the library of Congress.


By and by, he came across Collapsible D and took it in tow.

He then discovered Collapsible A in a far worse condition. It had been washed off deck without the canvas sides pulled up, and the few survivors still alive were standing knee-deep in water, including 21-year-old Richard Norris Williams, the young American tennis player destined for fame.

It was also from Collapsible A that Lowe saved to the only woman to be rescued from the water that night: Mrs. Rhoda Abbott, who had lost both her young sons in the sinking.

Lowe also found three corpses within Collapsible A.

As to the three people that I left on her - of course, I may have been a bit hard hearted, I can not say - but I thought to myself, "I am not here to worry about bodies; I am here for life, to save life, and not to bother about bodies," and I left them…

They were dead; yes, sir. The people on the raft told me they had been dead some time. I said, "Are you sure they are dead?" They said, "Absolutely sure." I made certain they were dead, and questioned them one and all before I left this collapsible.

Harold Lowe’s testimony in the subsequent Senate Inquiry was vital—and not a little uncomfortable.

The surviving White Star officers—Lowe, Second Officer Charles Lightoller, Third Officer Herbert Pitman, and Fourth Officer Joseph Boxhall—were of course British citizens, who had been sailing on a British vessel. The men resented being interrogated by the American government, and by men who knew absolutely nothing about seafaring life, to boot.

Titanic's surviving officers, from left to right: Fifith Officer Lowe, Second Officer Charles Lightoller, Fourth Officer Joseph Boxhall; seated: Third Officer Herbert Pitman.


As if that weren’t aggravating enough, the officers were attempting throughout all of this to defend themselves, their dead peers, and their employer. They were livid that these senators, who were ignorant of all maritime terms and protocol, could so easily call their judgments as sailors into question, especially without having suffered the sinking themselves.

And they endured all this in the immediate wake of their own traumas, both physical and mental. Because the Senate Inquiry began a mere four days after Titanic sank, on April 19, 1912.

The reactions of the four surviving officers reflected Britain’s aghast reaction to the American Inquiry in its entirety.

The British press portrayed Senator William Alden Smith of Michigan, who had spearheaded the entire shindig, as a thoroughly ignorant ass. His questioning was misguided and redundant, and often offensive to the witnesses he interviewed.

And to the delight of his countrymen, Harold Lowe let Smith know it, over and again.

"Frequent tilts between Lowe and Smith," a newspaper reported, "enlivened the proceedings."

Illustrations of Senate Inquiry witnesses, inclding Fifth Officer Lowe (lower right). Illustrated by Lous F. Grant for "The Graphic," circa May 1912.


Lowe began his testimony on April 24, 1912.

It got off on the wrong foot, really, when Senator Smith demanded the Lowe sit differently in his chair. Lowe, already vexed at having to testify to begin with, bristled.

The interview hastily degraded as Smith asked inane questions that merited responses from Lowe like, "I could no more tell you now than fly."

Early on in the testimony, Lowe's tone elicited the following from Senator Smith, who clearly found Lowe’s snarky, defensive responses unnecessary. “Let me say this to you, Mr. Lowe: Nobody is on trial here, and this is not a court; this is an inquiry.”

This helped nothing. The two men bickered frequently.

But their most memorable exchange is easily this.

Senator SMITH. Do you know what an iceberg is composed of?

Mr. LOWE. Ice, I suppose, sir.

The room broke with laughter.

And it did again, when Senator Smith asked about the nature of temperature. Lowe is reported to have over-enunciated his already curt reply.

Senator SMITH. What was the temperature between Southampton and the place of the accident?

Mr. LOWE. The temperature, sir?

Senator SMITH. Exactly. Do you know whether it was cold, or whether it was warm? Was it warm when you left Southampton?

Mr. LOWE. Yes; it was nice weather. I should say it would be about 48.

Senator SMITH. Above zero?

Mr. LOWE. Forty-eight degrees.

Senator Smith also interrogated Lowe about his alcohol consumption, even when Lowe professed himself a teetotaler. All because someone whispered to Senator Smith that Lowe might have been drunk that night.

Lowe's father had been an alcoholic, so he took grave offense to this suggestion. Per contemporary reports, he became flushed and was "extremely angry and spoke the words with some heat."

Senator SMITH. Are you a temperate man?

Mr. LOWE. I am, sir. I never touched it in my life. I am an abstainer.

Senator SMITH. I am very glad to have you say that.

Mr. LOWE. I say it, sir, without fear of contradiction.

Senator SMITH. I am not contradicting you, and I congratulate you upon it; but so many stories have been circulated one has just been passed up to me now, from a reputable man, who says it was reported that you were drinking that night.

The whole thing was such a tense affair that Senator Smith reprimanded Lowe on multiple occasions, chiding him for responding with information that he deemed irrelevant—when in truth, Smith's questions were ignorant, confusing, and often, plainly absurd.

A satirical cartoon of Senator William Alden Smith titled "The Importance of Being Earnest" by David Wilson. Illustrated for "The Graphic" in April 1912.


In contrast, audiences found Lowe irreverent and delightful, and he had many favorable reviews.

He even had fangirls. No, really.

But once Lowe had departed, another survivor's testimony put him in a more negative light; she called his language in the lifeboat "blasphemous" and stated that he must have been drunk to be so profane.

People immediately came forward to defend him against the condemnation, including Rhoda Abbott, who said point-blank that if it hadn't been for Lowe, she would have been dead. "It would have been impossible," she said, "for an officer to show more courtesy and many of the criticisms that have been made against this man are very unjust."

Another survivor, Irene Harris, proclaimed him "the real hero of Titanic."

Harold Lowe's reputation went untarnished. The Senate's Sergeant at Arms, Sheriff Joe Bayliss, spoke thusly of him.

I have never prided myself upon being a prophet, but of this I am positive: When the Titanic disaster has become a matter of history, Harold G. Lowe will occupy the hero's place.

© As cited in "Titanic Valour: The Life of Fith Officer Harold Lowe" by Inger Sheil, 2012.

Harold Lowe returned to the mariner life, serving in the Royal Navy Reserve during the First World War and returning to private ships thereafter.

He also volunteered his home as a sector post during the Second World War and served as an Air Raid Warden.

As an ARW, Lowe ensured blackout protocol was observed, soundeded sirens, and generally safeguarded, evacuated, rescued, and sheltered citizens. A job, I think, that Titanic uniquely suited him to perform.

He died in 1944 of hypertension at the age of 61.

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“Our Babe”: The Mystery of Titanic’s ‘Unknown Child’

"Our Babe": The Mystery of Titanic's 'Unknown Child'

Clifford Crease was 24 years old when he and his crewmates embarked on the grimmest journey of their lives: collecting the dead from Titanic.

The crew of the Mackay-Bennett recovers a Titanic victim.


The Mackay-Bennett arrived to the site on the night of April 19, and saw that there were far more bodies than anyone could have anticipated.

At 6:00 a.m. on April 20, their work began.

All crew on the Mackay-Bennett were required to keep a log or diary of their gruesome task in the wake of Titanic. Only Clifford's, which has been donated, and one other are known to remain in existence.

One by one, small skiff boats were dispatched from the Mackay-Bennett, where they began manually pulling corpses from the water, to describe their faces and rifle through their pockets.

It had already been almost a week that they'd been bobbing in the water, exposed to the elements and ships passing through the massive debris field. Most of the bodies were mangled from the sinking--lacerated, bruised, many with broken bones.

(Please take a moment to reflect on how traumatic this reaping truly was. The men on board the Mackay-Bennett never get the credit they deserve.)

After the third body, a female third-class passenger, had been pulled aboard and catalogued, Clifford Crease's work turned from solemn to sorrowful.

Over the side of the boat, he scooped up a fourth body. Tiny. Blond, ocean-pale, and eerily still. Unlike the corpses all around them, this body was pristine--more doll than person, we might imagine. Clifford cradled the dead baby boy in what seemed like interminable silence.

After searching for identification and finding none, they reverently noted the baby as follows.

CLOTHING - Grey coat with fur on collar and cuffs; brown serge frock; petticoat; flannel garment; pink woolen singlet - brown shoes and stockings.

Clifford and his mates were in shock.

Back on board the Mackay-Bennett, the decision had been made to bury steerage passengers at sea, owing to a lack of space and shortage of embalming fluid. So only the First and Second Classes were embalmed or put on ice and returned to Halifax.

An exception was made for the nameless baby that was "probably third class." No one could bring themselves to commit him to the sea, all alone forever.

After recovering a total of 306 bodies from the site, the Mackay-Bennett returned to Halifax. Bodies were distributed to funeral homes, morgues, and grieving families. Photos were taken. Days passed.

But no one claimed the baby.

Hearses queued at Halifax Wharf, waiting to transport the corpses of Titanic victims to local funeral parlors. Courtesy of Nova Scotia Archives & Records Management (NSARM).


The sailors who had been on board the Mackay-Bennett that nightmarish day then took matters into their own hands and adopted the child in death. Spearheaded by Clifford Crease, they arranged a funeral and pooled their wages for a small coffin and headstone.

In the coffin, they placed a brass plate engraved with two words: "Our babe."

Clifford acted as one of the baby's pallbearers.

The Unknown Child now rested in the Halifax's Fairview Cemetery. Suspecting that his identity might be that of 2-year-old Gosta Palsson, youngest son of Third-Class passenger Alma Palsson, he was interred in close proximity to her grave.

Years went by, and Clifford could never bring himself to forget The Unknown Child. Every year on the anniversary of the sinking, he laid a wreath on the grave.

And when Clifford Crease died in 1961, he was interred mere meters away from the child who had haunted him all of his life.

According to his family, Clifford didn't speak about his grim time on the Mackay-Bennett until the end of his life, prompted by a program he was watching on television about Walter Lord's "A Night to Remember." According to Clifford's granddaughter, "He never fully recovered... He told our father it was the worst thing that ever happened to him."

In 2001, two Canadian scientists named Ryan Parr and Alan Ruffman collaborated in order to find the identity of Titanic's Unknown Child.

They exhumed the remains, but there was nothing left other than a fragment of an arm bone, and three little teeth. Mercifully, the plate laid in the coffin by the crew of the Mackay-Bennett had protected these scarce remains. And miraculously, that was enough.

The remains were not a match to the Palsson family, who had originally given permission for the remains to be disinterred. They expanded the scope of their candidates from among 5 boys under the age of 3 who had died on Titanic.

In addition to Gosta Palsson, there were:

Gilbert Danbom 5 months old, from Sweden

Alfred Peacock 7 months old, from England

Eino Panula 13 months old, from Finland

Sidney Goodwin 19 months old, from England

Eugene Rice 2 years old, from Ireland

With the long-term assistance of geneaologists and historians, as well as willing descendants, Ruffman and Parr tracked down genetic samples from all 5 families of the little boys.

From the candidates remaining after Gosta Palsson was ruled out, 3 were evident non-matches; this left only Sidney Goodwin and Eino Panula as the possible Unknown Child, due to a shared mutation in their mitochondrial DNA.

Looking at the teeth that had been recovered from the grave, the scientists determined that they'd belonged to a child in the 9-15 month range. By process of elimination, Ruffman and Parr published their results: The Unknown Child was 13-month-old Eino, whose family was traveling from Finland.

It was accepted by the majority that the Unknown Child finally had a name.

But some, including Parr and Ruffman, suspected it was the incorrect one.

All because of a pair of shoes.

In 2007, Dr. Parr admitted that they may have made a mistake.

Back in 2002, a man named Earle Northover had donated a pair of brown-leather baby shoes to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. They had belonged, he said, to the Unknown Child.

According to Earle, the wee shoes had been removed from the baby, and saved from destruction by his grandfather Clarence Northover, a sargeant for the Halifax Police Department. Earle wrote the following in his letter to the Museum.

Clothing was burned to stop souvenir hunters but he was too emotional when he saw the little pair of brown, leather shoes about fourteen centimeters long, and didn’t have the heart to burn them. When no relatives came to claim the shoes, he placed them in his desk drawer at the police station and there they remained for the next six years, until he retired in 1918.

The shoes, Dr. Parr thought, were too big for a 13-month-old to wear. So they retested the DNA samples with the U.S. Armed Forces Identification Laboratory, where the team isolated a single, but significant and rare, genetic distinction.

With around a 98% certainty, Parr's team amended their previous results.

Thanks to the little shoes hidden in Sargeant Northover's desk drawer, the Uknown Child was identified as Sidney Goodwin.

Sidney Goodwin, Titanic's Unknown Child.

PUBLIC DOMAIN (taken in 1911)

At 19 months old, Sidney was the youngest of six children. His entire family was traveling from England to America where their father, Frederick, was set to have a new job at the new power station in Niagara Falls.

The Goodwins had planned to set to sail on the S.S. New York, but were transferred to Titanic as a result of the coal miners' strike.

All eight members of the Goodwin family--both parents, and all of their children--died when Titanic sank.

Aside from Sidney, who would spend almost a century unidentified, no member of the Goodwin family was recovered.

Sidney Goodwin's parents and five older siblings circa 1910. The entire family died in the sinking.

PUBLIC DOMAIN (published in UK periodical(s) in 1912)

The Goodwin descendants held a memorial service at the grave of The Unknown Child on August 6, 2008. One by one, they read the name of each child lost on Titanic out loud, ringing a bell for each.

The family elected to leave the headstone installed by the crew of the Mackay-Bennett.

As a Goodwin cousin said in an interview, "The tombstone of the unknown child represents all of the children who perished on the Titanic, and we left it that way."

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Ghost Boats & Lost Souls

Ghost Boats & Lost Souls

Recovery of bodies from Titanic took weeks.

The Canadian vessel Mackay-Bennett was tasked with collecting them, and they were overwhelmed with the job--there were more bodies than the ship could hold.

On board with crew and supplies were a priest and an embalmer.

First-class passengers were embalmed and stored in coffins; second-class, the same except for canvas instead of coffins. Third-class corpses and many crewmembers were buried at sea. Of these 116, only 56 were identified.

Recovery of a Titanic victim by the crew of the Mackay-Bennett.


Out of over 1,500 dead, a total of 328 bodies were found by the Mackay-Bennett, and 306 of those were recovered. Still, this was far more than they had prepared for.

In addition, the bodies were saltwater-bleached, bruised, crushed, with broken limbs and all cut up. The sinking is often portrayed as sanitary, depicting vistims that died frozen but otherwise unharmed.

In truth, it was gruesome.

Captain and crew of the Mackay-Bennett, taken between 1910 and 1915. From the George Grantham Bain Collection, courtesy of the Library of Congress.


Multiple crewmembers of the Mackay-Bennett suffered PTSD for the rest of their lives, including one man named Clifford Crease, who, at the end of his long life, even elected to be interred mere feet from the grave of a Titanic victim whose recovery had irrevocably scarred him. He honored the memory of this unidentified passenger all of his life.

Frederick Hamilton, a cable engineer on Mackay-Bennett, wrote about the reaping in his diary.

The tolling of the bell summoned all hands to the forecastle where thirty bodies are ready to be committed to the deep, each carefully weighed and carefully sewn up in canvas. It is a weird scene, this gathering. The crescent moon is shedding a faint light on us, as the ship lays wallowing in the great rollers. The funeral service is conducted by the Reverent Canon Hind, for nearly an hour the words For as must as it hath pleased - - ' we therefore commit his body to the deep' are repeated and at each interval comes, splash! as the weighted body plunges into the sea, there to sink to a depth of about two miles. Splash, splash, splash.

© Caption.

Even then, there were others to find, and many more that never would be.

Collapsible A had been launched only moments before submersion--so close to, in fact, that it was washed away without the officers being able to pop up its canvas sides.

Thus, even though people found it and boarded it, it had taken on water--so much, in fact, that those people were standing on it were knee-deep in water, and dying.

They did this for hours until they were rescued by Fifth Officer Harold Lowe, who was the only officer to attempt rescue of more people from the water.

Out of the thirty or so survivors who made it to Collapsible A, Officer Lowe found no more than a dozen survivors.

And many frozen corpses.

Fifth Officer Harold Lowe, the only Titanic officer to return for survivors.


Lowe left three bodies in Collapsible A, which he commented on in his characteristically straightforward tone during the United States Senate Inquiry.

As to the three people that I left on her - of course, I may have been a bit hard hearted, I can not say - but I thought to myself, "I am not here to worry about bodies; I am here for life, to save life, and not to bother about bodies," and I left them.

...The people on the raft told me they had been dead some time. I said, "Are you sure they are dead?" They said, "Absolutely sure." I made certain they were dead, and questioned them one and all before I left this collapsible.

On May 13, 1912, the crew of the Oceanic were approximately 200 miles from the wreck site when the spotted a strangely shaped plank in the flat distance. Using binoculars, they realized it wasn't a plank. It was a lifeboat.

And it wasn't vacant.

Sire Shane Leslie, on board Oceanic, recalled, "Orders from the bridge dispatched a lifeboat with an officer and a medical officer. What followed was ghastly."

Collapsible A, boarded by crewmembers of Oceanic on May 13, 1912.

PUBLIC DOMAIN (photo taken prior to 1923)

Six Oceanic crewmen rowed out to meet the partially collapsed Collapsible A.

Slumped within, faces blackened from rot and a month under Atlantic sunlight, were three "unrecognizable" corpses: two firemen, and one wearing a dinner jacket.

According to the firsthand account by Sir Shane Leslie, the arms of one corpse snapped off in the crewmember's hands.

Two sailors could be seen, their hair bleached by exposure to sun and salt, and a third figure, wearing evening dress, flat on the benches. All three were dead and the bodies had been tossing on the Atlantic swell under the open sky ever since it had seen the greatest of ocean liners sink.

The names of the sailors, reported to be firemen, are to date unknown, but the well-dressed corpse was identified: First-class passenger Thomson Beattie, 37, from Canada.

Thomson Beattie, whose body was recovered from Collapsible A on May 13, 1912, one month after Titanic sank.


The Oceanic crew wrapped the three corpses in canvas, said a prayer, and buried them at sea.

Upon hauling the lifeboat on board, the Oceanic discovered something else: a gold wedding ring. Inscribed in its band was "Edvard to Gerda."

It would later come to light that the wedding band belonged to Swedish third-class passenger Elin Gerda Lindell. She and her husband Edvard had boarded Titanic bound for a new life in Hartford, Connecticut.

After sliding down the steepening deck into the ocean, the couple had both made it to Collapsible A.

But Gerda had been too cold, and the others too weak, to pull her aboard. She eventually fell silent and still, and Edvard was forced to let her drift away.

Before he let go, he removed her wedding band.

Gerda Lindell’s wedding band, as displayed in Titanic: The Exhibition in New York City, 2022.

© soliloquism, 2022. Courtesy of #TitanicExhibitionNYC.

According to survivor August Wennerstrom, "Edvard's hair turned all gray in lesser time than 30 minutes".

Edvard died shortly thereafter, bereft at the loss of his wife, and still cradling her wedding ring. It is thought that his body was pushed overboard to lighten the load of the partially submerged Collapsible A, but the wedding ring was dropped in the process.

Neither Edvard nor Gerda Lindell were ever recovered.

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“It’s a CQD, Old Man”: Distress Signals

"It's a CQD, Old Man": Distress Signals

It's been my experience that those who aren't obsessed feel like Titanic sank passively, in spite of logically understanding that they were, of course, calling for help.

Titanic, like any vessel, was equipped with emergency gear. According to the report issued following the sinking, Titanic carried 36 distress rockets. Second-Class passenger Lawrence Beesley wrote of them in his account of the sinking.

"Up it went, higher and higher, with a sea of faces upturned to watch it, and then an explosion that seemed to split the silent night in two, and a shower of stars sank slowly down and went out one by one. And with a gasping sigh one word escaped the lips of the crowd: 'Rockets!'"

Except from "The Loss of the S.S. Titanic" by Lawrence Beesley.

Rockets meant disaster. As one man testified: "A ship isn't going to fire rockets at sea for nothing." The passengers waiting for lifeboats began to panic.

Although, just for fun, here's Lightoller correcting the British Inquiry (and us).

INQUIRY: Now, then, about signals from your boat. You have rockets on board, have you not? Were they fired?
LIGHTOLLER: You quite understand they are termed rockets, but they are actually distress signals; they do not leave a trail of fire.
INQUIRY: Distress signals?
LIGHTOLLER: Yes. I just mention that, not to confuse them with the old rockets, which leave a trail of fire.

Whatever, Lights.

The color of these DISTRESS SIGNALS is sometimes debated--most say white, some say multicolors. I think the latter is probably just a mis-perception from the falling starburst.

Fourth Officer Boxhall set off the distress signals, at intervals of a few minutes each, next to Lifeboat 1 on the starboard side. He said he didn't count how many--most historians accept eight to ten, maybe a dozen. Fifth Officer Lowe said he was "nearly deafened by them" and though he didn't know at the time who was watching alongside him, he was standing next to White Star Chairman Bruce Ismay.

Fourth Officer Joseph Boxhall, who fired Titanic's distress signals.


No one answered the distress signals. But someone saw them.

James Gibson, apprentice on the Californian, testified to the following.

 I then got the binoculars and had just got them focused on the vessel when I observed a white flash apparently on her deck, followed by a faint streak towards the sky which then burst into white stars.

Yes. There was a ship within miles of Titanic--so close that Captain Smith ordered some lifeboats to row for its lights. And it did nothing.

The Californian should and one day might be its own post, but suffice it to say that everything from hypothetical cold-air mirages to the Californian's passive, overly cautious captain prevented it from rescuing Titanic.

The ships each used Morse lights to try to communicate with each other as the sinking progressed, but results on each end were unclear. The captain's reaction to the aforementioned distress signals was that they were probably frivolous "company signals," and to continue trying to reach the ship with the Morse lights. Because of the aforementioned conditions, each message flickered out by one, appeared un-replied to by the other.

But one rescue component is absent from the Californian's efforts to reach Titanic as she sank: the wireless.

And that was because a) the Californian's captain never ordered that it reach out to the mysterious "large liner" via wireless and b) the wireless operator, Cyril Evans, TURNED HIS FREAKING RADIO OFF and went to bed only minutes before Titanic struck the iceberg.

And yet, the Californian crew was aware Titanic was nearby, because earlier in the night (pre-iceberg), the captain had ordered Evans to send a warning to Titanic, once the Californian itself was stopped by ice for the night.

So Evans did send that warning, his second to Titanic over the course of the evening. But he sent it rather unprofessionally, using language that was reserved for casual chats between operators. Meanwhile, the Senior Marconi Operator on Titanic, Jack Phillips, was overtired and working through an enormous backlog of messages that all had to be sent now that the ship was in range of Newfoundland.

Because of this, Evans was "famously rebuked" by Phillips--a moment that I consider to be chronically misrepresented in a sensationalist attempt to assign blame. But I digress.

So after Jack told Cyril to stop interrupting his work, he just listened in on Titanic's transmissions until about 11:25pm. And then he went to sleep until approximately 3:30 a.m.

Titanic, meanwhile, had struck the iceberg at 11:40 p.m.

Junior Marconi Operator Harold Bride, circa 1912.


Jack and Junior Marconi Operator Harold Bride were desperately calling to any ship in proverbial earshot, using the universal distress call "CQD", as well as "SOS". The latter, which was brand new and is so familiar to us today, was not first used by Titanic, despite many rumors. Harold Bride did, however, advised Jack Phillips to use it, joking that it might be their only opportunity to use the newfangled call.

The ships that received and replied to the distress signals included Titanic's sister, Olympic, the Mount Temple, the Frankfurt, the Baltic, the Asian, the Celtic, the Caronia, the Virginian, the Cincinnati, and, of course, the Carpathia.

Illustration of Titanic's wireless and the ships that responded. Originally published on April 17, 1912. Image courtesy of The Atlantic, from The Day Books of Chicago.

PUBLIC DOMAIN (published prior to 1923)

The following are a mere selection of the distress messages sent by Jack Phillips, assisted by Harold Bride. Even in clipped Morse, you can feel the mounting desperation and frustration. As one article recently put it, "It was like trying to organize a rescue by Twitter."

12:17 a.m. CQD CQD SOS Titanic Position 41.44 N 50.24 W. Require immediate assistance. Come at once. We struck an iceberg. Sinking

12:20 a.m. Come at once. We have struck a berg. It's a CQD, old man. Position 41.46 N 50.14 W

12:26 a.m. Yes, come quick!

12:40 a.m. SOS Titanic sinking by the head. We are about all down. Sinking. . .

1:10 a.m. We are in collision with berg. Sinking Head down. 41.46 N. 50.14 W. Come soon as possible

1:10 a.m. Captain says, “Get your boats ready. What is your position?”

1:27 a.m., when Olympic asked, "Are you steering southerly to meet us?" We are putting the women off in the boats

1:30 a.m. We are putting passengers off in small boats

1:30 a.m. Women and children in boats, can not last much longer

1:35 a.m Engine room getting flooded

1:45 a.m. Come as quickly as possible old man: our engine-room is filling up to the boilers

1:50 a.m., when Frankfurt asked, "What is the matter with u?" You are a fool, stdbi - stdbi - stdbi and keep out

Sometime between 2:15 a.m. and 2:20 a.m., this last message is caught SOS SOS CQD CQD Titanic. We are sinking fast. Passengers are being put into boats. Titanic

© Caption.

Calls from Titanic were crackled and broken as power was diminished and inevitably lost, but Phillips kept at it. Phillips and Bride remained at their posts until water was flooding the wheelhouse nearby--yes, the last possible second, and well after Captain Smith had ordered them to abandon their posts.

Distress signal to S.S. Birma.


Even when the two Marconi operators knew--better than anyone else--that there was NO hope of a ship reaching Titanic in time, it was reported by a station officer that there was "never a tremor" in Phillips' Morse transmissions as Titanic went down.

Harold Bride survived the sinking. Jack Phillips did not.

Jack Phillips, Senior Marconi Operator on Titanic.


It was the sudden silence of Titanic's wireless radio that clued in New York Times editor Carr Van Anda that something was gravely wrong. While other papers hedged, the New York Times headline on April 15, 1912, announced what no one wanted to: Titanic was gone.

New York Times dated April 15, 1912.


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