Friday, January 16, 2009

Titanic Radio Rescue - Updated

Ask Scott(KD5NJR) about the Titanic Museum in Branson.

The name Harold Bride might mean nothing to most people, but hundreds of people owe their lives to him. He was only twenty-two years old as he applied for a job that would make him both a hero, and a legend. He was the assistant "Wireless Telegraph (Radio) Operator" aboard the newest ship, and the new pride of the "White Star Line" transoceanic passenger ship line, "The R.M.S. Titanic." She was considered to be the safest sea-going vessel ever built, eight-hundred, and eighty-two, an one-half feet long, ninety-two, and one-half feet wide, she displaced sixty-six thousand tons of water, she was one hundred, and seventy-five feet tall, and had sixteen watertight compartments. Her builders insisted that she would remain afloat if even up to five of those compartments somehow filled with water. Bride boarded her at South Hampton, England, for her maiden voyage to New York City, on 10 April 1912, and served under First Wireless Officer George Phillips, and Captain John Edward Smith. She carried two-thousand-two hundred, and seven passengers, and crew, even though she carried only life rafts capable of carrying one thousand-one hundred, and seventy-eight souls. Many famous people crowded the rails as she set sail, and since "Wireless Telegraph" was a new "Novelty," both Phillips, and Bride were kept busy with the messages being sent to shore from the people aboard, wishing that their friends, and relatives were there with them. Four days after the voyage, on 14 April, the radio broke down early in the day, and Phillips told Bride to turn in while he fixed it. He got the radio fixed, and was continuing to send these messages, when he received a warning from the ocean liner "Californian" warning that ice bergs had drifted into the shipping lanes. Phillips told the radio operator to shut up, that he was busy sending messages from those aboard to the receiving station at Cape Race, Nova Scotia. Forty minutes later, "Titanic" struck one of these bergs, tearing a huge hole in her side, and began taking on water. Bride awoke, and offered to help. The captain appeared, and told them to start sending S.O.S. instead of C.Q.D. Phillips was able to contact "Californian" only ten miles away, and then "Carpathia" while bride continued to signal S.O.S. Phillips sent Bride to find the captain, and to report that "Carpathia," and "Olympic" were both heading towards them. Bride returned to the radio room, which by now was filling with water, and just in time to see a sailor from the boiler area fighting with Phillips for his life vest. Brine hit the man with something that he found, and drug Phillips to safety. Spotting the last life raft, and several men trying to free it from its mounting, Bride started to assist when a big wave came awash, and pushed the life raft into the sea. Bride held on, and found himself in the water, beneath the raft. He righted the raft, and started pulling men aboard. He found Phillips, who had died from the wounds inflicted by the sailor, and the icy cold water. Bride was taken aboard "Carpathia" and even put to work in the radio room, after he warmed up a bit. He gave his statement when he arrived in New York,

Ron Lancaster (KB5VDB)


KD5NJR said...

I enjoyed seeing the antique radio gear at the Titanic museum in Branson. And to think that he signaled for help on a spark-gap transmitter. This was before vacuum tubes and AM.

Stan(KE5LEP) said...

I have driven past the Titanic Museum in Branson.
Looks like I need to put it on my things to see list.