RECALLS 46 YEARS AT SEA
Carpathia's Former Master, in New Autobiography, Describes "Most Memorable Night" of Career
If the wireless S 0 S signal broadcasting the first warning that the liner Titanic had struck an iceberg and was sinking with more than 2,000 persons on board had been sent out two minutes later, the Carpathia, which saved 706 of the survivors, would not have had the call and would have been unable to go to the rescue, Sir Arthur H. Rostron writes in his autobiographical volume, "Home From the Sea," to be published today by Macmillan. Sir Arthur, now retired commodore of the Cunard Line, was master of the Carpathia at the time of the Titanic sinking.
Sir Arthur, recalling his adventures at sea over a period of forty-six eventful years, writes that the sinking of the Titanic marked "the most drastic and memorable night of my career." The Carpathia at the time of the disaster had just installed an amateurish wireless set with a limited range. It carried only one operator, who was off duty after midnight. On the night of the tragedy the operator had been at his dials until 12:30 o'clock and had just decided that it was time to turn in. He had stooped down to unlace his boots with the ear phones still on his head, preparatory to retiring, when the dread call came in, saying: S O S Titanic calling. We have struck ice and require immediate assistance."
In his tribute to the skill and courage of the wireless operator of the Carpathia, Sir Arthur says that "if that officer had not been keen on his job many of the 700-odd lives we were able to save that night might have been added to the appalling list of dead that marks the Titanic disaster as the greatest in maritime history.
Another chance event prevented saving of the entire passenger list of the Titanic. Sir Arthur explains that the Carpathia arrived at the scene of the disaster at 4 o'clock in the morning. The Titanic had disappeared into the sea at 2:30, an hour and a half earlier. If the Carpathia had been about twenty-five miles nearer to the Titanic, Sir Arthur points out, there might have been no loss of life.
Two good results have followed the of the Titanic, Sir Arthur explains. One reason far the great loss of life was the insufficiency of life boats. Now regulation calls for enough life boats on each vessel with accommodations for every member of crew and passenger list. The organization of a constant ice patrol, supported by both Britain and America, is cited as another advantage resulting from the disaster.
Sir Arthur's book is illustrated by several heretofore unpublished photographs of the Titanic disaster.
Arthur Henry Rostron
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(1931) RECITES CLOSE CALL OF TITANIC RESCUENew York Times (ref: #3473, accessed 7th March 2015 12:06:07 AM)
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Added to Encyclopedia Titanica Tuesday 17th August 2004, last updated Saturday 7th March 2015.