Cunard SS Co. Ltd.,
April 27th, 1912
At 12.35 am (ship's time) April 15th (Monday), 1912, I was called by the 1st Officer in company with Marconi operator and informed that the White Star Line R.M.S. "Titanic" was sending out urgent distress signals by wireless, that she had struck ice and required immediate assistance, also giving position of "Titanic" as Lat 41 degrees 46 minutes N, Long 50 degrees 14 minutes W.
I immediately ordered the "Carpathia" turned round, sent for the Chief Engineer, made out course and found we were then S 52 degrees ?? true, 58 miles from "Titanic." Also sent wireless to "Titanic" saying we were coming to his assistance.
The "Carpathia" was then on a voyage from New York to Mediterranean ports, with passengers, mail and cargo. I gave Chief Engineer instructions to turn out another watch of stokers and to make all speed possible.
I then ordered all our boats prepared and swung out ready for lowering. Interviewed the head officials of each department, giving them all instructions I considered necessary to meet any emergency and had 'all hands' called.
The night was beautifully fine, but cold.
At 2.40 am saw green flare-up half a point on port bow, (White Star Line Co's signal, and taking this to be the ship I im-
mediately had rockets fired in answer, having previously given orders to fire rockets at 3 am, and each quarter hour after.
A few minutes after seeing the first flare-up we saw our first iceberg (having to alter course several times from then on until our arrival on scene of disaster) to avoid icebergs.
We kept good bearings of the flare-up, which was seen about every quarter of an hour or so, and answered with rockets and also with Cunard Co. night signals. (Roman candles throwing out stars).
At 4 am stopped the ship, and at 4.10 am got first boat alongside the ship with officer in charge.
By the time the first boat was cleared it was breaking day, we could then see we were surrounded by icebergs large and small and later saw extensive field of ice close to.
On the officer coming aboard he reported Titanic foundered.
(Private holding, Ireland)
Arthur Henry Rostron
Private acquisition, Dublin.
Cite this page
(1912) Captain Rostron's handwritten account of the disaster. Encyclopedia Titanica (ref: #2802, accessed 28th June 2017 09:32:44 AM) URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/captain-rostrons-handwritten-account-disaster.html
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Added to Encyclopedia Titanica Friday 30th April 2004, last updated Sunday 2nd April 2017.