Newly Discovered SOS Telegram in Texas Proves Titanic Owners May Have Lied


KDS73

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Distress telegram from Titanic for sale in Texas, offers new details on famous sinking ship


Distress telegram from Titanic for sale in Texas, offers new details on famous sinking ship - San Antonio Express-News


A newly-discovered distress telegram sent from the Titanic in its moments of peril may disprove long held claims made by its navigation company that they were unaware of the impending disaster.

The historic item will be selling in a Dallas auction this Saturday.
Texas-based Heritage Auctions, dubbed the “world’s largest collectibles auctioneer,” is offering the 103-year-old telegram sent to the White Star Line on April 15, 1912, the night of the sinking, with an opening bid of $20,000.

The Marconi message saying, “To Mr. P.A. Franklin, White Star Steamship Co. 9 Broadway, NYC. CQD, CQD SOS SOS= From MGY (RMS Titanic)= We Have Struck Iceberg= Sinking Fast= Come to our Assistance= Position: Lat 41.46 N.= Lon 50.14 W. MGY,” was sent from the ship to Phillip A.S. Franklin, vice president and manager of the White Line Star Manhattan office, according to the auction site.

Heritage offered a history behind the debacle surrounding the telegram, which makes the seemingly simple sheet of paper all the more intriguing.
In the hearings that followed the disaster and deaths of 1,503 people, Franklin swore under oath that he never received reports while the tragedy unfolded. He claimed he didn't hear the official news until 6:16 the next day when White Star Line General Manager J. Bruce Ismay contacted him from the Carpathia, the rescue ship, according to Heritage.

During his testimony, he said there was “…not a word or communication of any kind or description,” Heritage said on the site. He also said the “trouble” with the telegrams he did receive was that they “did not have a time on them.”
 

Mark Baber

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I wonder how a Marconi wireless message from a ship at sea to its New York office would wind up on a Western Union telegram form and why it would be addressed to the "White Star Steamship Co." rather than to the "White Star Line."
 

Jim Currie

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I am tempted to swear but I'm too polite for that. Let me simply go on record as saying that those who are selling this item are either incredibly, naive, greedy or simply stupid.

First of all. not even Captain Smith was aware of an impending disaster.

Most important: Why on God's green earth would the captain (at least a sane one) of any ship send an urgent cry for help to a New York office which would be closed at 10-25 in the evening?
Think about it. If such a telegramme was sent.. where would the telegraph boy deliver it to? What would said boy do with it when he found the Broadway Office closed? Just suppose, there was someone in that office.. what would that person do with it?
Additionally, Such a message would have been routed via Cape Race or another ship and the relay station would most certainly have added a time and date to it.

This is one of the silliest claims about Titanic I have ever read. If someone buys that bit of rubbish then the adage " a fool and his money are easily parted" fits the bill perfectly.

Jim C.
 

Alex F

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Such a message would have been routed via Cape Race or another ship and the relay station would most certainly have added a time and date to it.

Jim C.
Only station in contact with Cape Race was SS Virginian.
They erased the message "Struck Iceberg" in the wireless log (Proces Verbal). Why?
The copy of Virginian log has been deleted from Marconi Museum Site. Why?
The times in the Virginian log were 20 minutes shifted and as per their version the Titanic was sending SOS even after she sunk. Why?

PS The log of Cape Race disappered.

BR
Alex
 

Alex F

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A ship in distress does not send a telegram addressed to the VP of a shipping company asking for assistance. Of course such a message would have zero priority over real distress messages being sent out.
Of course low priority. That is why Mr. Franklin received distress message at 02.30 Monday morning.

Q. I want to get particularly to this point. The Virginian communicated with Cape Race and Cape Race communicated with Montreal and Montreal communicated with Mr. Franklin over the telephone at 2.30 Monday morning? - A. (By Mr. Franklin.) I called them up about 2.30 and they replied at about 3.30. I told them of the rumor already heard from the Associated Press, and they advised me - about 3.30 - that they had the same rumor in Montreal.
SOS message is of highest priority. CQ means to All Stations.

As per SS Birma the first actual message received from the Titanic was:

CQD SOS de MGY = We Have Struck Iceberg = Sinking Fast = Come to our Assistance = Position Lat 41.46 N.= Lon 50.14 W. MGY.”

Whom was it sent to?

Did the stations relay it to other stations and informed their Management?

BR
Alex
 

Scott Mills

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My gods! If this is real, it raises my hope that many questions that we, or at least I, have about Titanic and what she communicated to whom that night can still be answered! Sleuthing 104 year old telegraph messages does not seem to be a task likely of success; at least on it's surface.
 

Scott Mills

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Only station in contact with Cape Race was SS Virginian.
They erased the message "Struck Iceberg" in the wireless log (Proces Verbal). Why?
The copy of Virginian log has been deleted from Marconi Museum Site. Why?
The times in the Virginian log were 20 minutes shifted and as per their version the Titanic was sending SOS even after she sunk. Why?

PS The log of Cape Race disappered.

BR
Alex
I'm curious about this. Titanic was clearly in range of Cape Race, and earlier that evening communicating with that station. So how is it that Virginian is the only ship in contact with Cape Race that night? Do you mean that Virginian was the only ship directing messages specifically at cape race? I also did not know that Cape Race's log disappeared... that's very, very interesting--to put some context to this interest, I've maintained for years that there is a chance that Titanic herself was responsible for the Halifax message.

Re: why would this be communicated to White Star. The answer here is simple, but has a few parts:

1. Are we sure that no telegraph messages were sent by Titanic after the collision, about the collision, prior to the CQD/Distress call?
2. Things have changed a bit since 1912, but not much. You are talking about a potential message, directly from Titanic--the newest most advanced ocean liner in the world--to her owners communicating distress. There is nothing "simple distress at sea" about that, and protocol could very well have gone out the door as a result.
 

Alex F

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I'm curious about this. Titanic was clearly in range of Cape Race, and earlier that evening communicating with that station. So how is it that Virginian is the only ship in contact with Cape Race that night? Do you mean that Virginian was the only ship directing messages specifically at cape race? I also did not know that Cape Race's log disappeared... .
The transmitter of the Virginian was weak. The range (as per government document, Wireless Telegraph Stations of the World, January 1, 1912) was 85 miles. The same range had transmitters of SS Caronia, SS Carpathia, SS Baltic, SS Celtic, SS Mount Temple.


The so called "log" of Cape Race is a fiction, not log at all.

The log should contain primary records. e.g. "CQD, CQD SOS SOS= From MGY= We Have Struck Iceberg= Sinking Fast= Come to our Assistance= Position: Lat 41.46 N.= Lon 50.14 W. MGY.” Not free description with comments for public.

The range of Cape Race was 350 miles. The Titanic was 380 miles from Cape Race, out of her normal range, so the signals were not louder than whispering.

What we see in the “log”:
1) the Titanic contacted Californian 20 minutes after first CQD. Good idea!

2) The Caronia (438 miles from the Titanic or 38? + 350 miles = 788 miles from the Cape Race was circulating news to Baltic and other ships. Not bad!

3) The Cape Race changed operators every 5 minutes. First CQD was received by child, estimating distance from the Titanic as 380 nm SSE, then he was able to calculate in mind 6 nm distance from previous coordinates, then Gray is on duty (10:40), then RH is on duty 10:45. Hmm… Interesting.

I think the value of the “log” of Cape Race is the single phrase in it:

“10:43 pm
Titanic gives same information to Californian, giving Titanic's position.”
BR
Alex
 

Scott Mills

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Questions:

1. So, there is no log, and never was, other than basic notations "one ship contacted another, this ship signaled distress," etc?
1a. How were transmissions recorded to be passed on then? For example, Titanic working Cape Race with passenger messages for shore, which I assume need to be further relayed. Was a record of these private messages to be relayed kept?
2. The operator at Cape Race changed every 5 minutes? That's a lot of operators you need to go through in a night. I assume it was one group of operators, say 4 or so, playing hot potato with the operator duties?
3. Wouldn't it be rather difficult for Titanic to be "working cape race" with passenger messages half the evening if communications were on the extreme end of the range scale?
 

turricaned

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1. So, there is no log, and never was, other than basic notations "one ship contacted another, this ship signaled distress," etc?
There was no single unified log - the document in question seems to be a set of notes kept for personal use. The individual messages were collected later on.

1a. How were transmissions recorded to be passed on then? For example, Titanic working Cape Race with passenger messages for shore, which I assume need to be further relayed. Was a record of these private messages to be relayed kept?
As far as I can tell, individual messages received were kept on single slips of paper by the receiving operator and passed on for use accordingly. The Marconi Company was asked by the British Board Of Trade very early on to collect these individual messages for use in the inquiry, so it's likely that the record we have of transmissions received from Titanic come from this source.

3. Wouldn't it be rather difficult for Titanic to be "working cape race" with passenger messages half the evening if communications were on the extreme end of the range scale?
The nominal working range of Titanic's Marconigraph was apparently 650 miles - however this was the expected norm for daytime operations. At night, the range of equipment similar to that installed on Titanic had been known to extend to up to *2000* miles given favourable atmospheric conditions.

[ Marconi Installation in Titanic ]
[ Notes ]

In an interesting echo of the advances of today's computer and communications technology, in the year that had passed between Olympic's Marconi installation and that of her sister, the wireless technology had already progressed to the next generation - a "rotary spark" setup as opposed to the "plain spark" setup on Oly. This had interesting knock-on effects - firstly, that Titanic almost certainly had the most powerful ship-board wireless apparatus on the North Atlantic that night - almost double the range of her sister's - and secondly, unlike the famous "buzz" generated by plain-spark equipment, the rotary-spark system generated a distinct tone. This latter fact is important because Titanic's "voice" would have been completely different to every other ship out there - it would have been impossible for a receiving operator to mistake her transmissions as having come from anywhere else.
 

Alex F

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The nominal working range of Titanic's Marconigraph was apparently 650 miles - however this was the expected norm for daytime operations. At night, the range of equipment similar to that installed on Titanic had been known to extend to up to *2000* miles given favourable atmospheric conditions.

[ Marconi Installation in Titanic ]
[ Notes ]


Hi,

The "musical" tone of sparks - yes. But the range of the transmitter depends on POWER and WAVE length used MAINLY (and the sensitivity of the receiving part at the opposite end as well). The distinct tone has little effect on range vs power&wave length.

Official listed range of the Titanic was 250 nm, (Wireless Telegraph Stations of the World: January 1, 1912). The Olympic - 340 nm, The Cape Race - 350 nm.


As you refer in NOTES:


Back

70 TO 300 NAUTICAL MILES.—Olympic's range was officially listed at 350 NM. Titanic's range was listed at almost double that (650 NM), thanks in large part to the additional range that the musical note of the rotary spark apparatus enjoyed over that of the rough spark produced by the plain spark apparatus.
Back
300 AND 600 METRES.—Often referred to as the "short" and "long" wave, respectively. The short wave was not often used; in fact, there is no evidence to suggest that Titanic ever transmitted on the short wave, except possibly during her initial check-out. Operating the short wave required the condensers and transformer to be configured in series, the spark gap widened, and an extra condenser inserted into the transmitting circuit, through a second earth arrestor. This was done to match the transmitting wave with the natural frequency of the long aerial.

What do you think was the natural frequency of the antenna (WAVE LENGTH) of the Titanic?:)

Say, the horizontal part of the T-antenna of the Titanic was 120 meters, and the vertical part of the T-wire was about 30 meters.

60 meters (half of 120 meters) + 30 meters = 90 meters.

Natural wavelength of the Titanic antenna is 90 meters x 4 = 360 meters.

The resonance of spark transmitters depends on Natural wave of the antenna mainly.

BR
Alex
 

turricaned

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With the greatest respect, good luck going up against Parks Stephenson, as I know of few more comprehensively knowledgable folk on the matter!

To be fair, in January 1912, Titanic's apparatus would have been listed with the *theoretical* range as opposed to what was tested and proven (bearing in mind she had yet to go to sea) - and let's be honest, any engineer worth their salt will tend to be a bit conservative with their calculations, so that when it turns out the product overdelivers, they get extra kudos.

The main thing I was getting at was the extended range at night, which would presumably have been why Bride and Phillips were working furiously to send passenger Marconigrams at such a late hour - because they could get a stable signal to/from Cape Race that night.
 

Jim Currie

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I know you lads are enjoying this but you really must look at this in the cold light of day.

When Titanic sent her first and second distress calls, these were calls for help. Captain Smith did not know his ship was sinking. He did what every captain does.. called for help. Incidentally, you might not know this, but at that time, he need not have accepted a particular offer of help or indeed any offer of help. The point here is that there was no way any captain would send a call for help to his office. The two original CQDs did not contain the word 'sinking'. It was 23 minutes after the second CQD before he word 'sinking' was included in wireless message exchanges.

As for wireless equipment ranges.. look-up Sky Wave.

Jim C.
 

Alex F

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As for wireless equipment ranges.. look-up Sky Wave.

Jim C.
Jim, at daytime the range of the Titanic transmitter was max 150 - 350 nm. D-layer absorbs skywave at daytime almost fully. Can you prove your 650nm by any message received from/sent to Cape Race by the Titanic on 14/1 at daytime? Don't make me laugh.:eek:

BR
Alex
 

Alex F

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This page gives a summary of what Marconi submitted to the BoT inquiry: THE TITANIC RADIO PAGE

Cape Race (MCE) appears to be in direct contact with Titanic at 00:15 and 00:25.
00:15 is night time, when D-layer dissapears and range of communication a little bit increases.
The Radio page you refer is bull sheet.

00:15 - Titanic sends position to Frankfurt. Frankfurt says "OK: stand by"
First contact of the Frankfurt with the Titanic actually was: The signal level is strong, good (G), no any records of CQD received, "Titanic bound west. Nil (nothing important)"

BR
Alex

PS None contacts of MSE with the Titanic was neither at 00:15, nor 00:25. The staff of MCE was smoking outside as Cape Cod was sending Atlantic Bulletin to the Titanic at the moment and the Titanic should receive it.
 

Jim Currie

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[QUOTE=Alex F;378029]Jim, at daytime the range of the Titanic transmitter was max 150 - 350 nm. D-layer absorbs skywave at daytime almost fully. Can you prove your 650nm by any message received from/sent to Cape Race by the Titanic on 14/1 at daytime? Don't make me laugh.:eek:


You lost me there friend. I thought this was about the ridiculous claim that Titanic sent a distress message to head office, New York? If so then read back. I think the claim in question is bogus.

However, the claim was that it was sent in the early hours of the morning of April 14. That being so then the range of all transmitter would be vastly increased over the day time range. As for what Cape Race said or did not say. Here's an extract from Day 13 of the US InquirY. Did these newspapers get it all wrong?:

"14995. Can you tell the committee how you were first apprised of this catastrophe, and from whom you obtained your information?
- The first information we had - I speak of the Associated Press - came in two dispatches during the night of Sunday and Monday, April 14 and 15. These two dispatches came from the Marconi station at Cape Race. I shall be very glad to furnish you the dispatches themselves.

I have in my hand a copy of the Anaconda (Mont.) Standard of Monday morning, April 15, containing the two dispatches to which I refer. They are merged in one, but they read as follows:

CAPE RACE, NEW BRUNSWICK,
Sunday night, April 14.

At 10:25 o'clock to-night the White Star Line steamship Titanic called "C.Q.D" to the Marconi wireless station here, and reported having struck an iceberg. The steamer said that immediate assistance was required.

Half an hour afterwards another message came, reporting that they were sinking by the head, and that women were being put off in the lifeboats.

The weather was calm and clear, the Titanic's wireless operator reported, and gave the position of the vessel as 41.46 north latitude and 50.14 west longitude.

The Marconi station at Cape Race notified the Allan liner Virginian, the captain of which immediately advised that he was proceeding for the scene of the disaster.

The Virginian at midnight was about 170 miles distant from the Titanic and expected to reach that vessel about 10 a.m. Monday.

The Olympic at an early hour this Monday morning was in latitude 40.32 north and longitude 61.18 west. She was in direct communication with the Titanic and is now making all haste toward her.

The steamship Baltic also reported herself as about 200 miles east of the Titanic and was making all possible speed toward her. The last signals from the Titanic were heard by the Virginian at 12.27 a.m.

The wireless operator on the Virginian says these signals were blurred and ended abruptly."


That information, while no doubt dramatised for public consumption, contains the essential facts and was in the public domain withing hours of the disaster. Still laughing?

Incidentally; Titanic was in touch with Port Said, Egypt while on the Irish Coast. Her operator, Bride, who was there, said her daytime range was 400 miles, not 350.

"2282. How far could you communicate, with that apparatus?
- During the daytime we reckoned to be able to do 400 miles.
When you say "no limit," sir, we are talking about freak messages which you can get. We were lying off Linton when we came around Belfast, when we exchanged the last message with Teneriffe and Port Said."

Jim C
 

Alex F

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The Marconi station at Cape Race notified the Allan liner Virginian, the captain of which immediately advised that he was proceeding for the scene of the disaster.

The Virginian at midnight was about 170 miles distant from the Titanic and expected to reach that vessel about 10 a.m. Monday.
Night time and day time - two different things. If you are talking about occasional "freak messages" to Port Said and Tenerife, it might happened only at night time. 400 miles for the Titanic at day time is too much. Even with 5 KW transmitter.

Let's see what happened at night.

The Virginian was about 170 miles distant from the Titanic. They were receiving the Atlantic Bulletin from Cape Cod from 10pm till 10:39.
There was a record in the PV of the Virginian:

14 April 1912

10.39 Press on hand.
then next entry:

11.10 Hear MGY calling CQ and giving his position as 41.46 N 50.14 W
Between those two entries (10:39 and 11:12) one can discern words deleted (erased) - iceberg and immediately after 50.14W.

Then they corrected 10:39 tо 11:00.

10:39 11:00 MCC's (Cape Cod) signals are scarcerly audible. Unable to read a single word.
and then first contact with MCE (Cape Race):

11.12 Call MGY but get no response. MCE then calls me and asked me report to Capt that Titanic struck iceberg and require immediate assistance.
Meantime, it (chatting between the Virginian and Cape Race, MCE) happened on the same frequency, at the same time, when the Titanic was shouting for help, SOS CQD!!! and over the Titanic LOUD (170 miles!!!) signals.

Who was advised whom? The Virginian about sinking Titanic to the Cape Race? Or the Cape Race to Virginian?

The Marconi station at Cape Race notified the Allan liner Virginian, the captain of which immediately advised that he was proceeding for the scene of the disaster.
Did these newspapers get it all wrong?:

BR
Alex
 

Jim Currie

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First: The Virginian log sheet shows that at 9-45pm EST Titanic was in continuous contact with Cape Race.
Since Titanic's clocks were 2 hours 02 minutes FAST of EST then the equivalent time on her bridge would have been 11-47 pm. April 14.
The most important entry in the Virginian's Process verbal is the fact that her Operator did not hear Titanic calling , CQ -note - not CQD- until 11-10pm EST. That would have been 12 minutes past 1 am, April 15 on Titanic's bridge. By that time, some of the lifeboats were already in the water. If you want mystery - think about that!

As for your other mystries:

The PV scrap log page was ruled. The entries were made in lead pencil. I cannot see evidence of any erasing, I do see the alteration to the time. That was a very common mistake in such a rough log. I've done it myself.
Second: The most blatant error of either notation or morse reading. By 11 -Titanic was transmitting CQD,, not CQ which is simply a call for All Ships
Third,and most important, the newspaper report appeared in the Morning edition of April 15.
The newspaper would have been 'put to bed' in the early hours of April 15. All stories including breaking news would be in there. The report is very specific about the time of 10-25 pm and an interval of 30 minutes thereafter when the word sinking appears. If you look at the PVs of other vessels, you will see that these times closely follow the pattern of signals that night. There is only one place that paper could have got their information from... Cape Race.

Jim C.
 

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