News from 1931: Capt Rostron receives £20,000 reward

Mark Baber

Jul 4, 2000
The Evening Post (Wellington), 21 November 1931
Retrieved from the National Library of New Zealand web site,


A reward of £20,000, earned by a man nearly twenty years ago, has just been
paid in London. This remarkable incident is a sequel to the appalling
disaster to the White Star liner Titanic at 2.30 a.m. on Monday, 15th April,
1912. The lucky man to whom the £20,000 has been given is Sir Arthur
Rostron, the famous Cunard Line captain, who at the time of the appalling
tragedy was master of the steam ship Carpathia, another of the mammoth
liners of the day.

The Carpathia was the only boat to reach the scene in time to save life, and
managed to drag 703 people from the ice-cold water-all that were saved from
a total of 2206 on board. Later the survivors, headed by members of the
wealthy Astor family (Colonel J. J. Astor was one of the drowned), collected
a purse to present to Sir Arthur Rostron as an appreciation of his prompt
and gallant dash to the rescue. The move met with wonderful support, partly
due, no doubt, to the widespread bitterness felt at the time towards the
captain of another boat that was only a few miles away from the Titanic when
she flashed out her frenzied SOS messages, but who allegedly ignored the

At an inquiry the captain of this boat -the Californian-was censured by the
Board of Trade for not pushing through the ice to the relief of the
distressed vessel, but he denied that the signals he saw were signals of
distress. When the handsome testimonial had been collected and all was ready
for the presentation it was discovered that under the regulations of the
Cunard Company Sir Arthur would be unable to accept it while in its active
service. The money was thereupon deposited in a New York bank as an
investment at compound interest until the time when the gallant captain
would cease to "go down to the sea in ships."

Recently, after 30 years' service, Sir Arthur retired, and although in the
intervening time the ranks of the donors of nearly a score of years ago have
been thinned by death, those remaining did not forget and handed over the
money. The testimonial, like wine, has improved with keeping. It came from
the bank a bulkier parcel than it went in-a sum of £20,000.

And to Sir Arthur it was more or less of a surprise. When the impending
presentation was noised about England in May last he told a questioner that
he "knew nothing about it."

Apr 27, 2003
Hello Mark Many thanks for this article. I found it most interesting indeed.
By coincidence on Friday next, 25th November 2011 there is a little ceremony due to take place with the unveiling of a Road Name plate to Captain Rostron.
In the little village of West End on the outskirts of Southampton there is a new Flats / Road development in Chalk Hill, and it is to be called Rostron Close in memory of the good Captain who lived in a big house nearby.

The inscription is to be:


Sir Arthur Henry Rostron K.B.E, R.D., R.N.R. (1869 - 1940) lived in Chalk Hill.

Captain of RMS Carpathia, which rescued 705 survivors from SS Titanic 15 April 1912

Your article has been received with great interest.
Best wishes


Mark Baber

Jul 4, 2000
Quite welcome, Brian. I posted the New Zealand article because it's the only one I've found so far. There seems to have been no mention of it in The Times or any of the US papers that are online. This must have been something The Evening Post picked up from somewhere---I suspect it was a UK paper---but I haven't found it yet.

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