Vivid Description is Given of Historic Marine Disaster
RODEO April 14 :- One of Mrs.Bertie Pickett's most treasured possessions is a yellowed, tattered newsclipping, 33 years old - her death notice.
Mrs Pickett, who, with her husband,operates a Rodeo auto court and service station, was believed to be among the 1518 persons lost when the liner "Titanic" sank the night of April 15 1912 after a collission with an iceber in the North Atlantic.
More than a quarter century later the tiny gray haired woman vividly recalls the heart-rending scenes as families were torn apart in full realizationthat they would never be reunited alive; the six hours in Lifeboat No.13 fighting the waves and the bitter cold; the pathetic bravery of a cabin boy's band playing "Nearer My God to Thee" on the deck until the liner dipped deeply and sank.
FREAK OF FATE
The 705 rescued, mostly women and children, were saved by a freak of fate. Mrs. Pickett learned on the rescue ship "Carpathia". Seconds before the "Titanic's" wireless operator ended a routine conversation with the radioman on the "Carpathia" to sign off for the night, the sickening jar was felt and an order for an SOS flash came through from the bridge. First thought on the rescue ship that the signal was a grim jest was speedily corrected when an urgent message followed.
"Come at once. We've stuck a berg, it's CQP old man". At that time, CQD was the recognized signal of distress. The Carpathia altered its course from the Meditteranean and span at full steam toward the stricken liner.
BURIALS AT SEA
One hour after the last survivor had been hauled aboard the rescue liner "a terrific ice floe descended and giant waves were washing over the deck..." Mrs. Pickett remembered.
Hardest of all to bear were the burials at sea for those who died of exposure and pneumonia. During the first day after the rescue, six died. The prayer service that afternoon for the dead "was one I can neve forget..."
Mrs Picket, then Miss Annie Perrault of Montreal, was traveling with a party of eight, three of whom were drowned. She describes acts of superb heroism on the decks of the doomed ship.
More than the Titanic disaster however. Mrs Pickett wanted to talk of her son Sgt. Ernest T. pickett, 26. An Army Air Corp officer in the aviation supply division, he completes four years in the servcie this month in New Guinea. He wears the Good Conduct and Sharpshooting Medals.
The picket family came to Rodeo from Trenton, New Jersey eight years ago. Mrs. Pickett is a native of Gaspe Basin, Quebec, Province, Canada.
One lasting result of the harrowing "Titanic" experience, Mrs. Pickett says with a chuckle, is that she learned not to be superstitious.
"If I'd known that Lifeboat was No.13. I'd never have climbed aboard," she confessed.