Encyclopedia Titanica

Statement by Harold Bride

New York Times

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The following thrilling statement was dictated today by Mr. Bride, the assistant Marconi operator on board the Titanic, to the New York Times representative, in the presence of Mr. Marconi, who is now staying in New York:

"I joined the Titanic at Belfast. I was born in Nunhead, London, S. E. , twenty-two years ago, and joined the Marconi staff last July. I first worked on the Haverford, and then on the Lusitania, and was transferred to the Titanic at Belfast. I didn't have much to do aboard the Titanic, except to relieve Phillips, the senior operator, from midnight until some time in the morning, when he finished sleeping." "There were three rooms in the wireless cabin. One was a sleeping room, one a dynamo room, and one an operating room. I took off my clothes and went to sleep in the bed. Then I was conscious of waking up and hearing Phillips sending to Cape Race. I read what he was sending. It was only routine matter. I remembered how tired he was, and got out of bed without my clothes on to relieve him. I didn't even feel the shock. I hardly knew it had happened until after the captain had come to us. There was no jolt whatever. "

The Help Signal, "C.Q.D."

"I was standing by Phillips, telling him to go to bed, when the captain put his head in the cabin, 'We've struck an iceberg,' the captain said, 'and I'm having an inspection made to tell what it has done for us. You had better get ready to send out a call for assistance, but don't send it until I tell you. ' The captain went away, and in ten minutes, I should estimate, he came back. We could hear terrible confusion outside, but not the least thing to indicate any trouble. The wireless was working perfectly. 'Send a call for assistance', ordered the captain, barely putting his head in the door. 'What call should I send?' Phillips asked. 'The regulation international call for help, just that. ' Then the captain was gone. " "Phillips began to send 'C.Q.D.' He flashed away at it, and we joked while he did so. All of us made light of the disaster. We joked that way while we flashed the signals for about five minutes. Then the captain came back. 'What are you sending?' he asked. 'C.Q.D. ,'Phillips replied. "

Joking About the Collision

"The humour of the situation appealed to me, and I cut in with a little remark that made us all laugh, including the captain. Send 'S.O.S.,' I said, 'it's the new call, and it may be your last chance to send it. ' Phillips, with a laugh, changed the signal to 'S.O.S.' The captain told us we had been struck amidships, or just aft of amidships. It was ten minutes, Phillips told me, after he noticed the iceberg, but the slight jolt was the only signal to us that a collision had occurred. We thought we were a good distance away. We said lots of funny things to each other in the next few minutes. We picked up the first steamship Frankfurt; gave her our position, and said we had struck an iceberg, and needed assistance. The Frankfurt operator went away to tell his captain. He came back, and we told him we were sinking by the head, and that we could observe a distinct list forward. " "The Carpathia answered our signal, and we told her our position, and said we were sinking by the head. The operator went to tell the captain, and in five minutes returned, and told us the Carpathia was putting about and heading for us. "

Scene on the Deck

"Our captain had left us at this time, and Phillips told me to run and tell him what the Carpathia had answered. I did so, and I went through an awful mass of people to his cabin. The decks were full of scrambling men and women. " "I came back and heard Phillips giving the Carpathia further directions. Phillips told me to put on my clothes. Until that moment I forgot I wasn't dressed. 1 went to my cabin and dressed. I brought an overcoat to Phillips, and as it was very cold I slipped the overcoat upon him while he worked. " "Every few minutes Phillips would send me to the captain with little messages. They were merely telling how the Carpathia was coming our way, and giving her speed.

Heroic Telegraphist

"I noticed as I came back from one trip that they were putting off the women and children in lifeboats, and that the list forward was increasing. Phillips told me the wireless was growing weaker. The captain came and told us our engine rooms were taking water, and that the dynamos might not last much longer. We sent that word to the Carpathia. " "I went out on deck and looked around. The water was pretty close up to the boat deck. There was a great scramble aft, and how poor Phillips worked through it I don't know. He was a brave man. I learned to love him that night, and I suddenly felt for him a great reverence to see him standing there sticking to his work while everybody else was raging about. I will never live to forget the work Phillips did for the last awful fifteen minutes. " "Phillips clung on, sending and sending. He clung on for about ten minutes, or maybe fifteen minutes, after the captain released him. The water was then coming into our cabin. " "From aft came the tunes of the ship's band, playing the ragtime tune, 'Autumn. ' Phillips ran aft, and that was the last I ever saw of him alive. " "I went to the place where I had seen the collapsible boat on the boat deck, and to my surprise I saw the boat, and the men still trying to push it off. I guess there wasn't a sailor in the crowd. They couldn't do it. I went up to them, and was just lending a hand when a large wave came awash of the deck. The big wave carried the boat off. I had hold of an oar-lock and I went off with it. The next I knew I was in the boat. But that wasn't all; I was in the boat, and the boat was upside down, and I was under it. I remember realising I was wet through, and that whatever happened I must breathe, for I was under water. I knew I had to fight for it, and I did. How 1 got out from under the boat I don't know, but I felt a breath of air at last. There were men all around me - hundreds of them. The sea was dotted with them, all depending on their lifebelts. "

Last Glimpse of the Titanic

"I felt I simply had to get away from the ship. She was a beautiful sight then. Smoke and sparks were rushing out of her funnels. There must have been an explosion, but we heard none. We only saw a big stream of sparks. The ship was gradually turning on her nose -just like a duck does that goes down for a dive. I had only one thing on my mind - to get away from the suction. " "The band was still playing. I guess all the band went down. They were heroes. They were still playing 'Autumn. ' Then I swam with all my might. I suppose 1 was 15Oft away when the Titanic, on her nose, with her after quarter sticking straight up in the air, began to settle slowly. When at last the waves washed over her rudder there wasn't the least bit of suction I could feel. She must have kept going down just as flowing as she had been. " "I felt after a little while like sinking. I was very cold. I saw a boat of some kind near me, and put all my strength into an effort to swim to it. It was hard work, and I was all alone when a hand reached out from the boat and pulled me aboard. It was our same collapsible boat and the same crowd was on it. There was just room for me to roll on the edge. I lay there not caring what happened. Somebody sat on my legs. They were wedged in between the slats, and were being wrenched. I hadn't the heart left to ask the man to move. There was a terrible sight all around; men swimming and sinking everywhere. " "I saw some lights off in the distance, and knew a steamship was coming to our aid. I didn't care what happened. I just lay and gasped when I could, and felt the pain in my feet. I feel it still. At last the Carpathia was alongside, and the people were being taken up a rope ladder. Our boat drew near, and one by one the men were taken off of it. One man was dead. I passed him, and went to a ladder, although my feet pained me terribly. " "The dead man was Phillips. He died on the raft from exposure and cold. I guess he had been all in from work before the wreck came. He stood his ground until the crisis passed and then collapsed. But I hardly thought of that then; I didn't think much about anything. I tried the rope ladder. My feet pained me terribly, but I got to the top, and felt hands reaching out to me. The next I know a woman was leaning over me in a cabin, and I felt her hand waving in my hair and rubbing my face. I felt somebody at my feet, and felt the warmth of liquor. Somebody got me under the arms, and then I was carried down below to the hospital. That was early in the day. I guess I lay in hospital until near night, when they told me the Carpathia's wireless man was acting 'queer', and would I help?" "After that I never was out of the wireless room, so 1 don't know what happened to the passengers. "

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Encyclopedia Titanica (2003) Statement by Harold Bride (New York Times, Friday 19th April 1912, ref: #1807, published 21 November 2003, generated 16th June 2024 01:39:51 AM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/statement-harold-bride.html