Titanic's Wireless Chief Died on a Liferaft

The first Marconi operator aboard the Titanic, stuck to his post till the last.

Washington Post

New York. April 19.—Philips [sic], the first Marconi operator aboard the Titanic, stuck to his post till the last, jumped from the sinking ship, was taken aboard the life raft, and died before rescuers reached him, according to the story told here today by Thomas Whitely [sic], who was a waiter in the saloon of the Titanic. Whitely is in St. Vincent's Hospital, suffering from a fractured right leg and numerous bruises.

"Philips was on the overturned lifeboat with me." Whitely said. He was dead when taken aboard the Carpathia. They tried to revive him, but it was too late. There were four burials at sea—one sailor, two firemen, and Philips."

It is believed that Whitely's story clears the doubt surrounding the identity of the fourth man buried from the Carpathia. It was at first believed that this man was a cabin passenger, but Whitely declares it was Philips.

Whitely, who had helped fill the boats with women, leaped into the sea as the Titanic went down. He was picked up.

"During the time I was in the water," he said. "I could hear the cries of thousands of persons, it seemed, although there must have been only hundreds. I drifted near a boat wrongside up. About 30 men were clinging to her, and they refused to let me get aboard. Some one tried to hit* me with an oar but I scrambled aboard.

"There was a bit of panic when it first happened. The officers had to use their revolvers. The chief officer shot one man — I didn't see this, but three others did — and then he shot himself. But everybody, pretty much, behaved splendidly, especially the firemen.

"It was a black berg we struck, and although the night was perfectly clear, it was impossible to see that color. I saw another like it when we were drifting on the overturned boat."

[* In versions printied in Newport Daily News 19th April 1912, the phrase used is "help me with an oar"]

Related Biographies:

John George Phillips
Thomas Arthur Whiteley


Encyclopedia Titanica (2009) Titanic's Wireless Chief Died on a Liferaft (Washington Post, Saturday 20th April 1912, ref: #8863, published 7 January 2009, generated 20th April 2021 11:07:56 AM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanics-wireless-chief-died-on-a-liferaft.html