The Titanic Commutator Issue 212


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This is the issue for the 4th Quarter, Final issue for 2015 THS Membership Year

The age of wireless in its infancy between 1901 and 1912 is the primary theme of this issue and how the effects of the sinking of Republic (II) in 1909 affected attitudes in the intervening time before the Titanic disaster. Guglielmo Marconi in the early years tried to sell the idea of the efficacy of wireless radio to shipping companies that gradually adopted his communication system.

Marconi and the Titanic: Beatrice O’Brien Marconi and her daughter climbed the winding stairs of the tower at Eaglehurst, their family estate with a grandstand view of all the passing maritime activity on the Solent. The black bulk of an enormous ship glided silently. Mother and daughter waved and dozens of silks flickered along the rail in response. The bronze colored letters on the bow read TITANIC. She wished she were on Titanic. She was supposed to be on board. Guglielmo Marconi and his beautiful wife were invited by the White Star Line to be guests on the maiden voyage. It was not to be.

Who Watched Titanic Sink? There are two ways of looking at Californian evidence. You could say Titanic approached Californian, hit an iceberg, and sank in full view. Stanley Lord connived with some of his officers to cover the matter up, but a few honest crew members brought out the truth. Or, you could believe an innocuous cargo ship came up to the edge of the ice flow, waited an hour or so, and then moved on through. After learning of the disaster, some of the crew put a new interpretation on to what they had seen that night as perfectly normal.

CQD The Story of the First Rescue at Sea by Wireless: The steamship Republic left New York for Liverpool the evening before, with 1,600 passengers on board. Jack Binns was the one wireless operator on the ship. Upon clearing Sandy Hook the ship had run into a thick fog bank, and the automatic foghorn was set going. Binns was kept busy at the key until midnight, sending and receiving commercial messages, then he turned into his bunk for the night. Like all ship operators Binns went to sleep with a more or less alert mind. All went well until eight bells, then awakened by the sudden change in the fog signals, Binns sat upright on the edge of his bunk, and listened, one second, two seconds, three–a tremor ran throughout the ship. There was terrific crashing.

Boston Liner’s Men in Titanic Probe: Captain Stanley Lord and Wireless Operator C.F. Evans of the steamship Californian now at the Leyland docks, East Boston, were yesterday served with subpoenas by U. S. Marshal Guy Murchie, in person, and will go to Washington to tell the Congressional Investigating committee what they know about the wreck of the Titanic.

Senan Molony presents an interesting take about Dr. McGee’s Titanic Coincidence: The senior surgeon of the ship that rescued the lifeboats ended up buried in Halifax, Nova Scotia, along with 150 victims of that vessel’s foundering. It was to McGee that Rostron chiefly turned that night, even before a single lifeboat had been sighted, issuing a famous series of orders for urgent preparations to receive survivors. Carpathia’s captain referred to his senior surgeon in those orders as ‘the English doctor,’ even though McGee had been born in Australia and was of Irish antecedence.

Molony hit the bullseye with a story in SeaPoste where he contributed an important fact about Jock Hume, one of Titanic’s bandsmen.

A reminder this is the final issue for 2015 membership, please renew before January 5, 2016 for the first quarterly mailing of No. 213. Thanks very much.

The Titanic Commutator No. 212
Membership Year 2015
Membership Year 2015 begins April 15, 2015, ends April 14, 2016
Winter 4th Quarter – February 2016 to April 2016 – Volume 40, No. 212



Marconi and Titanic
By Charles E. Fitzgerald

Who Watched Titanic Sink?
By Paul Kramer

Boston Liner’s Men Called in Titanic Probe
Boston Herald April 26, 1912

CQD The Story of the First Rescue at Sea by Wirelsss as Told by Jack Binns
By Alfred M. Caddell

Jack Binns’ Wireless Log
By Modern Electrics February 1909

Dr. McGee’s Titanic Coincidence
By Senan Molony

Sea Poste: In a story by Christopher Ward, Senan Molony uncovered a secret about Titanic bandsman Jock Hume: “Far from being faithful to his beloved Mary, my grandfather Jock—who I knew had visited the Caribbean in Christmas 1910- had fathered a child in Jamaica. A child, moreover, who was my own blood relative: my mother’s half-sibling, a child who’d probably grown up and had offspring of his own.”

Selected Titanic books and model kits great reading and simple projects from the Titanic Museum Store.

Covers: Front: S.S. Parisian at Quebec City. Her location on the night of April 14/15 1912 is a source of conjecture.
Back: Boston harbor circa 1906. White Star piers in the background, a lumber schooner in the foreground.

THS Convention April 29, 30, May 1, 2016
Celebrating All Things Titanic

Weight 8 oz
Dimensions 11 × 9 × 0.25 in