Story of the Steward on Carpathia
Distress Signals From The Titanic
At midnight on Sunday 14th of April, I was promenading the deack of the steamer Carpathia, bound for the mediterranean and three days out from New York, when an urgent summons came to my room from the chief steward, E.Harry Hughes. He told me that the White Star liner Titanic, the greatest ship afloat, had struck an iceberg and was in serious difficulties.
Carparthia Prepares For Survivors
We were by then already steaming at full speed to the scene of the disaster, Captain Rostron, having immediately given orders that every man of the crew should stand by to exert their utmost efforts. Within a few minutes every preparation had been made to receive two or three thousand survivors. Blankets were placed ready, tables laid with hotsoups & cofee, bedding etc, prepared and the hospital supplies laid out ready to attend the injured.
The men were then mustered into the saloon and addressed by the chief steward. He told them of the disaster and appealed to them in a few words to show the world what stuff Britishers were made of and to add a glorious page to the history of the empire. Every lifeboat was manned and ready to be launched at a moment's notice. Nothing further could be done except wait anxiously and look out for the ship's distress signal.
Silence From the Titanic
Our Marconi operator, shose unceasing efforts for many hours deserves the greatest possible praise, was unable at the time to get any reply to the urgent inquiries he was sending out, and he feared for the worst.
At last a blue flare was seen, to which the Carpathia responded with a rocket. Day was just dawning when we saw a boat in the distance.
Eastward on the horizon a huge iceberg, the cause of the disaster, majestically reared two noble peaks to heaven. Rope ladders were already lowered and we headed towards the nearest lifeboat, which was now approaching us as rapidly as the nearly exhausted men could row.
Under the command of our chief officer, who worked tireless during the entire rescue, the survivors in the boat were rapidly, but carefully hauled aboard and given into the hands of medical staff under the leadership of Dr McGee.
It was only then did we learn the terrible news that the gigantic vessel, the "unsinkable" Titanic, had gone down only one hour and ten minutes after striking the iceberg.
From this time onwards lifeboats continued to arrive at frequent intervals. Every man of the Carpathia's crew was unsapring in his efforts to assist, to tenderly comfort each and every survivor. In all 16 boatloads were rescued, containing a total of 720 people, many in only their night attire, others in evening dress as if direct from an after dinner reception or concert. Most conspicuous was the coolness and self possession from particularly the women.
There were many pathetic and heartrending incidents. There was not one man in the rescue party who was not moved almost to tears. Women arrived and frantically rushed from one gangway to another eagerly scanning the fresh arrivals in the boats for a lost husband or loved one.
Colonel And His Mother
One boat arrived with the unconscious body of an English colonel. He had been takiing his mother on a trip to visit her three other sons. He had succeeded in getting her into one of the lifeboats and he managed to get a place in another one. But, only a few metres from the ill fated ship, he witnessed the lifeboat containing his mother capsize in front of his eyes.
Immediately he dived into the water and commenced a frantic search for her. But in vain. Boat after boat attempted to take him aboard, but he refused to give up, continuing to swim for nearly three hours until even his great strength of body and mind gave out and he was hauled unconcious into a passing boat and brought aboard the Carpathia. The doctor gave him little hope of survival.
Twelve Brides and Only One Husband Survives
There were twelve newly married couples aboard the big ship. Of the twelve brides who were saved only one of the husbands survived. The surviving husband was only spared because he begged to assist in manning a lifeboat. Think of the self sacrifice of these eleven heroes, who stood on the doomed vessel and parting with their brides forever, knowing that in a few brief minutes they would become victims of the icy Atlantic waters.
Many similar pathetic incidents were seen that morning. Sad eyed women roaming aimlessly around the ship looking vainly for a husband, brother or father. Comforting them was impossible. All human efforts were made to sooth them but who can cure a broken heart?
Saving The Canines
One of the earliest boats to arrive was seen to conatin a women tenderly clasping a pet Pomeranian. When assisted to the rope ladder and having the rope fastened around her she refused to give up the dog. The dog was also greeted as a passenger and received careful and tender attention as his mistress.
A survivor also informed me that there was a lady on the Titanic who tried to get her Great Dane onto one of the lifeboats. Sadly he was not allowed on board, it was impossible. Human lives, especially women and children were the first consideration. She was urged to leave the dog and get into a lifebaot. She refused to desert him and sacrificed her life to be with him.
Burials At Sea
One incident that affected me more than any other, was the burial on Tuesday afternoon of four men who had died after surviving the initial incident. They had died from exhaustion and exposure. Those men were W.H. Hoyte, Esq (first class passenger), Abraham Hornner (third class passenger), S.C. Siebert (steward) and P. Lyons (sailor).
The sailor and steward ha died prior to being taken aboard the Carpathia. The passengers survived only a short time after being recued. The funeral service was attended by a large numebr of survivors and recuers and was conducted under profound silence. The bodies were covered by the national flag before being thrown overboard back into the waters in which they had vainly been saved.