A young Radio enthusiast in New York picked up the Titanic’s faint distress signals in the early hours of Monday April 15. The signals were also detected in Newfoundland, Canada. The word was out that the Titanic was in trouble, but other messages during the day appeared to contradict this fact. It was not until 6:16 p.m. New York time that the Olympic, the Titanic’s sister ship, confirmed that the Titanic had sunk. Two hours later, the rescue ship, Carpathia, broke its radio silence and announced it was bringing survivors into New York.
THE WORST CONFIRMED
Captain Rostron waited until all survivors were safely on board the Carpathia before broadcasting any messages. Wireless contact was initially restricted to sending a list of survivors and their messages: requests from the press for information were ignored. Finally, at 8:20 p.m. on Monday evening, the captain sent a brief telegram confirming the worst to Associated Press in New York.
WAITING FOR NEWS
As news filtered through on Monday, crowds of concerned relatives and bystanders formed outside the White Star offices in New York, London (right), and Southampton. Detailed information was hard to come by, and it took some days before the first, incomplete list of survivors was posted up in New York.
On Wednesday, a list of saved crew members was posted up outside the White Star offices in Southampton, where 699 of the 898 crew lived. In the confusion, names were spelled incorrerctly and initials left off, raising some relatives’ hopes unnecessarily. Sheets of corrected names slowly appeared, finally confirming who had survived and who had been lost.
READ ALL ABOUT IT
The cries of newspaper boys shouting out the headlines brought home to many people the scale of the disaster. In the absence of firm news from the White Star Line or from the rescue ship, Carpathia, worried relatives read the newspapers closely, searching for any scrap of information that might tell them about their loved ones.
“I have read the papers trying to get some hope, but all fail now. I shall pray for the body. He was so good to me.”
TITANIC SURVIVOR WRITES ABOUT HER HUSBAND
AROUND THE WORLD
The Titanic disaster dominated the world’s newspapers for days, although many of the early stories were vague and often contradictory. Most papers erred on the side of caution, not believing that such a disaster could have occurred. They even printed as fact rumors that the Titanic was being towed to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and that all its passengers were safe.
GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS
Many women in Southampton lost a number of male relatives in the disaster. Mrs. Rosina Hurst (seen on the left) lost her father-in-law, although her husband, fireman Walter Hurst, survived. Sharing the news with her is her aunt, also in mourning clothes.