CQD RMS Titanic

On 14 April 1912 the RMS Titanic sank on her maiden voyage from Southhampton to New York, killing some 1,517 out of 2223 passngers and crew. Wireless radio was in it's infancy, and indeed all the radio operators aboard the Titanic were not employed by White Star but by the Marconi company who owned the wireless kit. The code SOS was then not in general use the old code being CQD. Below is a recording (simulated)which purports to be a made from the origial copied message of the Titanic's CQD. The new code, S.O.S., was just changing about this time and is included in the message.

A size comparison of the Titanic.

The second Officer aboard Titanic and the most senior officer to survive the tragedy was the Second Officer, Charles Herbert Lightoller(1), (Sub-Lieutenent RNR). The story from Second Officer Lightoller, recorded by the BBC in 1936.

A story from Eva Hart, survivor in 1987

Edwina MacKenzie recounts her memories
of preparing to abandon ship.

Edith Russell recounts lining up for placement on the life boats.

Joseph Boxhall, at the time junior officer on duty when the iceberg struck, recalls the beautiful, still and very dark night and the mildness of the collision. He initially thought there was no damage and advised a passenger, who was holding a large piece of ice, to return to bed.


For photos go here.

(1)During the First World War Lightoller was activated and after serving on several liners converted to wartime use, including the RMS Oceanic (a sister to Titanic) he commanded a torpedo boat and was decorated for engaging a German Zepplin. He eventually retired after the war and ran a boat yard with his wife. In May 1940 he probably listened and read with interest about the war with Germany. Lightoller had purchased his own private motor yacht, which his wife, Sylvia, named Sundowner, an Australian term meaning "wanderer". When the call came out for "little ships" to ferry troops from the beaches at Dunkirk., Lithtoller used "Sundowner" to help rescue soldiers during the Dunkirk evacuation making several trips to France and back. He has always been a personal hero of mine. These British are made of strong stuff.

Much thanks to the BBC archive for their collection of recordings which are such a resource to History.

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