Senate told Carpathia not source of fake Titanic report

NEW YORK, April 20, 1912 (UP) -- The delay of 12 hours in getting news of the Titanic disaster ashore, and the cruel reassuring messages that came through the White Star line offices all day Monday, were the subject taken up by the senate investigating committee today.

The subcommittee has definitely established that 200 of the Titanic's victims could have been saved if the lifeboats had been loaded uniformly and up to capacity.


Senator Smith of Michigan, who is conducting the investigation, said today that J. Bruce Ismay had importuned him for permission to sail on the Lapland today.

"I told him that under no circumstances could he go from this country at this time," said Smith. "In order that there can be no mistake, I saw to it that Ismay was personally served with another subpoena today to compel him to remain in America until this investigation is ended.


"We had information before the Carpathia arrived that the White Star planned to rush Ismay and the surviving officers and men of the Titanic out of the country. Passage had been engaged for them on the Cedric, which sailed Thursday, if possible, and the Lapland today.

"We had a government detective mingling with the crew yesterday, and he subpoenaed 22 men including all the officers left, who can tell a thrilling story that will amaze the American people, and we will see that these men remain within the jurisdiction of the senate committee until we get ready to have them go."

Mrs. J. J. Astor, Col. Archibald Gracie and the relatives of all the prominent men who left their loved ones to stay on the sinking ship, probably will be called.

J. Bruce Ismay, Vice President F. A. H. Franklin and the members of the Titanic's crew already subpoenaed were kept under surveillance by aids of Sergeant-at-arms Ransdell.

One hundred and eighty-four members of the crew of the Titanic sailed today on the Lapland.

The committee may transfer its work to Washington and take all the witnesses over there, but that will not be decided for the present.

Thomas Cottam, wireless operator of the Carpathia, was first on the stand today. Definite news of the entire disaster was sent from the Carpathia at 10:30 a. m. Monday, according to Cottam, who says he himself flashed the details to the liner Baltic. The Carpathia was then out of touch with land stations.


"I sent several messages to the Baltic," said Cottam answering questions by Senator Smith. "But I kept no record of these. There were many of them, and I was too busy sending.

"At 10:30 a. m. Monday I sent all of the details to the Baltic. It was the whole story. The Baltic was then coming toward the wreck.

"I was not in touch with land stations at the time. I told of the total loss of the Titanic and of the rescue of those we had picked up. I told them we were going into New York."

"I did not send from the Carpathia at any time after the disaster a report that the passengers and crew had been saved and that the Titanic was coming slowly into port in tow," continued Cottam.

"Nothing of that nature was either sent by me or suggested to me by any officer or passenger or anyone else on the Carpathia. I sent nothing that could be construed to mean that, and it would have been utterly false if I had sent out any such word."

"If the White Star line sent the following message from New York on April 15 to Congressman Hughes in Philadelphia -- 'The Titanic is proceeding to Halifax and the passengers probably will reach there Wednesday all safe' -- if such a message was sent out at any time would it have been true?" demanded Senator Smith.


"It would not," answered the operator emphatically.

Smith asked whether any messages had been sent at any time that might have been construed as meaning that the passengers and crew had been saved, but the operator insisted that no message from him could have been so interpreted.

"Did you in any way attempt to withhold the exact facts about the disaster?" demanded Smith.

"I certainly did not," replied the operator.

"Did any message reach the Carpathia Monday which indicated that a rumor was in circulation that all were safe and the Titanic was being towed to port?"

"No, sir."

Cottam declared that from Sunday night until the Carpathia reached New York Thursday night he got only about eight or ten hours of sleep.

From the time of the disaster he worked continuously until 5 p. m. Wednesday, when operator Bride of the Titanic, who was among the survivors, relieved him for a few hours.

Bride, he said, received several messages from the scout cruiser Chester, and sent several to that vessel, including the list of third class passengers saved.

Cottam was more than emphatic in declaring that neither he nor Bride nor anyone else on the Carpathia at any time sent any message that could possibly be construed into meaning that the passengers of the Titanic were all safe and that the wrecked vessel was proceeding to port either under her own steam or by tow.


"I never even heard such a message mentioned until I reached New York," declared the operator.

Senator Smith was most anxious to find out who had mentioned the reassuring message to him upon his arrival here, but the operator could not remember. He said that he did not think it was either Ismay or Captain Rostron of the Carpathia.

Senator Reed of Missouri joined the senators who are conducting the probe today. It was definitely arranged that after today's session the committee will return to Washington, where the investigation will be resumed, probably early next week.

Senator Smith ordered former Lieutenant Governor Timothy I. Woodruff subpoenaed. Woodruff has been quoted as saying that the White Star people knew that the Titanic was at the bottom of the sea many hours before they told the public of the disaster.

Cottam declared that his first message from Jack Phillips, the Titanic operator, read:

"Come at once. It is a C. Q. D., old man."

Then Phillips sent the position of the Titanic. His last message received by Cottam at 11:15 read:

"Come as quickly as possible. She's taking water and it's up to the boilers."

"I never heard from her after that," said Cottam, although several times I called the Titanic and sent Capt. Rostron's reply to Phillips' last message, which read:


"'We are making your position as speedily as possible. Have doubled watch in the engine rooms. We are making 15 or 16 knots an hour. Get your boats ready. We have ours ready.' I never got that message to the Titanic."

The horrors of the disaster grew very real before the committee when Harold S. Bride, the extra wireless operator of the Titanic, took the stand.

Bride, a pale-faced, black-haired boy of twenty-two, was carried into the room. He had been brought from the hospital in an ambulance. Both of his feet frozen in the terrible time between when he left the sinking Titanic and the time he reached the Carpathia, were swathed in heavy bandages. His face was drawn with pain, and his big black eyes were red and sunken.

As his bearers tenderly placed him on a couch and stretched his bandaged feet on a pillow on a chair before him, Bride gritted his teeth and his face twitched convulsively with pain.

Answering chairman Smith, Bride said that he was assistant operator of the Titanic, that his home was London, and that he received

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