British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry


Account of the Saving and Rescue of those who Survived
Means taken to Procure Assistance

As soon as the dangerous condition of the ship was realized, messages were sent by the Master's orders to all steamers within reach. (Bride, 16508) At 12.15 a.m. the distress signal C.Q.D. was sent. This was heard by several steamships and by Cape Race. By 12.25, Mr. Boxhall, the fourth officer, had worked out the correct position of the "Titanic," and then another message was sent: "Come at once, we have struck a berg." This was heard by the Cunard steamer "Carpathia," which was at this time bound from New York to Liverpool [Mediterranean] and 58 miles away. The "Carpathia" answered, saying that she was coming to the assistance of the "Titanic." This was reported to Captain Smith on the Boat deck. At 12.26 a message was sent out, "Sinking; cannot hear for noise of steam." Many other messages were also sent, but as they were only heard by steamers which were too far away to render help it is not necessary to refer to them. At 1.45 a message was heard by the "Carpathia," "Engine room full up to boilers." The last message sent out was "C.Q.," which was faintly heard by the steamer "Virginian." This message was sent at 2.17. It thus appears that the Marconi apparatus was at work until within a few minutes of the foundering of the "Titanic."

Meanwhile Mr. Boxhall was sending up distress signals from the deck. (Boxhall, 15394) These signals (rockets) were sent off at intervals from a socket by No. 1 emergency boat on the Boat deck. They were the ordinary distress signals, exploding in the air and throwing off white stars. The firing of these signals began about the time that No. 7 boat was lowered (12.45 a.m.), and it continued until Mr. Boxhall left the ship at about 1.45. (15593, 15420)

Mr. Boxhall was also using a Morse light from the bridge in the direction of a ship whose lights he saw about half a point on the port bow of the "Titanic" at a distance, as he thought, of about five or six miles. (Lightoller, 14160) He got no answer. In all, Mr. Boxhall fired about eight rockets. There appears to be no doubt that the vessel whose lights he saw was the "Californian." The evidence from the "Californian" speaks of eight rockets having been seen between 12.30 and 1.40. (Gill, 18156-61) (Stone, 7830 et seq.) The "Californian" heard none of the "Titanic's" messages; she had only one Marconi operator on board and he was asleep.