Find out all about Wey Valley's connection to the Titanic and the Special Event Station's Commemoration of the disaster.


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History

RMS Titanic was a British Olympic class passenger liner that became famous for her collision with an iceberg on 14 April 1912 and dramatic sinking on 15 April 1912. The second of a trio of superliners, Titanic and her sisters were designed to provide a three-ship weekly express service and dominate the transatlantic travel business for the White Star Line.

Built at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, Ireland, Titanic was the largest passenger steamship in the world at the time of her sinking. During Titanic's maiden voyage (from Southampton, England to Cherbourg, France, then onto Queenstown (Cobh), Ireland and finally New York City), she struck an iceberg at 23:40 (ship's time) on Sunday 14 April 1912, sinking two hours and forty minutes later at 02:20 on Monday 15 April, having broken into two pieces at the aft expansion joint.

Titanic was designed to compete with rival company Cunard Line's Lusitania and Mauretania, luxurious ships and the fastest liners on the Atlantic. Titanic and her Olympic class sisters, Olympic and the then upcoming Gigantic, were intended to be the largest, most luxurious ships ever to operate (the planned name Gigantic was changed to Britannic after the disaster). Titanic was designed by Harland and Wolff chairman William Pirrie, head of Harland and Wolff's design department Thomas Andrews, and general manager Alexander Carlisle, with the plans regularly sent to the White Star Line's managing director J. Bruce Ismay for suggestions and approval. Construction of the Titanic, funded by the American J.P. Morgan and his International Mercantile Marine Co., began on 31 March 1909. Titanic No. 401 was launched two years and two months later on 31 May 1911. Titanic's outfitting was completed on 31 March the following year.

Titanic was 882 feet 9 inches (269 m) long and 92 feet 6 inches (28 m) at the beam. She had a Gross Register Tonnage of 46,328 tons, and a height from the water line to the boat deck of 60 feet (18 m). She contained two reciprocating four-cylinder, triple-expansion, inverted steam engines and one low-pressure Parsons turbine. These powered three propellers. There were 25 double-ended and 4 single-ended Scotch-type boilers fired by 159 coal burning furnaces that made possible a top speed of 23 knots (43 km/h). Only three of the four 63 foot (19 m) tall funnels were functional; the fourth, which served only as a vent, was added to make the ship look more impressive. Titanic could carry a total of 3,547 passengers and crew and, because she carried mail, her name was given the prefix RMS (Royal Mail Steamer) as well as SS (Steam Ship).

The Titanic was considered a pinnacle of naval architecture and technological achievement, and was thought by The Shipbuilder magazine to be "practically unsinkable." Titanic had a double-bottom hull, containing 44 tanks for boiler water and ballast to keep the ship safely balanced at sea[20] (later ships also had a double-walled hull). Titanic exceeded the lifeboat standard, with 20 lifeboats (though not enough for all passengers).

John George "Jack" Phillips

Jack Phillips

John George "Jack" Phillips (April 11, 1887 - April 15, 1912) was the Senior Wireless officer on board the maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic. While the Titanic was sinking, Phillips worked tirelessly to send messages to other ships on the wireless to enlist their assistance with the rescue of the Titanic's passengers and crew.

Jack Phillips was born in Farncombe, Surrey to George Alfred Phillips and Anne Sanders. Phillips finished private school in Godalming in 1902 and began working at the Godalming post office where he learned telegraphy. He started training to work in wireless for the Marconi Company in March, 1906 in Seaforth and graduated five months later in August.

Phillips first assignment was on the White Star Line ship Teutonic and later worked on board the Campania, the Corsican, the Victorian, the Pretorian, the Lusitania and the Mauretania. In May of 1908 he was assigned to work at the Marconi station outside of Clifden, Ireland where he worked until 1911 when he was assigned on the Adriatic and later, in early 1912, on the Oceanic.

In March 1912, Phillips was sent to Belfast, Ireland to be the Senior Wireless operator on board the maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic, where he was joined by Junior Wireless operator Harold Bride. Stories have appeared that Phillips knew Bride before the Titanic, but Bride insisted they had never met before Belfast. The Titanic left for New York City from Southampton, England on April 10, 1912 and during the voyage Phillips and Bride sent out passengers' personal messages and received iceberg warnings and other navigation information from other ships. Phillips celebrated his 25th birthday on the day after the voyage began.

On the evening of April 14, in the wireless room on the Boat deck, Phillips was busy catching up sending a backlog of passengers' personal messages to Cape Race, Newfoundland that had accumulated when the wireless had broken down the day before. Bride was asleep in the adjoining cabin intending to relieve Phillips at midnight, two hours early. Shortly after 9:30 PM, Phillips received an ice warning from the steamship Mesaba reporting a large amount of icebergs and an ice field directly in the path of Titanic. Phillips acknowledged the Mesaba's warning and continued to transmit messages to Cape Race. The Mesaba's wireless operator waited for Phillips to report that he had given the report to the bridge, but Phillips continued working Cape Race. The warning was one of the most important warnings Titanic received, but for reasons no one is sure about, the warning was never delivered to the bridge.

After 11:00 PM, Phillips was again interrupted by another ship, this time the SS Californian. The Californian's only wireless operator, Cyril Evans, was reporting that they were stopped and surrounded by ice. The Californian was very close and the signal was strong and loud in Phillips ears. Phillips quickly sent back, "Shut Up! Shut Up! I am working Cape Race," and continued communicating with Cape Race while Evans listened a while longer before going to bed for the night.

The Titanic struck an iceberg at 11:40 PM that night and began sinking. Bride had woken up and began getting ready to relieve Phillips when Captain Edward Smith came into the wireless room and told Phillips to prepare to send out a distress signal. Shortly after midnight Captain Smith came in again and told them to send out the call for assistance and gave them Titanic's estimated position. Phillips began sending out CQD, while Bride took messages to Captain Smith about which ships were coming to Titanic's assistance. At one point Bride jokingly reminded Phillips that the new call was SOS and said "Send SOS, it's the new call, and it may be your last chance to send it." A myth developed after the disaster that this was the first time SOS was used, but it had been used on other ships previously.

After taking a quick break, Phillips soon returned to the wireless room reporting to Bride that the forward part of the ship was flooded and that they should put on more clothes and lifebelts. Bride began to get ready while Phillips went back to work on the wireless machine. The wireless power was almost completely out when Captain Smith arrived and told the men that they had done their duty and that they were relieved. Bride later remembered being moved by the way Phillips continued working. While the two's backs were turned a crew member snuck in and attempted to steal Phillips' lifebelt. Bride saw and grabbed the man as Phillips stood up and knocked the crew member out. The water was beginning to flood the boat deck as they both ran out of the wireless room. The men then split up, Bride heading forward and Phillips heading aft.

Phillips managed to make it to overturned lifeboat B, the same lifeboat that Bride was on. The exhausted Phillips did not last the night and died before rescue came. However, some Titanic historians dispute that he was on the lifeboat, citing inconsistencies with witnesses and testimony where Bride said he never saw Phillips on the boat, but was only told he was aboard by someone else.[1] After the disaster and Harold Bride's description of what happened that night was published, Phillips was considered a hero for his efforts in contacting other ships to come to Titanic's assistance.[Source :- Wikipedia]




Wey Valley ARG - GB95MGY Special Event Station 14th / 15th April 2007


The following News Release was issued in early April 2007

RMS Titanic

95th ANNIVERSARY OF THE SINKING OF THE TITANIC

HEROISM OF JACK PHILLIPS CELEBRATED IN MARATHON RADIO LINK UP

Early on the morning of Monday 16 April, a team of amateur radio enthusiasts will complete a marathon international radio link up lasting 44 hours and 47 minutes.

The team, comprising members and guests of Wey Valley Amateur Radio Group, will operate from a special radio station set up in Godalming, Surrey, to honour the memory of Jack Phillips, Chief Wireless Telegraphist on the ill-fated Titanic, which went down on her maiden voyage to New York 95 years ago.

Born and bred in Godalming, Jack, 25, stayed at his post sending out distress signals in morse code before losing his life when the liner - believed to be unsinkable - sank 2 hours and 40 minutes after hitting an iceberg. Over 1500 lives were lost, but more than 700 survivors were picked up by the Carpathia alerted to the ship's plight by Jack's signals.

The radio station, GB95MGY (Titanic's callsign was MGY), located at Godalming College, Tuesley Lane, Godalming, will begin transmissions in morse code at 9.00am on Saturday 14 April and continue until 6.47 on Sunday 15 April, the precise time at which the Titanic sank on the same day in 1902. At this point, transmissions will cease for a time to mark the sinking, but will then continue until 5.47 GMT the following day, to extend the opportunity for radio amateurs worldwide to join in the commemoration by contacting GB95MGY.

The radio station will be open to the public between the hours of 12.00 noon and 4.00pm on Saturday 14 April and between 11.00am and 4.00pm on Sunday 15 April. Admission will be free. The station will feature a unique exhibition of many types of early morse senders and receivers arranged by Ken Tythercott of the British Vintage wireless Society. There will also be a display of amateur radio equipment and records (QSLs), confirming contacts with stations worldwide.

Note for Editors:
In April 2002, special station GB90MGY, commemorating the 90th anniversary of the sinking, made contacts from Godalming with 2685 radio amateurs in more than 100 countries throughout the world.

Notes for radio amateurs and short wave listeners:
The special event commemorative station - call sign GB95MGY - will be active on CW only on all amateur short wave bands from 80-10 metres, conditions permitting (excluding WARC bands), from 9.00 am on Saturday 14 April until 6.47 am on Sunday 15 April - the precise time in the UK that the Titanic sank. There will then be a short pause in transmissions, following which the transmissions will continue for another 24 hours, ceasing on Monday 16 April at 6.47am. Contacts and reports will be confirmed 100% via the QSL bureau.

Michael Shortland,G0EFO, Press contact:: michaelgs@dsl.pipex.com


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