Friday February 23, 2018

The Titanic Commutator Issue 214



Spring came three weeks early in the Connecticut River Valley. This time last year we were buried under mounds of snow. Mother Nature has a way of righting the ship. No matter how much we talk about extremes in the weather, it seems to average out in the end.

In this issue we are fortunate to begin an original, in-depth series: Belfast-Built Ships - vessels that are famous as well as the lesser known that are part of Harland & Wolff's heritage. Author and THS member, Paul Louden-Brown begins with the Dominion liner, Canada. The story of Canada is a tale of unfulfilled potential. Had Dominion been permitted to continue its development of the Canadian and Boston trades it is certain the company would have become the dominate force, particularly in the Canadian passenger trade. Instead a name and business that had taken almost thirty years to establish was practically thrown away allowing rivals, in particular Cunard, the opportunity of establishing themselves in the service.

Samson is a name associated with strength and, as a vessel, she was well-named. She had a remarkable history but her notoriety was not only related by our readers to her connection to the Titanic sinking or seal hunting, though a pioneer in that field, but also her Samson-like qualities were proven when Admiral Richard E. Byrd was planning his first voyage to the Antarctic.

Captain Arthur Rostron wrote what reads almost like a diary about the rescue of Titanic survivors, published in a lengthy article in 1916: "I turned in about midnight on Sunday, and was just dropping off to sleep when I heard the chartroom door open (this leads directly into my cabin, near the head of my bunk), and I thought to myself: "Who the dickens is this cheeky beggar coming into my cabin without knocking?" However I very soon knew the reason. I looked up and saw the first officer and the Marconi operator; the first officer informed me, "We have just received an urgent distress message from the Titanic that she struck ice and required immediate assistance." It's interesting that he doesn't name people involved but only uses their titles.

Many people have been interested in finding their ancestors. Instead of searching microfilm in archives, digitalized sources on the Internet such as have made it easier to find their family's past, Mr. Hamilton Garside, the author, sent the THS his notes on his Harland relatives.

This issue was ready to print in mid-April (to stay on schedule for the first week of May mailing) just before the THS Boston 2016 convention. The wonderful event and photos will appear in the next Commutator (No. 215).


Three Titanic-related ships are featured in this issue: Samson, Canada and Carpathia. Photos: Kamuda collection, Paul Louden-Brown collection and THS collection.

Belfast Built: Dominion Line's Canada
By Paul Louden-Brown

Vintage Vignettes in White Star History
The World July 12, 1922

Samson's Odyssey
Newpaper Extracts

Book Notes: Titanic Unseen–Images from the Bell and Kempster Albums by Senan Molony with Steve Raffield; reviewed by Ray Lepien; Mystery of the Last Olympian Titanic's Tragic Sister Britannic by Richie Kohler with Charlie Hudson, reviewed by Paul Louden-Brown; Captain of the Carpathia: The seafaring life of Titanic hero Sir Arthur Henry Rostron, reviewed by Ray Lepien

Sea Poste: Death of THS member Dean M. Porter; Seeking information on passengers denied access with trachoma; Who built Titanic's lifeboats?

Harland Relatives
By James Hamilton D. Garside, FRSA

The Rescue of the Titanic Survivors by the Carpathia, April 15, 1912
By Capt. Arthur Rostron

Featured in the Titanic Museum Store

Front: Samson arriving in New York after her passage from Norway, June 1929. Kamuda collection
Back: Photo collage of passengers aboard the Dominion liner Canada enroute to Boston. Paul Louden-Brown

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  • Model: TC214

This product was added to our catalog on Thursday May 19, 2016.