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History Shipwrecks

Titanic Telegram

REF NR: 2113

Arthur Orchard or “Curly” as he was affectionately known, set out on foot as usual on this cold morning of the 17th April 1912 towards Bembridge. The Marconi telegram he was carrying was sealed and thus he had no understanding that the momentous contents would enlighten the family of the managing director of the White Star Line of the disaster that had befallen the Titanic and the fact that their son Bruce Ismay was a survivor.


Ismay, the writer of the telegram (who was later dubbed the Coward of the Titanic), had to be treated with opiates to help him cope with the shock of the sinking. Ismay was the managing director of White Star Line and he was depicted in the 1997 Kate Winslett movie Titanic encouraging the liner's captain to go faster.


He later told the official enquiry into the disaster that he had to turn and look away in the lifeboat at the moment the Titanic finally disappeared at 2:20am on April 15th.


On the 17th April 2012, Nigel Bennett will be re-enacting his grandfather’s walk from the Marconi Radio Station (Culver Haven) at the top of Culver Down, Brading to that of Greylands, being the home of the Ismay family in Bembridge on the 17th April 1912.

" Deeply regret advise you Titanic sank this morning fifteenth after collision iceberg resulting serious loss life further particulars later ..... Bruce Ismay"


Nigel’s mother remembers her telling him that there was great consternation as ‘Curly’ waited for a reply. The exact telegram delivered has been lost. Recently, a very similar one as seen above has been auctioned for several thousand pounds in New York.


Interesting further reading
Oct 2010: a very interesting account of the last minutes prior to the Titanic hitting the iceberg has recently been published by Lady Louise Patten , the truth about the sinking.