Cape Cod National Seashore to Host Commemorative Events about the Titanic and Wireless Communication

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Date: March 31, 2017
Contact: Barbara Dougan, (508) 255-3421, ext. 0300

Over a century has passed since 2,240 passengers and crew set sail from Southampton, England on April 10, 1912 for a transatlantic voyage on a luxury steamship enroute to the Port of New York.  Four days later, on the night of April 14, 1912, the RMS Titanic strikes an iceberg then plunges to the North Atlantic’s ocean floor.  The fate of the steamship and the 1,500 souls lost is ingrained in the American memory, and has inspired numerous books and films.  A fact that surprises many is that Marconi’s wireless station in Wellfleet played a role in the rescue of 740 survivors. The survivors were rescued by the Carpathia as a result of wireless messages sent from Marconi’s Wellfleet station. Today, the station site is preserved within Cape Cod National Seashore.  Between April 13 and 22 Cape Cod National Seashore will host commemorative events around the Titanic and the evolution of wireless communication, culminating in International Marconi Day, a worldwide event. All events, with the exception of International Marconi Day on April 22, will be held at Salt Pond Visitor Center, 50 Nauset Road, Eastham. Events are free, accessible, and open to the public.
 
April 13-15
April 13 and April 14 9 am to 4:30 pm, and April 15 9 am to 2 pm.
Join the Titanic/Marconi Memorial Association of Cape Cod, WIMGY, for a global wireless radio event to honor souls lost on Titanic and for stories of ship-to-shore wireless communication.
 
April 13-16
10 am, noon, and 2 PM: The Voice of Cape Cod, a 12 minute film about the building of Marconi’s Wireless Station in 1901 in South Wellfleet MA and the historic first transatlantic transmission sent from the USA to Europe on January 18, 1903.  
 
April 15
1 to 4:15 pm, Titanic, movie. This cinematic spectacle is a fictionalized account of the sinking of the RMS Titanic. The film follows society girl Rose and penniless artist Jack as they fall in love just as tragedy strikes. 
 
April 21
2:00 pm: Rescue at Sea, a one-hour film that chronicles the collision of two ships off Nantucket in January 1909, and the role of Jack Binns, the Marconi radio man aboard one of the ships, who stayed at his key as the ship was sinking. He became known as CDQ Binns, the first hero of wireless as all passengers and hands were saved, over 1,500 people.  This film tells the true life story of what happened on the Republic which was also hailed as an unsinkable ship, owned by the same company as the Titanic.  
 
April 22
9:30 am to 3:30 pm: International Marconi Day, an annual public event that honors Guglielmo Marconi for his contributions to wireless technology.  The Marconi Cape Cod Radio Club, KM1CC, will communicate with radio operators around the globe in voice and Morse code. Visitors can test their global geography knowledge as they listen to operators making contact with stations from many other countries.  Those who can’t visit in person are invited to tune in via shortwave radio. Nauset Coast Guard Station, Coast Guard Beach, off Doane Road, Eastham.
 
Background
Titanic  A fact that surprises many is that Marconi’s historic wireless station in Wellfleet played a role in the rescue.  In a published New York Times interview with Harold Cottam, the sole Marconi wireless man onboard the rescue ship, Cottam recounts his purpose in making radio contact with the Titanic that fateful night. It was to inform the Titanic’s Marconi wireless men that Marconi’s long-distance Cape Cod Station was sending a batch of messages to them.  However, after giving the message about Cape Cod the Titanic’s Marconi wireless man instantly replied with, “Come at once. We have struck a berg.” Thus, the rescue of survivors began.
 
Jack Binns - Rescue at Sea film, on a cold January night in 1909, in a dense fog, two ships collided off Nantucket.  One, the Republic, was a luxury liner, headed out from New York City for a leisurely cruise around the Mediterranean. The other, the Florida, was filled with impoverished people fleeing the consequences of an earthquake in Messina, Italy, in the hope of a better life in America. The Florida did not have a radio operator, but fortunately, the Republic did, his name was Jack Binns.  Binns, the Marconi radio man on board the Republic, stayed at his key as his ship was sinking He became known as CQD Binns, the first hero of wireless as all passengers and hands were saved, over 1,500 people.  In 1909 CQD was the Marconi signal used to call all ships in an emergency. This film tells the true-life story of what happened on the Republic which was also hailed as an unsinkable ship, owned by the same company as the Titanic.  The Titanic sinks three years later.  For more about Jack Binn’s visit: http://www.jackbinns.org/                     

For more information about the Marconi’s history-making transatlantic message in 1903 and Marconi’s relationship to the Titanic:
 
Marconi’s Wireless Station Site, Wellfleet, MA USA, Cape Cod National Seashore:  https:://www.nps.gov/caco/learn/historyculture/marconi.htm
 
Marconi Cape Cod Radio Club, KM1CC: For International Marconi Day radio frequencies and modes: https://www.facebook.com/KM1CC/
 
Complete New York Times interview with the Carpathia’s wireless operator, Harold Cottam: April 19th 1912, Titanic's CQD caught by a Lucky Fluke:  http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9A07E0DF153CE633A2575AC1A9629C946396D6CF
 
New York Times interview with the Titanic’s Surviving Wireless Man, Harold Bride: April 19th 1912, Thrilling Story by Titanic's Surviving Wireless Man: http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9E07E0DF153CE633A2575AC1A9629C946396D6CF
 
Chatham Marconi Maritime Museum has Marconi related history exhibits. It is located at 847 Orleans Rd (Route 28) in North Chatham MA 02650.  Open seasonally.50
http://www.chathammarconi.org/
 
The National Association for Amateur Radio: http://www.arrl.org/
 

Last updated: April 6, 2017

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