Titanic and the Wireless: What does MGY mean and why it was so important on that fateful night April 14 1912
Posted by Jina Bacarr
What if you found yourself on the Titanic?
The ship sinking… seawater coming higher and higher on each deck. What would you do?
Grab your cell phone. Call or text for help.
If wasn’t that simple back in 1912.
The wireless was the only means of long distance communication between Titanic and other ships (the Morse lamp was used for ships within visual range as well as rockets) as well as land.
Much has been written about the Marconi wireless and how novel it was to the passengers on the ship. Who can forget the scene when operator Jack Phillips ‘yells’ back to the operator on the nearby Californian, ‘Shut up, shut up! I’m working Cape Race.’
Cape Race was the first wireless station in Newfoundland and the only land station to receive the Titanic’s distress signal.
Frustrated, the operator shuts down his wireless and goes to bed. No further communication with him was possible that night.
He didn’t hear the ‘CQD’ or the ‘SOS’ after the Titanic hit the iceberg.
The Californian didn’t know until it was late the ship was sinking.
According to newspaper reports at that time, CQD was the British landline operators’ signal (‘CQ’ for “all stations”) with the addition of ‘D’ by the Marconi company for added emphasis (danger).
‘SOS’ was adapted because of its distinctive Morse Code pattern of three dots… three dashes… three dots with the Titanic’s call letters: MGY.
The Titanic had a first rate wireless room and could receive signals as far as 400 miles during the day and seemingly unlimited range at night.
Which meant they weren’t the only ones sending messages back and forth (the Titanic had sent 250 messages during the voyage).
According to the NY Herald, April 18, 1912, something had to be done to regulate the wireless lest more disasters at sea take place because their distress signal wasn’t heard. ‘Wireless meddlers’ crowded the airwaves with messages and a Senate bill was drawn up to set up to regulate operators with a license.
No post about Titanic and the wireless would be complete without mentioning the two Marconi operators and their dedication to duty.
J.G. Phillips, 25 years old, was the chief operator and had served on the Mauretania and the Lusitania. He had been with the company for seven years and did not survive.
Harold Sydney Bride, 22 years old, had only been with the company twelve months and did survive. (He was on the same overturned lifeboat along with the hero in my Titanic historical fiction novel ‘The Runaway Girl’, Captain Lord Buck Blackthorn.)
It was Phillips who sent the famous wireless message to Harold Thomas Cottam, the sole wireless operator on the Carpathia:
‘It’s CQD, old man. Distress call.’
Mr. Cottam was off duty and had not gone to bed when he heard the distress call. He insisted on waking up Captain Rostron. Because of his actions, 705 people survived that cold, bitter night.
Why was Mr. Cottam listening to the wireless if he was off duty?
He was hoping to catch the Saturday night football scores broadcast from Cape Race.
His alertness was a touchdown, if ever there was one.
Join Ava O’Reilly in this #sweeping, #emotional #historicalromance set aboard the Titanic— Boldwood Books (@BoldwoodBooks) March 27, 2020
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Ava is a fine lass on the run from the law… find out why in this terrific audio excerpt.
I love Laurel Lefkow’s reading of my nasty villian, Lord Emsy…
Then see what happens when Ava runs away and boards the Titanic in Queenstown, Ireland in my video below.
Her sailing to America is a stormy one… one filled with adventure and romance with the dashing Captain Lord Buck Blackthorn…
Two women hold the keys to his heart. Only one will survive that fateful night…
When Ava O’Reilly is wrongly accused of stealing from her employer, she has no option but to flee Ireland. The law is after her, and she has only one chance at escape – the Titanic.
Aboard the ship of dreams, she runs straight into the arms of Captain ‘Buck’ Blackthorn, a dashing gentleman gambler who promises to be her protector. He is intrigued by her Irish beauty and manages to disguise her as the maid of his good friend, the lovely Countess of Marbury. Little does he realise, that the Countess is also in love with him.
As the fateful night approaches, tragedy strikes further when Ava is separated from Buck, and must make a daring choice that will change her life forever…
A sweeping, emotional historical romance set aboard the Titanic, perfect for fans of Gill Paul and Suzanne Goldring.
This is a revised and fully updated edition of a novel previously published as Titanic Rhapsody.
What readers are saying about The Runaway Girl:
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THE RUNAWAY GIRL:
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