Events remembered a century on
A century after the first ever rescue at sea using a radio, enthusiasts from the Marconi Wireless Station in Cornwall are to celebrate the remarkable event.
The 1909 operation, in which nearly 2,000 lives were saved after the RMS Republic was rammed by the SS Florida in thick fog in the North Atlantic, was overshadowed by the Titanic disaster and the people involved have been largely forgotten.
Radio operator Jack Binns worked tirelessly for 36 hours in the wireless room of the RMS Republic, which had a hole in the wall made by the bow of the the SS Florida.
Mr Binns, an Englishman, was hailed a hero on his return to New York, where the voyage had begun. Wireless societies on both sides of the Atlantic will be on air on January 23 to mark the centenary of the rescue. David Barlow, a Marconi historian from the Radio Officers’ Association which runs the Marconi Wireless Station at the Lizard, has researched the events surrounding the rescue.
He said: “Mention ‘distress’ and ‘wireless’ and the first name on the lips is Titanic. But the events three years previously were of far greater significance and used the distress call CQD.”