A HUNDRED years ago today the Carpathia, a ship made famous for rescuing passengers from the Titanic, was bound from Liverpool, head to Boston USA.
The ship, which six years earlier had been captained during the rescue by the heroic Bolton-born Arthur Rostron, had been drafted for use as a troop ship during the First Word War to carry Canadian soldiers to Europe.
On July 15, now under the command of Captain William Prothero, the ship set sail as part of large convoy, but was to meet its end at 9.15am two days later, sunk by a German submarine south west of Ireland.
The U-55 submarine fired two torpedoes into the once great ship’s side, killing five crew members.
All the remaining 161 crew members and 57 passengers escaped into lifeboats as the ship began to list, then the submarine surfaced and fired a third torpedo, dooming the vessel to a watery grave.
In 2000 the wreck was discovered, sitting at the bottom of the ocean, by divers.
It was a sad end for brave little RMS Carpathia, which had saved 705 lives in the Titanic disaster of 1912.
Then, the Cunard-owned ship had been captained by Boltonian Arthur Rostron. On the night of April 14 Captain Rostron was asleep when a wireless operator alerted him to a distress signal from the Titanic, which had hit an iceberg.
The captain ordered the ship, which had been heading to Austria-Hungary from New York, to change course and raced towards the Titanic a speeds faster than it had ever gone before.
Dodging icebergs, it reached the survivors in three and a half hours and searched the ocean for the next four and a half hours, taking onboard 20 lifeboats and 705 people.
The Carpathia headed back to New York, reaching the city on April 18 and sealing her place in history.
The crew of the Carpathia were awarded medals while Captain Rostron was knighted by King George V and presented with the United States Congress’ highest honour, the Congressional Gold Medal.
In 1913 the captain was transferred to command of another ship and remained at sea until retirement in 1931. He died in 1940.
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Source: The Bolton News