THE BURNING OF THE 'VOLTURNO' - PAGE 39
COVERAGE IN THE LONDON TIMES
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The purpose of this page is to advise of the Volturno related content published in the London Times in 1913 and 1914. But NOT the content that relates to the Board of Trade Inquiry, which has its very own page. Here:- 17.
So what follows is that content as I can get the text transcribed. For ease of reading on this page, I have introduced paragraphs into all of the texts.
1 October 13, 1913, page 8 Atlantic Disaster. Liner burned in mid-ocean. An eye-witness's account (C. F. Hart). The ring of rescuers. The first-class passengers. Ownership of the Volturno. Trintepohl story as reported by Arthur Spurgeon. 2 October 13, 1913, page 9 A tragedy of the Atlantic. 3 October 14, 1913, page 9 Further accounts of the rescue. Gallant work by seamen. Passengers' stories. 4 October 14, 1913, page 10 With the rescue fleet. Captain Barr's story. Rescue work of the Carmania. A passenger's description. Fifty killed by explosion and fire. 5 October 15, 1913, page 6 Wireless message from the captain. Full story of the fire. Captain's narrative. Emigrants at Tilbury. Rescues by the Devonian. Gallant Russian Seamen. And lots more. Extensive coverage. 6 October 16, 1913, page 5 Criticism of the rescuers. Emigrants kept at bay with revolvers. The launching of the rescue boats. Third officer's story of the fire. 7 October 16, 1913, page 17 The burning derelict steamers. The question of the cargo in passenger ships. 8 October 17, 1913, page 5 Rescue work of the oil tank ship. Conduct of the Volturno's officers and crew. Four other reports. 9 October 18, 1913, page 7 Board of Trade Inquiry. Details of the cargo. 10 October 23, 1913, page 22 The Volturno still afloat. 11 October 28, 1913, page 8 The derelict Volturno sighted. Statement by Captain Inch. 12 November 7, 1913, page 19 Awards by the Liverpool Shipwreck and Humane Society re Devonian and Carmania. And awards re Grosser Kurfürst & Seydlitz. 13 December 3, 1913, page 21 The Spurgeon book to be published. 14 December 5, 1913, page 6 Award of Liverpool Shipwreck and Humane Society medals re Rappahannock. 15 December 12, 1913, page 4 Award of Liverpool Shipwreck and Humane Society medals re Carmania. 16 December 16, 1913, page 3 The death of Harry Miller, the chief officer of the Volturno. 17 January 22, 1914, page 9 Presentation to Mr. Arthur Spurgeon. 18 February 5, 1914, page 12 Captain Inch honoured. Public recognition of gallantry. 19 March 11, 1914, page 5 Award of medals to Volturno rescuers (Sea Gallantry Medals).
LINER BURNED IN MID-OCEAN.
A HEAVY DEATH-ROLL.
The British steamship Volturno, which left Rotterdam on October 9 for New York, carrying passengers - mostly emigrants - and crew to the number of 657, has been destroyed by fire in mid-Atlantic. A heavy gale was blowing at the time. All of the survivors found on board when the vessels which responded to the Volturno's wireless telegraphic call for help arrived were saved, and are distributed among 10 steamships which rendered aid. The number rescued appears to be at least 521, and, according to a wireless message received by the Cunard Company from their steamship Carmania, the remaining 136 are supposed to have lost their lives while attempting to get away from the burning vessel in boats before the rescuing steamships reached the scene of the disaster.
The earliest intelligence of the outbreak of fire in the Volturno was received by Captain Barr, of the Cunard liner Carmania, last Thursday morning. He immediately made full speed towards the ship from which the call for help had come, and used the wireless telegraphic installation on his vessel to repeat the appeal for aid over a wider range. The Carmania was the first to reach the burning ship ; the Norddeutscher Lloyd steamships Grosser Kurfürst and Seydlitz followed, and later the Atlantic Transport Company's liner Minneapolis, Messrs. Furness, Withy, and Co.'s Rappahannock, the Russian Steam Navigation Company's Czar, the Anglo-American Oil Company's tank-steamer Narragansett, the Leyland Company's Devonian, the International Mercantile Marine Company's Kroonland, and the French steamship La Touraine arrived. The work of rescue was extremely difficult owing to the gale which was raging, and it was not until 20 minutes past 9 o'clock on Friday morning that the survivors had been taken off the Volturno. That vessel was then left a blazing wreck in latitude 48.25 North, longitude 34.33 West.
None of the vessels having on board rescued passengers or members of the crew of the Volturno has reached port on either side of the Atlantic. In all probability the earliest to do so will be the Carmania, which is due at Fishguard this morning. Captain Barr has decided not to attempt to enter Queenstown owing to the state of the weather.
From their New York Office, the Cunard Company have received the following cablegram :-
Caronia, 1346 miles east of New York 5 p.m. Saturday. Volturno reported still burning at 8 p.m., October 10.
AN EYE-WITNESS'S ACCOUNT.
ATTEMPTED RESCUES IN THE GALE.
By good fortune Mr. C. F. Hart, mechanical manager of the Daily Mail, was on board the Carmania, and he sent a graphic message to his paper. By the courtesy of the editor we are enabled to reproduce this telegram, which was despatched by wireless at 5.50 a.m. on Saturday, It is as follows :-
On Thursday morning Captain Barr, of the Carmania, received a distress call from the steamer Volturno, 78 miles off and almost exactly in mid-Atlantic. She was on fire with 657 people aboard, mostly emigrants. The Carmania crowded on full steam and with extra stokers made over 20 knots in the teeth of a raging gale, reaching the Volturno at noon. She found her forward end burning fiercely and the ship rolling heavily. Her propellers had been fouled with the ship's boat tackle which had been used in lowering six boats, only two of which got safely away from the ship. The other four, with passengers and crew, had been smashed against the ship's side by the terrific seas. All their occupants were drowned.
In spite of the continuing gale the Carmania with much difficulty lowered a boat. This, in charge of First Officer Gardner, made a gallant but futile effort to get alongside the Volturno. After two hours' battering and losing all but three oars, the rest being broken or torn from the crew's hands, the boat succeeded in making the Carmania again without loss of life or limb. Captain Barr then skilfully manuvred his huge vessel very close to the Volturno and finally got the Carmania's bow within a hundred feet of the Volturno's stern. It was, however, impossible to get a line aboard and to get anyone off. It was a terrible sight to see so closely hundreds of passengers, including women and children, and yet be unable to help them. All were in lifebelts, huddled hopelessly on the after-end of the ship, and the crew were vainly fighting the fire forward.
Captain Barr had meanwhile kept his wireless going with all the ships within radius. At 4 o'clock the Grosser Kurfürst and Seydlitz arrived, joined later by the Kroonland, Devonian, Rappahannock, Minneapolis, La Touraine, and Czar.
THE SCENE AT NIGHTFALL.
The gale slightly moderated towards night. Each ship as soon as possible put out boats, but the sea was still too heavy to get alongside, the boats returning to the ships with great difficulty owing to heavy seas and darkness. The Carmania fixed up searchlights and did good work in looking for struggling swimmers and the boats. About 9 o'clock the flames burst through amidships from the engine-room and bunkers. Then came an explosion. A flight of rockets followed from the now obviously doomed ship. The spectacle of the Volturno burning, with over 500 souls on board, surrounded by the huge lighted hulls of this international Transatlantic fleet, crowded with thousands of spectators, all eagerly anxious but unable to help owing to the mountainous seas, beggars description. All that could be done was to throw over lighted lifebuoys and stand by.
At 9.20 the wireless operator of the Volturno had to change over to batteries as the fire, reaching the boilers and engine-room, put the pumps and dynamos out of commission. Soon after this cries for help were heard near the Carmania. One man, a steerage passenger with a lifebelt on, was picked up by the aid of the searchlight. Only after a sailor had gone into the water with a life-line could the poor fellow be got on board. The other cries died away, and no one could be seen.
At midnight a ray of hope came when it was seen the flames were not making much headway aft of the engine-room after-bulkhead. At daybreak the Volturno was still afloat with the human cargo huddled in masses on the poop, where they huddled together between the devouring flames and the devouring sea. The sea had moderated considerably, and a flotilla of boats gathered at the stern of the Volturno. The boats took off in quick succession the survivors, who passed one by one down the life-lines. Daybreak saw two other arrivals - the Czar and the Narragansett, the latter an oil-tank steamer, which came at full speed and took up a position slightly to the windward of the Volturno. In a few minutes she had two large streams of oil pouring on the water, invaluably helping the rescue work of the small boats round the stern of the Volturno.
By 9 o'clock the remaining 521 passengers and crew had been safely taken off. Each ship went on a short cruise in different directions to scout for the two missing boats, which were launched before help arrived. Nothing so far has been seen or heard of them, and from the experience of the boat's crew of the Carmania in Thursday's gale little hope can be held out of their safety. This brings the total loss of life up to 136.
That over 650 lives were not lost and a sea tragedy second only to that of the Titanic averted is due :-
First, to wireless telegraphy ;
Secondly, to the speedy arrival and organization of Captain Barr, of the Carmania ;
Thirdly, to the splendid seamanship of the international rescue squadron ;
Fourthly, to the stanch bulkheads of the Volturno ;
And fifthly, and most of all, to the providential moderating of the gale during Thursday night.
The persons on the Volturno comprised :-
First class .. .. .. .. .. 24 Steerage .. .. .. .. .. 540 Crew .. .. .. .. .. 93 ----- Total number on board .. .. .. .. .. 657 Total saved .. .. .. .. .. 521 ----- Total lost .. .. .. .. .. 136
The survivors are distributed as follows :-
Grosser Kurfürst .. .. .. .. .. 105 Czar .. .. .. .. .. 102 Kroonland .. .. .. .. .. 90 Devonian .. .. .. .. .. 59 Seydlitz .. .. .. .. .. 46 La Touraine .. .. .. .. .. 40 Minneapolis .. .. .. .. .. 30 Narragansett .. .. .. .. .. 29 Rappahannock .. .. .. .. .. 19 Carmania .. .. .. .. .. 1 ----- Total .. .. .. .. .. 521
THE RING OF RESCUERS.
SHIPS OF SIX NATIONS BESIDE THE VOLTURNO.
(FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT.)
NEW YORK, OCT. 12.
So far as wireless messages have revealed, the fire was caused by an explosion - one account says an overheated propeller shaft. The Volturno's passengers were mostly emigrants from Eastern Europe bound for Halifax or New York. Had it not been for the violent gale and mountainous seas, which made it impossible to reach the vessel, it is believed that all aboard, except those who perished in the flames, would have been saved, since the wireless messages brought sufficient help.
One cabled account thus vividly pictures the scene witnessed by the rescuers :- " On Thursday night, as it fell dark, the 5,000 passengers of the ten ships that had come up to deliver those on board the Volturno had one of the most remarkable experiences that ever fell to those who sail the sea. They saw the great ship burning in the centre of the fleet, but were impotent to help. The flames that leapt from the Volturno illuminated the great waves that daunted the rescuing vessels. All around were steamships ablaze with light, whose occupants heard the cries of the Volturno's passengers and were powerless to give them aid."
As I have indicated, the rescuing steamships, flying the flags of six nations - British, American, German, French, Russian, and Belgian - rendered helpless by the fierce gale, stood by while their crews time and again faced death in efforts to reach the terror-stricken passengers crowded on the Volturno's poop deck, cut off on one side by seething flames and on the other by gigantic waves which prevented them from being taken aboard any of the vessels all around them. Boat after boat, it is related, was lowered by the rescuers - first by the Carmania, which found the Volturno rolling badly, her forward decks belching flames and smoke, her engines dead, and her propellers fouled by boat wreckage and tackle. By the orders of Captain Barr and the captains of the other vessels small boats attempted to reach the doomed ship, but each was driven back, the crews being obliged to fight desperately to save themselves. The Carmania, it is said, manuvred close to the Volturno with the object of throwing a life-line to her, but the effort failed.
According to versions published here, when the fire finally reached amidships of the Volturno during Thursday night flames suddenly burst from the engine-room with a terrific explosion, but apparently were checked there. On Friday morning the Volturno, still blazing, was abandoned, the calmer sea making rescues possible. Throughout the night the liners played searchlights upon the scene, thus enabling some persons to be rescued. Stories published here tell of many heroic deeds. One of the most pathetic features is that the surviving families are scattered, some on their way to European and some to American ports, while many are doubtless unable to learn whether their relatives are safe on board other vessels or were lost in the fire or the storm.
Already plans for raising funds in this city for the survivors have been made. The Mayor, Mr. Kline, has taken the lead, with Mr. Robert W. de Forest, chairman of the Red Cross Emergency Committee, Mr. Jacob H. Schiff, and others. A conference will be held in the Mayor's office on Monday. When the Kroonland and the Grosser Kurfürst arrive they will be met by the Red Cross organization, which will care for the survivors. Last night the Uranium, of the Uranium Line, started for the scene of the disaster to search for the two missing boatloads of passengers and to recover the bodies. Another ship may be sent out, it is said, from Liverpool on a similar errand.
The immigration authorities have notified the general manager, Mr. Thomas, of the New York office of the Uranium Steamship Company, that in the circumstances the usual regulations will be waived and the destitute immigrants will be admitted to this country without the usual restrictions.
THE FIRST-CLASS PASSENGERS.
(FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT.)
AMSTERDAM, OCT. 12.
I learn that all the first-class passengers were saved. Their names are :- Farber, Reimer, Sabsin (two), Kaplan, Friedman, the Tepper family (six), and Ridenski, all from Russia ; John Krug and Frieda Krug, from America ; Marianna Mrzigod, Adela Ceskor, and Karolina Chodala, from Austria ; Antoine Armand and Hedwig Eberle from Germany ; René and Jean Caserganda, from France.
OWNERSHIP OF THE VOLTURNO.
(FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.)
TORONTO, OCT. 12.
The Canadian Northern Railway Company are the owners of the Volturno, but are not interested in the Uranium Steamship Company. Mr. D. B. Hanna, vice-president of the Canadian Northern, estimates the loss at £80,000, but the company are protected by insurance to the extent of £60,000.
There seem to have been no Canadian passengers on board, but 260 immigrants had booked for Halifax, with Alberta and Saskatchewan as their ultimate destination. There were distressing scenes at Halifax among the relatives when the news of the disaster was received. As the vessel was chartered to the Uranium Company there is much speculation as to whether any legal responsibility for the lives lost rests upon the Canadian Northern Company.
A SURVIVOR'S STORY.
BEHAVIOUR OF THE CREW IN THE PANIC.
A wireless message received late last night from Mr. Arthur Spurgeon, manager of Messrs. Cassell and Co., the publishers, gives the following graphic description of the disaster, given to him by a survivor of the Volturno :-
CARMANIA, Radio via Crookhaven.
The most connected statement as to what took place on the Volturno is made by a passenger who swam to the Carmania and was rescued in an exhausted condition. Since his rescue he has been in the ship's hospital, and for a time he was threatened with pneumonia. On reaching Liverpool, he will be taken to an infirmary. Before he became ill he told me his story. His name is Walter Trintepohl. He is a German, and has been in the employ of a firm of merchants at Barcelona. Having had the offer of a position in New York, he took a third-class passage in the ill-fated Volturno. His story was told somewhat incoherently, and he speaks broken English. This is what he said :-
"We sailed from Rotterdam on Thursday, October 2, and all went well until 6 o'clock the following Thursday morning, when the fire-alarm was sounded. We were roused from our berths and told to go on deck as a fire had broken out in the hold. As we assembled on deck lifebelts were handed round, and much time was occupied in fastening them. We were told that the fire might soon be put out, but the captain thought it wise for all passengers to put on lifebelts as a precaution. The women were much upset and the children cried bitterly. There were many babies in arms. The fire grew worse, and we saw things blazing down below.
" About ten o'clock there was a cry to put out boats. The captain behaved splendidly as did the officers, who were English. I am sorry to say that the crew, who were Germans and Belgians, behaved very badly. People rushed about wildly, and the crew seemed to think they ought to have first place, and instead of quieting them they made the panic worse. The first officer took charge of the first boat, but although he wanted the women and children to be saved first, the majority of those on that boat were members of the crew. They lowered a boat, and just as it reached the water, it smashed against the ship's side. The boat broke in two and all were drowned. Meanwhile others of the crew were attempting to launch a second boat. I cannot say who was in charge, but I do know that after the chief steward had thrown some provisions into the boat he jumped in himself. There were more men than women and children in this boat. There was a big sea running. The boat did not go down far when it was broken against the ship's side and all were drowned. These two boats were amidships. Three other boats were put out which were aft. The fourth officer was in one of them, but I cannot say which. All was confusion. Ropes broke and occupants were thrown into the water and drowned or killed."
When Trintepohl was told that according to the captain's message six boats had been launched and that two had got away, he said :- " It is not so. I was there all the time and saw everything. No boat got away. When the captain saw what had happened he cut the tackle off the other boats so they could not be launched. We were so glad when we saw the Carmania come, for we said, 'Now we shall be saved.' The firemen rushed up from below and they refused to go back. The captain got out his revolver and drove them below, but not long after, as the fire was spreading, they had to give up working the engines. As soon as the Carmania came in sight the captain made all the women and children go to one side and the men on the other side. He had been compelled to leave the bridge and go aft, because it was too hot. The women wept, and shrieked, and laughed, and became hysterical.
When shown his boot with the sole half burnt through, Trintepohl said :- " I do not remember this, but it was awful when the flames burst out. Some women and some men tore their hair, but others were quite still. After the explosion I thought it better to make a jump for it, for I am a good swimmer. An English passenger and a member of the crew said they would come with me. I jumped first, and they followed, but I never saw them again. I made for the German ship but they did not hear me. Then I came towards the Carmania. I shouted, 'Help, help,' and then I was seen by a searchlight. I was about an hour in the water. I was very exhausted when I arrived and I became half-conscious. I do not know how I was got out. During the day five sailors and one steward fell into the fire and were burnt to death. I do not know anything else. I came away because it was too hot to stay any longer, and I thought the whole ship would blow up."
In an earlier message Mr. Spurgeon stated that at 9 o'clock on Thursday night the captain of the Volturno sent a last despairing message, " For God's sake, help us, or we perish."
A Tragedy of the Atlantic.
The grief and horror which the fate of the Volturno must everywhere cause will be mitigated, in part, by the reflection that, but for the recent applications of modern science, the disaster would have been yet more terrible than it is. Out of the 657 souls on board, at least 521 have been saved, and they owe their escape from a horrible death first, to wireless telegraphy, and next to the solidity of the bulkheads with which the ship was provided. The first news of the calamity was contained in wireless messages from CAPTAIN BARR, of the Cunard liner Carmania, and from the captain of the Grosser Kurfürst, of the North-German Lloyd fleet, who took part in the work of rescue. By the courtesy of the editor of the Daily Mail, a member of whose staff happened to be on board the former vessel, we are able to supplement these despatches by a vivid account of the last hours of the doomed ship. To learn the cause and the early course of the fire which destroyed her we must wait for the arrival of the Carmania, which is expected to reach England today. The Volturno, which belonged to the Canadian Northern Steamship Company, was leased to the Uranium Company, whose steamers ply between Rotterdam and New York, and she left the former port on October 2. On Thursday morning the captain of the Carmania received a wireless call to say that she was on fire some seventy-eight miles off. The Cunarder was at once steered for the position given in the message as that of the burning ship. She was driven ahead as fast as her engines could move her, and extra hands were employed in the stokehold. She reached the Volturno at noon in latitude 48.25 and longitude 34.33 west. MR. HART describes the terrible plight in which she found the emigrant ship. The fore part was blazing, the crew were striving to fight the flames, and the passengers were huddled together in the stern. Attempts had been made to get away six boats ; four of them had been smashed against her sides by the seas, and all who were in them killed ; two had got clear, but have not since been heard of, and the screws had been fouled by the tackle used in lowering the boats.
The worst horror of the situation lay in the fact that for hours the onlookers could render no effective aid. The sea ran so high under the strong north-westerly gale that no boat could approach the Volturno and live. One crew from the Carmania made a gallant effort to reach her, but after labouring for tow hours and losing most of their oars, they were forced to return. Then CAPTAIN BARR made a daring attempt to manuvre his own ship close to the burning vessel. He got within a hundred feet of her, but in the storm it was impossible to pass a line. At 4 in the afternoon the Grosser Kurfürst and the Seydlitz came up, and as the evening wore on they were followed by several other vessels. Before the Volturno was abandoned on Friday ten steamers had arrived in answer to the call. But at first they could do little but look on at the awful tragedy that was passing before their eyes. Towards evening the seas moderated. The Grosser Kurfürst had two boats out all night, but all they could do was to pick up those who jumped overboard. Lighted buoys were thrown into the water to assist them, and by morning the boats appear to have been able to get near the ship and take off all who were left alive on board. The captain of the Grosser Kurfürst says that the fire was " apparently " caused by an explosion forward, which killed several of the crew and passengers, and MR. HART reports an explosion about 9 on Thursday night. At daybreak on Friday morning help of an unexpected kind appeared. The tank steamer Narragansett arrived, and taking up a position a little to windward of the Volturno poured oil upon the troubled waters. MR. HART bears witness to the manner in which the process facilitated the work of the boats. By 9 in the morning all the passengers and crew had been taken off and safely transferred to the other ships.
Had it not been for the invention of the wireless telegraphy and the equipment of so many great liners and other vessels with it, it is almost certain that all of the 657 human beings on board the Volturno must have perished. She was, it is said, well supplied with boats, but, as we have often pointed out, boats frequently are but of little use in such seas as are common in mid-Atlantic. They cannot be got away, and if they are got away, they cannot live long amongst the waves. Search was still being made when the last messages were despatched for the two missing boats of the Volturno, but with very faint hope that they survived. Four, as we have already mentioned, were shivered against her sides, and another, out of which five men were taken, was almost immediately swamped. If the sea had not abated, it seems doubtful whether even the steamers which came to the rescue could have saved more than a few lives. But if they had not promptly answered the wireless call, the choice before those on board the Volturno would have been between death by burning, had they remained in the ship, or death by drowning or exposure, had they succeeded in getting away from her. All the ships which answered the summons and the captain and officers of the Volturno appear to have acted as we expect seamen to act in hours of emergency and danger. Unhappily the report of a German passenger casts severe blame upon the crew. But it is too soon yet to form and judgment on the conduct of those more immediately concerned in this appalling disaster.
FURTHER ACCOUNTS OF THE RESCUE.
GALLANT WORK BY SEAMEN.
Further accounts of the disaster to the British steamship Volturno, which was abandoned in flames in mid-Atlantic on Friday, are available now that the Carmania, the first of the international rescue fleet to answer her call for help, has come to port. The vessel reached Fishguard yesterday afternoon, and her passengers speak in terms of the highest praise of the gallant rescue work of her captain and crew. We publish Captain Barr's story of the Carmania's share of the rescue work, as told by him to our Liverpool Correspondent early this morning. As the derelict Volturno is, of course, a danger to the navigation, the Admiralty has dispatched the cruiser Donegal from Lamlash to seek and destroy her.
The Board of Trade are considering whether they shall exercise their powers under the Merchant Shipping Act and order an inquiry into the circumstances attending the loss of the Volturno. A final decision had not been reached yesterday, but it may be taken as practically certain that a full inquiry will be held by the Board in this country. The officials of the Marine Department of the Board are engaged in making the necessary enquiries to this end, and will take steps, as in the case of the Titanic disaster, to obtain statements of the circumstances from officers, members of the crew, and passengers of the Volturno, and from such persons in the rescuing ships as may be able to add material testimony to the inquiry. It may be added that an inquiry is now being held by the Board into the question of fire on board ships at sea and the provision of fire extinguishing apparatus. The committee has not yet reported.
(FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT.)
FISHGUARD, OCT. 13.
The Carmania dropped anchor outside the breakwater here this afternoon. The voyage of the famous Cunard liner from New York has been one of the most eventful in Atlantic travel, and the majority of the passengers bore evidence of the anxious time through which they have passed. Owing to the rough weather in the Irish Sea the steamer was unable to call at Queenstown, and her passengers for Ireland, about 90 in number, were landed here. This evening they travelled to Rosslare by one of the Great Western Railway's cross-channel fleet.
The passengers of the Carmania - which was more than 30 hours behind her scheduled time - had terrible experiences to narrate, but the gloom of their records of the disaster to the Volturno is relieved by their testimony to the heroism of the captains, officers, and crews of the Carmania and the nine other vessels which, in response to wireless signals, hurried to the burning ship. Next to the important part played in this disaster by wireless telegraphy the value of oil in calming troubled seas stands out conspicuously. It is now established that 136 persons lost their lives, and that, owing to the devotion of those on the ships that went to the aid of the Volturno, 521 were saved. Of the lost, five men were burned.
All the passengers speak of the agonizing moments they passed after they came in sight of the burning ship. The " S.O.S. " wireless signal was received by Captain Barr, of the Carmania, at 8 o'clock in the morning. She was then nearly 80 miles from the Volturno, but promptly extra stokers were put to work and the steamer raced at 20 knots - two knots beyond her normal speed - to the scene of the disaster. On her arrival it was found that in an attempt to launch the boats of the Volturno a large number of passengers had been drowned, the boats having been broken against the side of the ship. It was believed at first that two other boats, each containing 20 persons, which had got away from the steamer, were drifting in the sea, but after diligent search it was concluded that these, too, had gone down. Indeed, no boat of the size and capacity of those launched from the emigrant ship could have lived in a sea so terrific as that which was running at the time.
A DANGEROUS VENTURE.
Notwithstanding these dangers, Captain Barr decided to make an effort at rescue by the use of his ship's boats. First Officer Gardener was placed in charge of the largest of the ship's boats with a crew of six seamen and three stewards. The launching was a perilous undertaking. Before the boat had left the side of the steamer three oars were broken, and as they pulled towards the burning ship the hearts of the spectators on board the Carmania sank within them at the perilous buffeting that the boat was experiencing. Huge waves were breaking against the Volturno, and the boat had to turn back, for a nearer approach would have meant certain death. To get the boat back to the Carmania was an equally perilous task. At last Captain Barr gave orders that the men were to aim at their own safety and to abandon the boat. By skilful handling, however, all were safely got on board and the boat hauled up on the side opposite that from which it had been launched.
The last of the rescue ships to arrive was the Narragansett, which reached the at 4 o'clock on Friday morning. No time was lost in pouring hundreds of tons of oil on the waves. In the calm thus created - artificial thought it was - the boats from the several ships standing by were able to rescue the terror-stricken passengers. Before this successful expedient had been employed Captain Barr had unsuccessfully floated rafts in the hope that men who jumped from the burning ship might float off on them.
From this point the rescue work was successfully carried out. All on board were saved, the captain, holding the ship's papers, being the last to leave. Oil had rendered the one service necessary. The cause of the fire in the Volturno is at present unknown, but the assumption is that it was due to spontaneous combustion.
A RESCUE FROM THE WAVES.
The most distinctive instance of personal heroism recorded is that of a sailor named Edward John Heighway, who leapt into the rough sea on Thursday night and rescued the man Trintepohl, who had jumped from the Volturno. With the aid of the Carmania's searchlight, the man was seen drifting in the rough sea, being carried backward and forward on the high waves. Two of the Carmania's crew were at the foot of the pilot's ladder trying to get a lifebuoy to the man, but in vain. As it was impossible to launch a boat, Heighway, who was wearing a guernsey and seamen's boots, exclaimed, " I will go overboard and get the man." He jumped into the sea, and eventually managed to get hold of one of the life-lines which was thrown to him and passed it around Trintepohl's body. He himself was in great peril of being (Continued here).
(Continued from page 9 immediately above)
swept away, but held to the line with one hand while with the other he secured the man. It was a deed of daring, carried out with conspicuous coolness and skill. The first-class passengers raised a fund of more than £100 in recognition of the bravery shown by several of the Carmania's crew, and Heighway will share in the distribution.
Dr. Joseph C. Pole, who was on his way to Austria from the United States, describing the rescue of Trintepohl, said that his life-jacket was almost torn off his body by the waves and he was washed past the Carmania quite 10 times. Dr. Pole added that the small boats which attempted to get to the burning ship took with them small tanks or cans of oil, which they used to good purpose. One of the liners also sent a small steam launch when the waves had been calmed by the use of the oil.
Mr. Humphreys-Jones, of Liverpool, a saloon passenger, paid high tribute to the work of the Carmania. He said :-
I cannot speak too highly of the splendid manner in which Captain Barr and his officers and crew acted. Captain Barr did everything he possibly could. We were standing by the Volturno for 24 hours altogether. Apart from the terrible spectacle, the most dramatic thing was the providential appearance on the scene of the Narragansett. We saw the effect of the process of pouring thousands of tons of oil on the stormy sea. The result was almost instantaneous ; the waves became comparatively smooth. Had it not been for the use of the oil the rescue work would have been quite impossible.
WITH THE RESCUE FLEET.
CAPTAIN BARR'S STORY.
(FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT.)
LIVERPOOL, OCT. 14.
The Carmania arrived at Liverpool at 1 o'clock this morning, and I had the opportunity of hearing from Captain Barr his story of the rescue of the Volturno's passengers. Captain Barr said :-
When I arrived the Volturno's propellers were continually emerging from the water and the davits' gear was hanging over the side. It seemed hopeless in the heavy sea to lower a boat, but I tried one, and the men were keen enough to have manned four. The heavy sea took away the boat I did lower, but it was commanded by a very good sailor and managed to get back.
I asked the captain of the Volturno if he could hold the fire, and if I had time to run to the north-east to look for his missing boats. His reply was, " Yes, but don't go too far." The Seydlitz then hove in sight and I Marconied to her to stand by the Volturno. I went to the north-east, and lost sight of the vessel in the rain and squalls. Before I had gone a few miles I received an urgent wireless message from the Volturno asking me to go back. Acting on a suggestion from my chief officer I steamed to leeward to drop life-rafts, and informed the Volturno's captain by wireless of my intentions, and asked if he could manuvre accordingly. He got the message, but we received no reply. Then I backed and got the Carmania's stern within 100ft. of the Volturno. The captain wanted me to get a line aboard, and he threw life-belts for me to grab. It was an awkward position and there was great possibility of my ramming him. A line would have been of no use, for no line would have stood the strain. The German vessel, Grosser Kurfürst, meanwhile took up a position under the Volturno's lee and maintained it well. There was evidently a good man on the ship.
I suggested to the Volturno that life lines and lifebuoys should be fastened together so that people could cling to the lifebuoys and I should have a chance of picking them up. as I drifted down from windward. Another vessel's captain reported that he might reach a point where he could pick up passengers. At 9 o'clock at night there was an explosion on the Volturno and the flames became very brilliant. The sea was lit up with electric lights, and I used a searchlight. One of the German ships was the first to use the boats and credit is due to her captain. I picked out many boats with my searchlights. Then another vessel began using boats. At 11 o'clock we saw by searchlight a man swimming towards us. He proved to be a German third-class passenger. The liner Minneapolis also launched boats. I don't know how many vessels used boats, but one captain told me he sent out three and picked up 13 people. I did not send boats, this not being possible in my position, which was taken up with a view of drifting down in case the Volturno was abandoned, and picking up the people. I streamed towards one boat at 4.30, but in attempting to come alongside the boat was broken up by the sea. I hailed the man in charge of another boat to come alongside, and he told me both belonged to the Minneapolis and that he had been near the Volturno, but her passengers would not jump.
He could not get alongside the burning vessel on account of the sea. I told the crew to abandon the boat and come aboard. The officer in charge just then fell overboard, but was saved by a rope. By this time I had lost my position, and I tried to pick up other boats I had sighted. At daybreak there was much competition to get boats to work.
I was hampered by ships manuvring, but got close to the Volturno at 8.30 a.m.
It may seem curious that the Carmania was first on the scene she had only one rescued passenger from the Volturno, but I have shown how the Carmania was usefully employed during the night, and I do not think I could have done more. I think I was more usefully employed in directing the other vessels. I was told by one of the rescuing boats that the people on the Volturno seemed terror-stricken, and I think in the circumstances that the captain of the Volturno, as one against many terrified people, acted very bravely.
Moatby, the Carmania's wireless operator, told me that Seddon, the Volturno's operator, was a brick and worked steadily as a rock, his messages, although he was on the burning vessel, coming as clearly as though he was working from a shore station. He stuck to his post, and throughout the night sent messages as to the progress of the fire. We exchanged about 90 messages and the last appeal was. " We cannot last much longer. Can't somebody help us ? "
Captain Barr acted as Admiral of the Fleet of rescue ships, directing them where to go and what to do. Moatby added that he was on duty 24 hours.
RESCUE WORK OF THE CARMANIA.
A PASSENGER'S DESCRIPTION.
An account of the gallant rescue work done by the Carmania has been written by Mr. Arthur Spurgeon, manager of Messrs. Cassell and Co., the publishers, a wireless message from whom, containing the story of a German survivor of the disaster named Trintepohl, was published in The Times of yesterday. Mr. Spurgeon was returning from a business visit to Canada and the United States in the Carmania, which left New York last Saturday week. His account was written in mid-Atlantic on Friday. In it he says :-
On Tuesday a gale sprang up with a rough beam sea and heavy squalls. It grew worse on Wednesday, and on Thursday morning a wild storm was raging and a heavy sea running. When I came down to breakfast I was informed by one of the officers that a message had been received that a steamship 78 miles away was on fire. He added that she had asked for assistance and we were making full speed to reach her. Little did we imagine what thrilling experiences we were to pass through in the next 24 hours. We knew that Captain Barr, who is also Commodore of the Cunard Fleet, would soon reach the burning ship, and we anticipated that the saving of the passengers would only be a matter of time. Alas, what we expected to be nothing more that an exciting incident developed into a great disaster, which broke down strong men and made women weep. We did not know that the " S.O.S." signal had been sent out by the ship in trouble, but those in authority knew, and right nobly did they respond to the call. The engineers crowded on every ounce of steam, and the Carmania made a " record " for such bad weather, the 78 miles being covered in four hours. Long before we caught sight of the ship we saw clouds of smoke darkening the horizon. The vessel proved to be the Volturno. The officers were English and the crew mostly foreigners. She carried a general cargo, and it was in the forward hold that the fire broke out. I believe it was discovered about 6 o'clock on Thursday morning, and thus it had been burning six hours when the Carmania arrived. The crew did their best to extinguish the fire, but in spite of all their exertions it gradually spread, and it soon became evident that in the end the ship would have to be abandoned. The captain's thoughts were therefore directed to the saving of his passengers. He realized that it was impossible to launch any boats in that angry sea, and, moreover, he knew that in a short time the Carmania would be on the spot to render assistance.
LAUNCHING OF THE VOLTURNO'S BOATS.
What took place will not be known until Captain Barr makes his official statement. It is said that panic prevailed, that the captain was overruled and attempts made to launch several boats against his orders. The wireless message from the captain said that six boats were launched, that two got safely away, and four smashed to pieces, the occupants being killed or drowned. Another story is that the crew got out of hand, and, realizing that the fire could not be got under, insisted upon launching the boats forthwith. They tried to launch five in succession, but either the boats were smashed to pieces by the heavy seas or the ropes broke in lowering. It is believed that there were about 120 people in these boats, all of whom were killed or drowned. In the absence of reliable figures, I cannot make any definitive statement, but I am told that not more than one-third of those who got into the boats were women and children. This alone, if true, shows that there was an entire absence of discipline. Whichever story is correct, it is certain that the loss of life caused by the breaking or the upsetting of the boats was about 120. It is certain that if two did get away their fate must have been sealed, as ill-manned boats could not have lived in such a sea. Something unusual must have occurred, for by somebody's orders, presumably the captain's, the tackle of the other boats on the deck was cut away so as to stop the madness of attempting any other launching. I saw the cut tackle myself later.
A GALLANT EFFORT.
As soon as Captain Barr realized the position, he resolved to send one of the Carmania's lifeboats to the Volturno in charge of First Officer Gardener, who years ago had the unique experience of spending 23 days in an open boat. The crew consisted of nine picked men, whose names deserve to be recorded, as they played the part of undoubted heroes - James Donohue, D. Smith, W. Turton, Michael Murray, W. Donking, I. Tichling, John Wise, H. Payne, and G. O. Thompson. The launching was a difficult operation, bit it was smartly done, and a ringing cheer sent those gallant men on their way. Two or three oars were broken at the start, but these were replaced, and the men bent themselves to their task. Oil had been poured on to the sea, and for a short distance the water was fairly smooth, but soon they were lost to view, and it was only occasionally that we caught a glimpse of the boat, so terrific were the seas which it encountered. Unhappily, the hopes they entertained of being able to save some of the passengers were frustrated, for Mr. Gardener found it impossible to get anywhere near the burning ship. Huge waves were breaking against the vessel, and an attempt to get alongside meant certain death to his crew ; so regretfully he had to turn back, and, after two hours' battling with the angry sea, once more he was within hail of the Carmania. It was then seen that he had only three oars left out of eight, and it was an amazing feat of skill to bring his boat back safely with such a handicap. It looked more than once as if the boat would be smashed against the side of the Carmania, and the captain shouted from the bridge. " Get the crew out and let the boat go." At this moment, however, she was made fast. Two or three seized hold of the rope ladders and climbed aboard to safety, while others remained in the boat and were safely hauled to the upper deck. A great cheer greeted Mr. Gardener and his crew when the boat was raised to her davits and they jumped aboard.
Having failed to reach the Volturno in this way, Captain Barr, by an act of splendid seamanship, manuvred the Carmania quite close to the burning vessel. We could then see that the fore part of the ship was deserted, officers and crew and passengers having all been driven abaft by the awful heat. We waved signals of comfort and hope to the awestricken passengers, and a few handkerchiefs were waved in return, but it was evident that they were overwhelmed with the calamity which had befallen them. All were wearing lifebelts, and hoping against hope that rescue might come. It was impossible to make communication, and the two vessels drifted apart, and we watched and waited with bated breath. Late in the afternoon Captain Barr made another attempt to effect communication, messages having been received from the Volturno that the position was getting desperate and asking for rafts. These were sent adrift from the Carmania, and at one time it looked as if one of these might be secured by the Volturno, but the golden moment passed, and all other attempts equally failed. One will never forget the look of dire despair that settled on the faces of the passengers huddled together in the after part of the ship as effort after effort to save them resulted in failure. No longer did we wave signals of attempted comfort, for we knew that only a miracle could save them, and in the end a miracle really happened.
THE LAST EXTREMITY.
At half-past 6 we saw that the flames were occasionally breaking through the great clouds of smoke, and the captain of the Volturno sent us a despairing message that the upper plates would soon give way. Shortly afterwards, in desperation, he succeeded in lowering a boat, which he placed in charge of the second officer and four men. Their intention was to take a line to the Grosser Kurfürst, but the seas hurled them against the German liner, and though the men by good fortune were saved, the boat was dashed to pieces. All that could be done was to stand by and wait. At 9.30 the sky was suddenly illuminated with a lurid glare, and we observed that the fire was blazing furiously. The woodwork became alight, and it was at this moment that Captain Inch sent his last wireless appeal, " For God's sake send us help, or we perish." Simultaneously two rockets were fired, indicating that he had reached his last extremity. Twenty minutes later an explosion occurred, and the doom of those on board was apparently sealed. While we were gazing at the awful spectacle a cry was heard coming over the tempestuous waters : " Help, help!" The searchlight of the Carmania, the only ship on the scene possessing one, showed a strong swimmer in his agony. A lusty cheer greeted him as he made his way towards the ship. It was a difficult task to get him aboard, and two of the crew - E. J. Heighway and W. Garvey - bravely went to his assistance. There was much cheering when he was saved, after 20 minutes' anxious suspense. I never realized before how difficult it is to get anybody on board a vessel when heavy seas are running. The man was in a state of utter exhaustion, and was at once taken to the ship's hospital. He told Dr. Mackenzie that a dreadful state of things prevailed on the Volturno.
A NIGHT OF SUSPENSE.
The night we spent in the Carmania will never be forgotten. There was little sleep on board, except the sleep of exhaustion. Men and women paced the decks through the weary hours. Some obtained snatches of sleep in the drawing-room or in the lounge. Some prayed for the souls in peril, and all were racked with heartbreaking anxiety. A short distance away we saw the burning Volturno and her 520 passengers on the verge of a holocaust. What appalled us more than anything else was our utter helplessness. Here were gathered together, thanks to the agency of the Marconigraph, the finest fleet of liners ever assembled in the middle of the ocean, all fitted with the regulation number of boats, but owing to the fierce wind and furious seas they were absolutely powerless. Soon after midnight the Grosser Kurfürst managed to lower a boat with a double crew, and after battling with the waves for two or three hours got within speaking distance of the Volturno. The boat, however, was forced to return. The Minneapolis also put out a boat in charge of an officer and six men. The boat got within hail and the officer shouted to the affrighted passengers to jump. They either did not hear, owing to the roar of the gale, or they were hypnotized by terror, for nobody responded to the suggestion. Meanwhile a disaster threatened the boat's crew of the Minneapolis, who, in returning, were carried away by wind and current. At the critical moment a terrific sea broke away their rudder, and they were all at the mercy of the waves. Fortunately their plight was seen from the Carmania by the aid of the searchlight, and Captain Barr at once proceeded to their assistance. When the ship got alongside the men were in an utterly exhausted condition, and it was with the greatest difficulty that they were landed. The officer was hauled up by a bowline, and just as he had been taken out the boat was smashed to pieces. The men had been in their boat for five hours.
TAKING OFF THE PASSENGERS.
The time consumed by the Carmania in rescuing the boat's crew of the Minneapolis affected Captain Barr's plan of operations. He had had four boats ready to launch, the crews having stood by all night, but he had lost the favourable position he had occupied, and he was now the farthest from the Volturno. With that self-abnegation which always characterizes the true sailor, Captain Barr signalled to the other captains that as his ship was difficult to manuvre, if they could do the work he would stand aside. This will explain why the Carmania by did not share in the final stage of the rescue operations. At daybreak the wind moderated, and the miracle occurred to which I have already alluded. The tank steamer Narragansett arrived full of oil. Seventeen hours previously Captain Barr had sent out a general message inquiring whether a tank steamer was in the radius. The captain of the Narragansett replied that he would arrive about 6 o'clock with the " milk " - the seaman's word for oil - and he did. He at once pumped huge quantities round the burning vessel. He literally poured oil upon " troubled waters," and thus enabled small boats to approach with less danger. It was a stirring spectacle to see the assembled vessels putting off their boats as soon as day broke and they found that the oil had calmed the angry waves. To every one's astonishment and joy the people on board were still alive. They were let down by lines and rope ladders. Those saved by the Kroonland included the captain, the chief engineer, and the two Marconi operators, who had not left their post during the long day and night. The captain was the last to leave, carrying the ship's papers with him. He lowered himself into the Kroonland boat at 8 o'clock, exactly 24 hours after he had sent out the signal, " Save our souls," and after passing through the most trying ordeal to which a human being can be subjected.
The total number saved is 521. So far as one can judge, about 125 were lost by the upsetting of the boats. I am informed that five of the crew were burnt to death. Others not accounted for may have jumped overboard and not have been picked up. The total death-roll is therefore about 136. Before the assembled ships were dismissed Captain Barr was warmly congratulated by the other commanders on the part he played in this wonderful drama of the sea.
FIFTY KILLED BY EXPLOSION AND FIRE.
(FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT.)
NEW YORK, OCT. 13.
A wireless report received via Cape Race from the Grosser Kurfürst is published here giving additional details of the disaster to the Volturno. The message says that the Kurfürst, which is approaching New York with 105 survivors, was informed by a wireless message from the burning vessel that the fire was started by an explosion in the forward hold at 7 o'clock on Thursday morning, and also that 50 or more of the Volturno's crew and steerage passengers had been killed by the explosion and the fire. According to this report, six boats were lowered immediately afterwards from the Volturno's davits ; three of them, while still empty, were smashed against the side of the vessel ; another, with 40 passengers, capsized and all were lost. Two others containing some 60 to 80 persons got away, but apparently were lost. During the daytime the flames were kept more or less under control, but about 9 o'clock on Thursday night, when the fire reached the coal bunkers, and it was found necessary to close the bulkheads, the pumps were unable to work at full pressure and the flames spread throughout the forward part of the vessel. Shortly before 10 o'clock another explosion caused panic among the despairing passengers and crew. The Kurfürst rescued during the night 32 persons who had been washed or jumped into the sea.
According to a wireless message received here to-day by the North-German Lloyd Company from the Captain of the Grosser Kurfürst, 523 lives have been saved. The Council of Jewish Women, whose agents are permanently located at Ellis Island, are preparing to assist girls, women, and children among the survivors who will arrive here, and is appealing for money and clothing.
WIRELESS MESSAGE FROM THE CAPTAIN.
FULL STORY OF THE FIRE.
Captain Inch, the commander of the liner Volturno, which was burned in mid-Atlantic, has sent from the Kroonland an account of the disaster to his vessel, which gives some idea of the strenuous efforts of himself and his officers to ensure the safety of the passengers.
Several of the liners which shared in the rescue of the passengers reached their destination yesterday. The Minneapolis arrived in the Thames, the Devonian at Liverpool, and the Touraine at Havre, these three ships having altogether 131 survivors on board. The Kroonland, carrying the captain of the Volturno, the wireless operators, and about 90 passengers is being delayed by engine trouble, but the Czar, which has 102 survivors on board, and reached Rotterdam.
The narratives of the captains and chief officers of the liners which have now arrived illustrate vividly the difficulties and dangers of the work of rescue and the gallant conduct of the crews who manned the rescuing boats. All the passengers of the emigrant class taken off the Volturno are in a sorry plight, most of them having lost all their personal belongings. They are, however, being treated with every consideration by the Uranium Company.
WATCH IMPRISONED AND BURNED TO DEATH.
NEW YORK, OCT. 14.
Captain Inch, of the Volturno, sent the following story of the disaster by wireless to-night from the Kroonland :-
At 6.50 on the morning of October 9, in lat. 49.12 north, long. 34.51 west, fire was reported in hold No. 1 by the chief officer. At 6.55 the flames were burning through No. 1 hatches, setting fire to the forecastle and all the deck fittings. We slowed the ship and kept her before the wind to enable us to put the steam extinguishers in operation, and also three fire hose from the deck connexions. The flames were gaining rapidly, reaching the height of the foremast light.
The watch below were imprisoned and burned to death. In the forecastle a series of explosions now occurred, wrecking the saloon and the hospital amidships and the compass steering gear was also damaged. I gave orders to get help by wireless as soon as the flames burned the hatches.
It becoming seemingly impossible to save the ship, I had the boats provisioned and swung out. The ship was rolling heavily and the boats Nos. 13 and 5 were smashed, but No. 2 was lowered into the water, with the cabin passengers and the stewards, in charge of Chief Officer Miller. This boat capsized, throwing the occupants into the water. She afterwards righted herself and several of the crew re-entered the boat, the chief officer among them.
Boat No. 6 was lowered and got away safely, filled with steerage passengers in charge of fourth officer Langsell. No. 7 boat, in being lowered, caught under the stern and was completely wrecked.
Meanwhile the chief engineer, two seamen, and myself fought the fire, and, having apparently subdued the flames, I gave orders to send no more boats away, as I had received word from the Carmania that she was hoping to reach us at 11 in the morning. Lifebelts were served out and put on each passenger. The passengers now became calmer.
At 9 in the morning the bunker was discovered to be ablaze. It being impossible to stop the fire there on account of the gases, the watertight doors were closed and water was poured down No. 2 hatch upon the fire, which, however, was gaining all the time.
At 11 o'clock the Carmania arrived. She lowered a boat but it could not reach the ship on account of the high seas. I asked the Carmania to search for No. 2 boat. Next the Seydlitz arrived and lowered boats, but they could not reach us. About 3 in the afternoon the Carmania returned and tried to reach the ship with life-rafts. They all drifted past the bow too far away. By dusk several steamers had arrived. The Kroonland's boats made four attempts to come alongside but were swept away each time.
At 9.30 the saloon and chart house were in flames, and the deck and bridge and all before the funnel were blazing fiercely. The pumps' dynamo stopped owing to lack of steam. The Marconi operators were working with accumulators until 11, when the machine on the bridge blew up carrying away the aerial. Several boats lying off induced passengers to jump and they were rescued.
At midnight, the weather being overcast and squally, operations were suspended, it being too dark for the men on the boats to see. The fire meanwhile had worked through the women's steerage to the after end of the ship, but we kept the knowledge of this from the passengers who were quiet throughout the rest of the night. The chief engineer, the Marconi men, the seamen, and myself spent the night making small rafts in case the fire should have burned through the deck before daylight.
At 5.15 in the morning the first small boat arrived alongside. The weather and the sea had moderated and enabled us to embark the passengers quickly. All the steamers then sent boats, and we were enabled to load three with passengers. The passengers left in very orderly fashion. There was no panic. The women broke down and cried when help was alongside. All were off the ship by 8 in the morning, there being about 400 passengers.
I searched the ship myself and found no one on board, so I decided to abandon the ship, as No. 3 hatch was well alight. So with the remainder of the crew I embarked on the Kroonland. Nothing has been heard of the two missing boats. Passing vessels have been asked to keep a look-out.
Captain Inch, in conclusion, expresses his thanks to the officers and crews of the ships who stood by, and also to the Kroonland for fitting out himself and his men. - Reuter.
EMIGRANTS AT TILBURY.
THE FIRST ALARM OF FIRE.
(FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT.)
TILBURY, OCT. 14.
The Atlantic Transport liner Minneapolis arrived in the Thames today with 30 survivors of the Volturno on board. They were mostly Russians, Bulgarians and Poles, all apparently of the peasant class, and they presented a forlorn appearance in their wretched and tattered clothes many of them having lost all trace of their wives, children and friends in the flight from the burning ship last Friday morning. With one or two exceptions they spoke no English, but, with the aid of an interpreter, they were soon made comfortable in an emigrants' lodging in London, and they are to continue their journey to America tomorrow. These arrangements were made by the Uranium Steamship Company, the owners of the Volturno, who have provided them with free passages on the Olympic, which sails from Southampton to New York tomorrow morning.
The stories they told supplement in some respects the particulars already known of the events in the Volturno before the arrival of the relief ships. It was after the emigrants woke at 7 o'clock on Thursday morning that the first alarm reached them. One of their number, in going toward the women's quarters, saw the fire forward, and at once rushed back to warn his companions. They put on life-belts, and the man who had brought the alarm threw himself into the sea and was drowned. By this time the emigrants were rushing excitedly about, but they were got on to the upper deck where the collapsible boats were. The survivors specifically state that the first boat lowered was filled only with women and children, with two or three sailors to take charge of it. It was lowered down the side, but when it reached the water the waves dashed it against the ship and all the occupants were drowned. Although this first incident does not bear out the allegations of panic and insubordination on board the Volturno, it is evident from what occurred about this time that there were difficulties both with the passengers and some of the crew. A number of the emigrants took their places in one of the boats, apparently without orders, for they were promptly told to leave it, and one of the sailors beat them off with a stick. According to the survivors some of the sailors also attempted to save themselves at the first alarm. Several jumped into the sea, and would have been drowned had not ropes been let down with which they were hauled back. Again in the evening some of the sailors jumped into the water near the boats, but what their fate was could not be seen. These, however, were the exceptions. The crew generally kept discipline, the women and children were given the first chance, and the evidence of the officers of the Minneapolis is that the Volturno's captain and crew had complete control of the ship. The survivors were loud in their praise of the medical officer and one of the crew, who endeavoured to calm their fears and persuade them to wait patiently for the relief ships.
Some pathetic stories were told by individual survivors. A middle-aged man named Wolf Weisburg had seen all his family separated. His wife, who was ill, was taken off with a child of four, another child aged six was placed in a different boat, and Weisburg himself was separated from them all, and is still unaware whether they escaped with their lives. Another man was parted from his eight-year-old son and does not know what has become of him. All the emigrants have lost their effects, and will have to wait till they get to New York before they can meet their friends and relatives again. The passengers taken off by the boats of the Minneapolis were all men, the explanation being that the women and children were taken off by earlier boats, while many had gone in the Volturno's boats, of which nothing has since been heard.
GALLANT ATTEMPT AT RESCUE.
The rescues were effected about half-past 6 on Friday morning, the sea having gone down about 5 'clock. During the night, however, while the gale was at its wildest, a gallant attempt was made to save the passengers in one of the lifeboats of the Minneapolis. The liner had reached the scene of the disaster about 9 o'clock at night, after 12 hours' steaming. At first she could get nowhere near the Volturno. About midnight Captain Hasker ordered one of his boats to be launched, and First Officer Robison was put in charge of a number of volunteers. The whole crew offered to go, but Mr. Robison picked out six of them and rowed towards the burning ship. It was a pitch-dark night, and the boat's crew were often lost to sight in the trough of the waves. When they reached the Volturno and hailed the deck from a distance of about 30 yards, the passengers refused to jump. The boat's crew, who were much exhausted and half-blinded by smoke from the fire, lay to for a time, but could persuade none of the passengers to risk the chances of being picked up. The boat accordingly steered back towards the Minneapolis, but their chance of reaching her seemed slight when the Carmania drifted down to them. By this time the boat had lost her rudder and was helpless. The crew, who after four hours rowing in a tempestuous sea, were completely exhausted, with difficulty scrambled up the side. Mr. Robison was the last to leave the boat. A life-line was flung to him, which he had just placed under his arms when a heavy sea threw him into the water. At the same time the boat was dashed against the ship's side and foundered, while the First Officer was hauled up to the Carmania's deck unconscious. The boat's crew were in continual peril throughout this trip. They were rowed over to the Minneapolis later in the morning.
RESCUES BY THE DEVONIAN.
(FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT.)
LIVERPOOL, OCT. 14.
The Leyland liner Devonian, with 59 survivors of the Volturno, arrived at Liverpool to-day at noon. While she was still off the bar the company's manager, Marconied to Captain Trant, the officers, engineers, Marconi operator, and crew :- " Well done. All directors, manager and staff of Leyland are proud of you." The Devonian having been berthed alongside the landing-stage, Captain Trant courteously received me on board, and gave me a narrative of the share which he and his crew had in the rescue of the Volturno's passengers.
He said it was at 12.45 on Thursday that he received from the Carmania a wireless message that she was standing by the Volturno, which was on fire, and that two boats were adrift with passengers. He altered his course towards the position indicated, which was about 130 miles distant, and orders were given to the chief engineer to make all possible speed. Shortly after 10 o'clock the Devonian drew alongside the Volturno, and a boat in charge of the chief mate was lowered. He described how at various times they lowered other boats to pick up passengers, and said that he and his crew were engaged in these operations until shortly before dawn, when he decided it was advisable, in case of the Volturno foundering, to steam round and lie close under the burning vessel's stern. " The forward-end of the ship," he said, " was at this time completely gutted, and the flames were creeping aft. At 6 the weather began to moderate, and from this time onwards, we were able to send boats out and take them up again with their complement of survivors. The women and children were saved first, but afterwards it was possible to deal with the men. The method of rescuing the passengers was that of baskets slung on to life-lines. By half-past 7 all the survivors had left the Volturno either for the Devonian or the other vessel, and about 9 o'clock I decided to proceed on my voyage."
Captain Trant paid a tribute to the steady behaviour of his crew, and said the second officer, W. H. Baker, made a special report to him of the conduct of Arthur Hazlewood, one of the able seamen in No. 5 boat. When she was taking off the women and children, a frenzied woman in the Volturno threw her child down with the intention of having it caught by those in the boat, but it fell between the ship and the boat. Hazlewood at once jumped into the water and came to the surface with the child in his arms. He ran great risk of being crushed between the ship's side and the boat, and it was only with difficulty that he and the child were dragged into the boat.
Perhaps the most pathetic figure of all among the survivors in the Devonian is that of a girl aged four years. The mite's nationality even is not known. She is not English, but she can say " Daddy," and it the only word she has uttered since she has been on board. There is no one to claim her, and no one can speak to her in her own tongue. Mr. Frank Marx, an American opera-house manager, who was a passenger in the Devonian, bore testimony to the magnificent seamanship displayed by Captain Trant.
GALLANT RUSSIAN SEAMEN.
THE WORK OF THE CZAR'S LIFEBOAT.
(FROM OUR CORRESPONDENTS.)
AMSTERDAM, OCT. 14.
Captain Smiltneck, of the Czar, belonging to the Russian East Asiatic Company, which has 102 survivors of the Volturno on board, has wired his agents at Rotterdam, Ruts and Co., a report of the disaster.
He states that about noon on Thursday last he received a wireless communication that the Volturno was on fire and that the Carmania had arrived on the scene. His own vessel was about 150 miles away, with a north-westerly gale blowing, but he immediately steered his ship straight for the spot indicated, which was reached about midnight. He placed his vessel on the windward side of the Volturno, and at 1 o'clock lowered a boat under the command of the chief officer, which after approaching the burning vessel, returned almost immediately with 15 persons. After these were brought on board, the boat returned under the command of the third officer, who made three trips with fresh men each time. When the sea calmed down the work of rescue proceeded rapidly, and the Czar's lifeboat made a fifth journey with the second officer, and the remaining persons on board the Volturno were taken off with the exception of the master and six officers. The work was completed at 8 o'clock and then all the vessels steamed round searching for the missing lifeboats.
It is clear from this very sober report that the crew of the Czar who went in the lifeboat five times are indeed brave men. Besides, this steamer has the greatest number of survivors on board. The captain also wires the names of the 'tweendeck passengers rescued by the Czar, and to judge from the names, most of them are Russians or Poles. The administrator of the Volturno, Mr. W. L. Brown, the surgeon, and three members of the ship's company are also on board.
ROTTERDAM, OCT. 14.
The Czar arrived in harbour to-night with 102 survivors.
The emigrants gave a pitiable but picturesque impression in the electric light. Their declarations in reply to those who conversed with them were very confused and contradictory. One of them said to me that passengers could not tell the real story of the accident because he thought all of them were sleeping when, at 6 in the morning, the alarm bell was rung. Coming on deck he saw the fire high on the foredeck. The statements as to the behaviour of the crew given by different passengers were very contradictory. Among the children there were some who did not know their right name, and others were crying for their parents.
THE TOURAINE AT HAVRE.
(FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.)
PARIS, OCT. 14.
The French liner, La Touraine, reached Havre at 9 o'clock this morning carrying 42 survivors from the Volturno, mostly Rumanians, Serbs, and Poles. The first officer gave an account of their rescue from the burning vessel.
The Touraine was 205 miles away from the Volturno when, at 8 o'clock on Thursday morning, she received the call all help. By 9 in the evening she was in sight of the wreck, which was already surrounded by six other liners and was sending up dense clouds of smoke and flames 30ft. high from her decks. Captain Caussin ordered two whale boats to be launched in command of the first and second officers. The launching was carried out with the greatest difficulty, owing to the roughness of the sea, and the first boat was almost smashed against the side of the Volturno. When the first officer's boat got alongside the Volturno, five passengers leapt into it at once and almost swamped it. Three other boats were sent from the Touraine, and by 6 o'clock they had brought back 42 persons. By 7 there was no one left on board the wreck, and at half-past 8 the Touraine continued her voyage.
The rescued passengers state that the fire broke out about 7 on Thursday morning in the forward hold. They believe that it was caused by a cigarette thrown away carelessly by one of the emigrants. They deny the stories of the disgraceful behaviour of the crew. The plight of the refugees is pathetic. Most of them have been parted from husbands, wives, or relations, of whose fate they know nothing, and there are eight little children, of ages ranging from two to eight, who are left without parents. Nearly all of the survivors had to borrow some article of clothing from the passengers of the Touraine. Lodging will be given them temporarily in the buildings of the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique.
All the Touraine's passengers testify to the splendid behaviour of Captain Caussin, as does Captain Caussin to that of his men. When the boats' crews returned from the Volturno they were ready to go out again at once, although wet through and exhausted. Captain Caussin, however, changed the crews. According to him the first passengers rescued from the Volturno were those taken off in the Touraine's boats.
THE CONDUCT OF THE VOLTURNO'S CREW.
(FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.)
BERLIN, OCT. 14.
It appears from the latest telegrams from London that the question of the behaviour of the crew of the Volturno is forming material for unseemly controversy. It is useless to discuss the subject upon the basis of such information as is at present available here. I have, however, compared the text of Walther Trintepohl's statement as published in the London newspapers yesterday morning with the telegrams published here last night. The following passage occurs in the English text :-
The fire grew worse . . . The captain behaved splendidly, and so did the officers, who were English. I am sorry to say that the crew, who were Germans and Belgians behaved very badly.
A German news agency, instead of this passage, telegraphed the following :-
The fire ate its way farther and farther and the captain and officers lost their heads. They ran hither and thither and behaved very badly. They apparently did not know what to do.
This report appeared in a large number of German newspapers last night, including the Berlin Lokalanzeiger, Kreuz Zeitung, and the Berliner Neueste Nachrichten. It must be added that several German journals have attributed the disaster to the inadequacy of the English regulations for sea-going ships.
A telegram from New York dated yesterday states that the liner Kroonland, which has Captain Inch and about 90 survivors of the Volturno on board, has developed a flaw in her crank shaft, which is retarding her speed. According to a wireless message which has been received from the Kroonland, the survivors praise the gallantry of Captain Inch, who, although injured and weak from loss of sleep, refused to abandon his ship until he was convinced that he was the last person on board able to leave. They also eulogize the heroic conduct of the wireless operators, Messrs. Seddon and Pennington.
SUPPOSED CAUSE OF THE FIRE.
A wireless message which has been received at Montreal from the Kroonland states that the survivors of the Volturno on board declare that it was the smashing of some boxes containing chemicals in the hold and the mingling of their contents which caused the first explosion and the subsequent fire on the liner.
POSITION OF THE VOLTURNO.
The Cunard Company received the following Marconigram at 12.45 p.m. yesterday via Crookhaven wireless station from Commander Roston, of the Campania :- " 2.15 p.m., October 12th. Steamed round Volturno latitude 47.37 north, longitude 33.45 west going south-east (?), about one knot per hour, smoking, but hull appears to be in good condition. Liable to float indefinitely. La Turaine six hours later continued search but did not see boats. There is no news from other steamers. High swell, north-west wind. All well."
THE WRECK OF THE VOLTURNO.
CRITICISM OF THE RESCUERS.
BOARD OF TRADE INQUIRY.
The Board of Trade have instructed the Solicitor to the Department to take the necessary steps for holding an inquiry into the burning of the Volturno and the attendant loss of life. No date has yet been fixed for the opening of the inquiry.
A telegram from Antwerp states that the local seamen's society is much concerned at the charges that have been made against the conduct of the Volturno's crew, which is said to have been composed of Germans and Belgians. The society is convinced that there is some mistake as to the nationality of the men, and the Minister of Marine has been asked to hold an inquiry into the composition of the crew and to have the results published in the home and foreign newspapers.
EMIGRANTS KEPT AT BAY WITH REVOLVERS.
(FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT.)
AMSTERDAM, OCT. 15.
The fourth officer of the steamship Czar, Mr. Frederic Weidner, has related briefly the story of the disaster to the Volturno to the Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant. His statement confirms in almost every particular the report which the captain telegraphed to his Amsterdam agents and which is published in The Times of to-day. Mr. Weidner goes on to say :-
We rescued Dr. Canter, Administrator Brown, Greaser Charles Holl, and the 'tween deck steward, Underwood, who said that the ship's boats had been smashed when they attempted to lower them and that the firemen had extinguished the fires and filled the boilers when the watertight bulkheads of the engine-room could be closed. The stewards distributed the lifebelts and assisted the passengers into the boats. When the Carmania appeared the panic ceased, as though they all thought they would be saved. Three of the crew were in the forecastle head and were burnt alive. One of the saved told me that a Dutch naval officer and his wife sprang hand-in-hand into the sea with lifebelts on, but disappeared immediately. The survivors said they had not suffered much from either flames or smoke, because the wind blew over the stern.
One of the survivors brought by the Czar, a Frenchman named Binaut, who was rescued with his son, a youth of 16, says:-
The fire broke out at 6 in the morning. At 8 there was a terrific explosion. The flames burst amidships and there was a general sauve qui peut. The emigrants rushed to the 'tween decks to save their belongings, but they were kept at bay by the officers with revolvers. Some boats were lowered, but were smashed and some people jumped into the sea. Indescribable confusion followed.
In the afternoon three large steamers appeared, but they could not effect communication. The panic-stricken crowd became uncontrollable by the crew, who were busy fighting the ever-winning flames. At 3 the next morning the sea calmed and from all sides lifeboats pushed off. Then more confusion arose. My son was thrown into the boat, and I followed. I lost sight of my wife and daughter, but I hope they have arrived at another port.
Second officer Saulerley says that the cargo consisted of carbide and other inflammable material. The cause of the fire is still unknown, but it probably originated in the cargo.
THE LAUNCHING OF THE RESCUE BOATS.
A VOLTURNO OFFICER'S COMPLAINT.
An Exchange Telegraph Company's telegram dated New York yesterday says :-
The Grosser Kurfurst with 105 of the Volturno survivors, has arrived here. Edward Lloyd, the second officer of the Volturno, is most bitter in his criticism of the other liners in their failure to send boats. He says Captain Inch became desperate and called for volunteers to show the other captains that it was not impossible to launch the boats. I and three others volunteered. We got as far as the Grosser Kurfurst, but our boat was smashed and we were almost lost.
Mr. Lloyd, asked why the Carmania saved only one person, replied :-" God only knows. No boats were lowered from the Carmania, and no boats were sent from her even after we showed the way."
Many passengers on the Kurfurst corroborated the statement made by the second officer.
THIRD OFFICER'S STORY OF THE FIRE.
Mr. Disselman, the third officer of the Volturno, who is also on board the Grosser Kurfurst, has given an account of the scenes in the Volturno after the outbreak of fire.
The cause of the fire, he said, was the explosion of a drum containing oil or chemicals in the fore part of the vessel. The Volturno trembled as if she had been struck by a heavy shell, and almost immediately other drums began to explode in rapid succession, giving the impression of a severe cannonade. Captain Inch from the bridge shouted an order to man the lifeboats, and sailors at once sprang to the davits. The gale was howling round the ship, the seas were sweeping by her in great rollers, and, to crown all, the passengers came running in panic to the decks and crowded to the rails, increasing the difficulty of the crew in lowering the boats.
When word was received that the Carmania was coming I ran to the passengers, who were huddled aft, some praying, some laughing, and shouted at the top of my voice, " The Carmania is coming!" Most of them fell on their knees at hearing the news, and the panic which until then had reigned among them was at an end. The flames beneath the deck seemed to be under control, but the forecastle was burning fast.
I met Captain Inch in the midst of the smoke which was rolling up from the holds, and he complained that his eyes were badly burned and that he was half-blinded. None of us thought of the 80 or 90 steerage passengers in compartment one. The explosion occurred near breakfast time, and I fear that many of these people must have been cut off by the flames. We can only imagine what happened to them. When it seemed that the flames had died somewhat Captain Inch tried to enter the sailor's forecastle. In the passage-way he found the bodies of four sailors who had been burned to death.
DESPAIR OF CAPTAIN INCH.
At half-past 2 in the afternoon a fierce fire broke out in compartment two. We tried to chop through the iron deck to get at it, but could not do so. Finally the hatchways fell in, and we then poked the hose and steam pipes through them.
Captain Inch was desperate. At one moment he turned to me and said, " I don't think we shall last long now." He was groaning when he said this, and his eyes were almost out of his head. They were so badly burned that he could not read the wireless messages, and I read them to him. He wanted nothing to eat. All he wanted was to save the passengers.
Eventually all the steam was exhausted and the pumps stopped working. The flames then rose higher, darkness began to fall, and the ship got hotter and hotter. By 9 o'clock at night great flames were shooting from the saloon. The passengers were crowding the rails aft, and it looked as if the end had come.
Captain Inch tried to shoot a line over one of the rescuing boats with a rocket, but the rocket shot up leaving the line behind, and a spark from it set off all the other rockets at once. Almost at the same minute the ship was again shaken, by a terrific explosion near the bridge. Half a dozen passengers jumped into the water, and Captain Inch, turning to me, said, " If you see a chance for your life take it and jump." Some of those who had leaped overboard had lines tied about them, and we pulled them back on deck when we saw that they could not make the boats.
Mr. Disselman effected his own escape by sliding down a rope to a lifeboat alongside. With regard to the alleged inactivity of the captain of the Carmania in helping in the work of rescue, Mr. Disselman said :-
The captain did all he could, and it was utterly impossible for the Carmania's boats to live in the sea when she first arrived. Later on there was an abundance of small boats from the other ships which rendered the use of her own superfluous. She rendered the best service by covering the boats engaged in the rescue work with her searchlights. - Reuter.
THE BURNING DERELICT STEAMERS.
THE QUESTION OF THE CARGO IN PASSENGER SHIPS.
Not only is the Volturno adrift in the North Atlantic, but the Templemore, abandoned on fire there on September 30, is now reported to be riding high out of the water. Presumably the fate of the Volturno is sealed, for the cruiser Donegal is on her way with orders to seek and destroy the derelict. In a message from New York it is stated that the Templemore was boarded by the captain of the Fabre liner Madonna and was actually towed for an hour. The captain thought that there was considerable value left and that the vessel could be towed in ; and a revenue cutter has been sent out by the United States Government. If the Templemore is brought to port it will be interesting to learn the condition of the 130 tons of copper and also of the large quantity of tobacco that were shipped in the vessel.
One of the most important reports respecting the Volturno is that received through the Kroonland to the effect that the fire is attributed by some of the survivors to the smashing of some boxes containing chemicals and the mingling of their contents. Until the facts are established judgment cannot be formed, but in any event the question of the carriage of specially inflammable cargo in passenger ships is one that calls for careful investigation. In the North Atlantic trade, at any rate, there are plenty of non-passenger ships available for the transport of such material. Serious fires have occurred often enough through the mere heating of coals in the bunkers, and it is extremely desirable that the risk to passengers of fire through the carriage of dangerous cargo should be eliminated. Certain Eastern exports, such as copra, are believed under particular conditions even to be liable to the risk of spontaneous combustion.
RESCUE WORK OF THE OIL TANK SHIP.
STATEMENT BY THE CAPTAIN.
The Anglo-American Oil Company's steamer Narragansett, with 29 passengers of the Volturno on board, reached the Thames this afternoon and moored at Purfleet. The ship was welcomed below Tilbury by a tug with the band of the training ship Cornwall on board, and she came to her moorings amid cheers of the crowd on the jetty and a chorus of sirens. Captain Harwood, having acknowledged the welcome, gave an account of the important part the Narragansett played in the rescue work in Mid-Atlantic.
He said that when he got the Carmania's message he replied that he was coming full speed to pump a circle of oil round the ship, so as to allow boats to go backwards and forwards in safety and with speed. He sighted the wreck at 5 o'clock, ship's time, on Friday morning, and at 7.20 he started to pump oil on the sea under the stern of the Volturno. At 7.31 he launched two lifeboats in charge of Chief Officer Johnson and Second Officer Noton. The first boat returned 49 minutes later with 21 survivors, and the second boat after an interval of ten minutes with eight survivors. " That shows the effects of oil," he remarked. " Liners should carry oiltanks as well as boats. We do not know how much oil we have pumped out, as the cargo has not yet been guaged. I do not think the quantity would be 50 tons, so you see the wonderful effect a comparatively small amount has." He had about 3,000 tons of lubricating oil on board and it was pumped slowly through two four-inch hoses, the pumps being kept going for nearly two hours 50 minutes.
" This lubricating oil answers well," Captain Harwood said. " I was on the bridge and watched the boats and saw the way they went. Look at the time they were doing it! No time at all. It was marvellous. I believed in oil before, but I swear by oil on the troubled seas now. The only drawback is that if people have to swim in a sea where there is oil they have no chance. If they swallow it they are done.
He did not get any message asking if there was an oil tank ship in the neighbourhood of the Volturno. When he informed the Carmania he would be there early on Friday morning, Captain Barr told him he did not think that would be much use, as it was feared the ship would not last so long. He was determined that he would keep going, so he told Captain Barr he would be there at 8, and he was there just after 7. If he had left New York the day before, as he should have done, it was his belief that with the use of oil there would not have been a soul lost. He laughingly denied sending the message attributed to him, that he would be there in the morning with the " milk."
Captain Harwood and the officers and crew of the Narragansett attended last night's performance at the Coliseum on the invitation of Mr. Oswald Stoll. The visitors were enthusiastically welcomed by the audience, and after the performance they were presented to Mme. Sarah Bernhardt.
CONDUCT OF THE VOLTURNO'S OFFICERS AND CREW.
(FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT.)
AMSTERDAM, OCT. 16.
The Campanello, of the Uranium Steamship Company, sister ship of he Volturno, left Rotterdam to-day for New York, carrying 87 of the survivors of the Volturno who were rescued by the Czar. A few remain at Rotterdam, among them being four children without any relations. The mother of two of these was probably saved by another ship.
One of the survivors states that after the outbreak of fire, and notwithstanding the explosions, the officers remained coolly at their posts endeavouring to calm the passengers, and that their splendid behaviour had an excellent effect. The survivors have been very well cared for.
BRUSSELS, OCT. 16.
Owing to statements which have been made in the Press to the effect that the Belgian seamen on the Volturno behaved badly and aggravated the panic on board, the Minister of Marine has ordered an inquiry and has sent an official to Rotterdam to obtain information regarding the exact composition of the crew and to question the survivors.
The Minister says that the statements appear the more open to question since it was the Belgian seamen of the Kroonland who saved no less than 90 of those on board the Volturno. - Reuter.
The following names of the British members of the crew of the Volturno are supplied by the Board of Trade :-
Francis Inch, aged 35, Greenfield-road, Tottenham.
H. P. Miller, 33, chief officer.
E. Lloyd, 40, second officer.
W. Seddon, 20, Marconi operator.
C. J. Pennington, Marconi operator.
H. Carter, Manchester, surgeon.
W. D. Brown, purser.
James Hipkins, fireman.
M. Reidy, fireman, Cork.
C. S. Paul, fireman, Madras.
E. Gunner, sailor, Wimbledon.
William Underwood, steward, Lincs.
There were 87 in the crew, 12 being British, one American, one Russian, two Danes, and the rest divided between Dutch and Germans.
KING OF THE BELGIANS AND THE RESCUERS.
(FROM OUR CORRSEPONDENT.)
BRUSSELS, OCT. 16.
King Albert has sent a telegram to the board of the Red Star Line expressing to the captain, the officers, and men of the Kroonland his sincere congratulations on the splendid behaviour and courage they showed in helping to save the passengers of the Volturno.
REWARDS FOR GALLANTRY.
Our Liverpool Correspondent telegraphs that Liverpool shipowners are recognizing in a substantial way the bravery of the seamen who took part in the rescue of the Volturno's passengers. The Cunard Company have decided to recognize the services rendered by the Carmania by granting one week's pay to the whole of the crew of the vessel. The Leyland line are also making grants in recognition of the work done by the men of the Devonian. To each of the sailors who assisted in manning the lifeboat a monetary grant is to be made, and there is to be a presentation in some other form to Captain Trant and his officers. Price, the sailor who went over the side of the ship and effected an exceptionally brave rescue, is to receive a sum of money similar in amount to that granted to the seamen forming the boats' crews.
THE VOLTURNO'S CARGO.
A Central News telegram from Amsterdam, dated last night, states that the management of the Uranium Steamship Company have issued an official statement to the effect that the Volturno was carrying no carbide or explosives.
THE VOLTURNO SUPPOSED TO HAVE SUNK.
The White Star liner Cymric arrived at Queenstown yesterday morning and reported that she made a search for the liner Volturno, but, not being able to see her, it was surmised that she has sunk.
The captain of the Lapland, which reached Dover from New York last night, reported that he kept a look-out, but saw nothing of the Volturno's missing boatloads of passengers or of the Volturno.
THE LOSS OF THE VOLTURNO.
BOARD OF TRADE INQUIRY.
The Board of Trade officially announce that the inquiry regarding the steamship Volturno will be heard before the Earl of Desart, sitting as Wreck Commissioner, assisted by duly qualified Assessors, one of whom will be specially nominated as having expert knowledge as to fires on ships.
The officers and crew of the Volturno who were taken to New York by the Grosser Kurfürst and the Kroonland will, with the exception of Captain Inch, sail to-day on the Oceanic to attend the Board of Trade inquiry. Captain Inch will probably leave New York on Wednesday on the Mauretania.
A telegram from the White Star Line dated October 17 states :- " Commander of steamer Cymric reports that at midnight on 12th, in 48.10 N., 47.41 W., steered in a south-east direction for 45 miles without seeing anything of steamer Volturno or her missing boats. Weather fine and clear."
Our Brussels Correspondent, telegraphing last night, says that the Minister of Marine has just been informed from Rotterdam that no Belgian seaman was on board the Volturno, and that the imputations against " Belgian members of the crew" are therefore groundless.
DETAILS OF THE CARGO.
(FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT.)
AMSTERDAM, OCT. 17.
I am in a position, by the courtesy of the Rotterdam agents of the Uranium Steamship Company, to give the following complete detailed list of the cargo of the Volturno :- Potatoes, cheese, cake, currants, peas, softs, rapeseed oil, crockery, bulbs, wine, glassware, paper, leaden bullets, salted hides, quinine, cacao husks, lamps, saltpetre, barium chloride, books, magnesite plants, straw covers, straw mats, aniline paint, aniline oil liquor, empty bottles, barium superoxide, photographic plates, mosslitter, tea, ironmongery, medicine, tar oil, petrochloride, and provisions.
At Liverpool last night a presentation was made by the general manager of the Cunard Steamship Company to Mr. Francis Gardner, first officer of the Carmania, in the form of a gold watch, which was subscribed for by the saloon passengers in recognition of his gallant attempt to reach the Volturno in one of the Carmania's boats. The watch bears an appropriate inscription.
THE VOLTURNO STILL AFLOAT.
On arrival at Liverpool yesterday from Newport the British steamer Ikbal reported that in lat. 47.20 N., long. 36.5 W. she passed a derelict with the lettering ---TURNO visible. The first letters in the name were not discernible having been scorched off. The hull was still smouldering in holds No. 1 and 4, and all hatches were open. The hull was apparently in good condition and liable to remain afloat. A strong north-easterly gale was blowing, with a high sea, when the Ikbal " rounded up under her lee " or the hull would have been boarded. The vessel's funnel remained, but the masts were gone, and all deck erections, excepting ironwork, were burnt out.
THE DERELICT VOLTURNO SIGHTED.
A Lloyd's message from the Lizard yesterday stated that the Dutch steamer Charlois, bound from Sabine Pass for Rotterdam, had signalled that on October 17 she saw the steamer Volturno, abandoned, in a dangerous position in the Atlantic track, in about lat. 47 N., and 37 W., totally burnt out. Several dead bodies were found on board. The Charlois added :-"We opened the coffer of the inside injection and left her when she was sinking." Very bad weather was experienced during the whole voyage.
STATEMENT BY CAPTAIN INCH.
Captain Inch, of the Volturno, stated yesterday, on the arrival of the Mauretania at Fishguard, that there was no truth in the suggestion of mutiny by his crew at the time of the disaster. The men acted as he ordered them, behaving splendidly, and would have gone down with him if necessary. The story of his presenting a revolver at stokers was false. He never had a revolver in his hand. He also discredited the rumour of any of the crew having set fire to the vessel. They had the greatest difficulty in getting the passengers off in boats sent by the rescuing vessels. The sea was so rough that the passengers could only get into the boats by jumping into the water. Nearly every one refused to do so, and members of the crew had to show them one by one how to do it. He feared that several lost their lives in the attempt.
Captain Inch spoke in the highest terms of all the rescuing vessels, and said they did all that was possible in the circumstances.
November 7, 1913, page 19 - AWARD OF LIVERPOOL SHIPWRECK AND HUMANE SOCIETY MEDALS RE DEVONIAN AND CARMANIA - and AWARDS RE GROSSER KURFÜRST AND SEYDLITZ.
The article that follows is a bit of a puzzle, since it contradicts, respecting the Carmania at least, the data which appears below under the date of December 12, 1913, wherein is stated that the 'Liverpool' awards re Carmania were presented on December 11, 1913. I think that possibly on November 6, 1913 the Liverpool Shipwreck and Humane Society merely determined to whom they would grant medals etc. But that they were actually presented to the recipients at a later date.
This page, which contains extracts from the 'Liverpool Echo', states that the Liverpool Shipwreck and Humane Society awards re Devonian were actually presented by the Lord Mayor of Liverpool on November 29, 1913 - in a private ceremony.
THE VOLTURNO DISASTER.
The gallant rescue work accomplished by the crews of the liners Devonia and Carmania on the occasion of the burning of the Volturno was recognized by the Liverpool Shipwreck and Humane Society yesterday, when the following awards were made :-
Gold medal and illuminated certificate of thanks to Captain Trant, of the Leyland liner Devonian ; silver medal, silver-mounted barometer, and illuminated certificate of thanks each to Chief Officer Tom Steele, First Officer Thomas B. Knight, and Second Officer William Baker, also silver medal and certificate of thanks to Boatswain Jacinto Navarro, and bronze medals, certificates of thanks, and a substantial money award to each member of the lifeboat's crews in recognition of the gallant service in the rescue of 59 passengers from the Volturno.
Gold medal and certificate of thanks to Captain Barr of the Cunard liner Carmania ; silver medal, illuminated certificate of thanks, and silver-mounted barometer to First Officer Francis Gardner, silver medal and certificate of thanks to Chief Officer Johnstone, Able Seamen William Carvey and E. J. Heighway ; also bronze medal, certificate of thanks, and money awards to each of the crew of the lifeboat for a brave endeavour to rescue the passengers from the Volturno.
In recognition of the heroic behaviour of the officers and crews of the company's steamers Grosser Kurfürst and Seydlitz during the burning of the Volturno, the directors of the Norddeutscher-Lloyd have promoted First Officer Spangenberg, who was temporarily in command of the Grosser Kurfürst, to captain, have made presentations to the officers commanding the lifeboats, and have given an extra month's pay to all members of crews of the 12 lifeboats of both ships. Other rewards have been given to those on board who were engaged in the rescue work. In addition, all members of the boats' crews received a personal letter of thanks from the board of directors.
"The Burning of the Volturno" written by Mr. Arthur Spurgeon, which is to be issued in 2s. form on December 11, by Messrs. Cassell, is being published at the instance of the Carmania passengers. The entire profits of this volume will be handed to Captain Inch to be distributed at his discretion, and as supplementary to the relief fund opened at Rotterdam.
REWARDS FOR GALLANTRY.
The Liverpool Shipwreck and Humane Society yesterday made the following awards : - Gold medal and illuminated certificate of thanks to Captain Frederick John Harnden, of the s.s. Rappahannock ; silver medal, silver mounted barometer and illuminated certificate of thanks to Chief Officer John O. Davies, in command of the lifeboat ; silver medal and certificate of thanks to boatswain John Henry J. Barker, carpenter George Wendrick Olaveson, and donkeyman William Pyne ; also bronze medal, certificate of thanks, and £3 each to A. B. William Stewarts Waygood, Henry F. Hargan, William Black, and John Bell, for gallantly rescuing 19 passengers from the Volturno.
Captain Barr and 13 members of the crew of the Cunarder Carmania were yesterday presented by the Lord Mayor of Liverpool with an illuminated address and gold, silver and bronze medals from the Liverpool Shipwreck and Humane Society. The Lord Mayor paid a warm tribute to the captain and men for the heroism they displayed on the occasion of the Volturno disaster.
THE DEATH OF THE CHIEF OFFICER OF THE VOLTURNO.
IN THE GOODS OF HARRY PITT MILLER PRESUMED DECEASED.
(Before MR. JUSTICE BARGRAVE DEANE.)
This was a motion for leave to swear the death of the presumed deceased.
Mr. A. BUCKNILL said that Mr. Harry Pitt Miller was the chief officer of the steamer Volturno on a voyage from Rotterdam to New York. Early on October 9 last the ship caught fire in mid Atlantic and orders were given to lower the boats. Mr. Miller went in the first boat. Unfortunately the aft block, as it fell off the hook, caught on the gunwale of the boat and swung round, There was a heavy sea running and the boat tipped over, and all fell out. The boat, however, did not capsize, and Captain Inch saw Mr. Miller get into the boat again with three other people. They got the boat axe and began cutting away the falls and, while they were doing this, the block jumped clear of the gunwale and in that way the boat cleared itself and drifted away. A gale was blowing and efforts were made by Carmania (which arrived in answer to the S.O.S. signal) to find the boat. The Carmania steamed eight to 12 miles in the search, but the boat was never found. The estate was of the value of some £211, £200 of which was represented by a life insurance policy. The company did not oppose the motion and the directors admitted the death. Mr. Miller was intestate and his wife was the applicant in the present case.
MR. JUSTICE BARGRAVE DEANE. - My only doubt is that you may have come here too soon. The last seen of Mr. Miller was on October 9. He may have been picked up by a sailing vessel. Where was the Volturno at the time ?
Mr. BUCKNILL. - In longitude 34.51, and latitude 49.12. All the oars and gear were out of the boat, I am informed, and there was a gale and heavy sea at the time.
MR. JUSTICE BARGRAVE DEANE, having read the affidavits, gave leave to swear the death on or since October 9, 1913.
Solicitors. - Messrs. Parker, Garrett, and Co.
PRESENTATION TO MR. ARTHUR SPURGEON.
Mr. Arthur Spurgeon, who sent to the Press an account by wireless telegraphy of the burning of the Volturno in mid-Atlantic on October 9 and 10, was yesterday entertained at luncheon at the Trocadero Restaurant. He was subsequently presented with an address in token of appreciation of his services to the Press, and with a library desk and revolving chair in oak, a library clock, and a water-colour drawing of the Carmania's life-boat putting off to the Volturno, by Mr. T. M. Hemy. A rose ring of diamonds and emeralds was presented to Mrs. Spurgeon.
The HON. HARRY LAWSON, M.P., presided, and others present included ... (long list of names not transcribed here, which list, however, included Mr. Marconi.)
Mr. Lawson announced that Mr. Spurgeon had divided the 100 guineas he received for his message between the Newspaper Press Fund and the Institute of Journalists.
CAPTAIN INCH HONOURED.
PUBLIC RECOGNITION OF GALLANTRY.
The bravery and devotion to duty which Captain Francis Inch displayed during the burning of the Volturno in October last were publicly acknowledged at the Mansion House yesterday, when a presentation was made to him by the Lord Mayor. To-day he will receive the freedom of the City of London.
The presentation ceremony took place in the Egyptian Hall. The LORD MAYOR presided, with Captain Inch on his right hand. There were also on the platform the Lady Mayoress, next to whom was Mrs. Inch, and Sir H. Evan M. James, chairman, Lady Eliott, hon. treasurer, and Mr. Arthur Spurgeon, convenor of the committee of Carmania passengers by whom the presentation was arranged. Among others present were Mrs. Sydney Buxton, Sir John Luscombe, chairman of Lloyd's, Mr. Marconi, Sir Arthur Eliott, and Sir Ernest Clarke. Mr. Sydney Buxton, President of the Board of Trade, who was confined to his house with a chill, wrote a letter saying that as President of the Board of Trade he wished to associate himself with the presentation to Captain Inch.
Mr. ARTHUR SPURGEON said that Mr. Buxton had informed him in a private letter that had he been able to be present he would have said on behalf of the Government how much they appreciated the heroism shown by Captain Inch.
The American Ambassador wrote that in honouring a man like Captain Inch they were paying a compliment to a character of which he approved.
In making the presentation the LORD MAYOR spoke in eulogistic terms of Captain Inch's gallantry and coolness during those terrible hours when the Volturno was burning. His coolness and courage had withstood the supreme test. He did his duty and he did it well. He then presented Captain Inch with an address engrossed on vellum in the following terms :-
" To Captain Francis Inch. - We ask your acceptance of the accompanying gifts in recognition of your heroism and staunch allegiance to duty during the burning of the s.s. Volturno in mid-Atlantic on October 9th and 10th 1913. For upwards of twenty-four hours the lives of more than 500 passengers and crew were in the gravest peril. But for your unfaltering courage and personal sacrifice, the loss of life must have been appalling. You averted a great maritime disaster. Lord Desart, as president of the Board of Trade Inquiry into the burning of the Volturno, commended your conduct in the highest terms, and no greater tribute can be paid to any man that the eloquent words he applied to you - ' He did his duty.' Signed on behalf of the subscribers. T. VANSITTART BOWATER, Lord Mayor."
Mr. Marconi said it had given him the greatest possible satisfaction that during the whole of such a trying ordeal wireless telegraphy and those who were working it were not found wanting.
The LORD MAYOR then pinned on Captain Inch's breast the Quiver gold medal for heroic conduct in the saving of life and presented him with a gold watch and chain, a silver casket to contain a certificate of the freedom of the City of London, and a purse of gold. He also presented Mrs. Inch with a diamond and sapphire pendant and an afternoon tea service of silver.
The LORD MAYOR also pinned on Captain Inch's breast Lloyd's silver medal for saving life at sea - a medal, he said, which was only conferred in very exceptional circumstances.
CAPTAIN INCH, who was received with great enthusiasm, thanked Mr. Arthur Spurgeon for the history he had written of the disaster, the proceeds of which are to be devoted to the relief of the sufferers ; the Carmania passengers and others who had subscribed to the presentation, and particularly Lady Eliott ; Lloyd's Committee for an honour which was greatly appreciated by all sailors ; the Lord Mayor for making the presentation ; Mr. Marconi for his wonderful discovery of wireless telegraphy, without which they would all have perished ; and the officers and crews of the ships that came so gallantly to their rescue at great risk to themselves, thus giving an example of the courage of sailors of all nations.
After the presentation Sir John Luscombe took Captain Inch over to Lloyd's. The bell was rung and the captain was introduced amid loud cheers. Later he attended a reception and afternoon tea at De Keyser's Hotel, given by Lady Eliott and Mrs. Arthur Spurgeon.
GALLANTRY AT SEA.
AWARD OF MEDALS TO VOLTURNO RESCUERS.
The King has been pleased, on the recommendation of the President of the Board of Trade, to award the silver medal for gallantry in saving life at sea to 232 officers and men, in recognition of their services in rescuing the passengers and crew of the steamship Volturno, of London, which had to be abandoned in the North Atlantic Ocean through a fire which broke out on October 9, 1913. We append a list of the ships concerned, together with the numbers of those decorated on each :-
Asian, of Liverpool. - Seven. Carmania, of Liverpool. - Eleven. Czar, of Libau, - Nineteen. Devonian, of Liverpool. - Eighteen. Grosser Kurfürst, of Bremen. - Thirty-two. Kroonland, of New York. - Thirty-nine. La Touraine, of Havre. - Thirty-two.. Minneapolis, of Belfast. - Twenty-one. Narragansett, of Greenock. - Twelve Rappahannock, of Liverpool. - Eight. Seydlitz, of Bremen. - Thirty-three.
BOARD OF TRADE PRESENTATIONS.
The Board of Trade have made the following awards in connexion with the services :- Pieces of plate to the following masters :- Mr. W. E. Wood, Asian ; Mr. J. C. Barr, Carmania ; Mr. I. I. Smilteneck, Czar ; Mr. A. W. V. Trant, Devonian ; Mr. M. Spangenberg, Grosser Kurfürst ; Mr. P. H. Kreibohm, Kroonland ; Mr. C. Caussin, La Touraine ; Mr. F. O. Hasker, Minneapolis ; Mr. C. E. Harwood, Narragansett ; Mr. F. J. Harnden, Rappahannock ; and Mr. F. Hagenmeyer, Seydlitz.
Binocular glasses or pieces of plate to the following ships' officers :- Mr. A. Hall, Asian ; Mr. F. J. R. Gardner, Carmania ; Mr. J. N. Zemtur, Mr. J. J. Saulesley, Mr. A. J. Janowsky, and Mr. F. K. Weibner, Czar ; Mr. T. Steele, Mr. T. B. Knight, and Mr. W. H. Baker, Devonian ; Mr. H. Hashagen, Mr. H. von Carlsburg, Mr. S. Bremner, Mr. H. L. von Sonnenberg, and Mr. E. Rogge, Grosser Kurfürst ; Mr. F. Mansfield, Mr. G. Wynen, and Mr. B. Kuemmel, Kroonland ; Mr. H. Rousselot, Mr. R. Izenic, Mr. E. Le Baron, Mr. P. Royer, and Mr. L. Coote, La Touraine ; Mr. W. Robison, Mr. P. J. Lewis, and Mr. J. M. Coates, Minneapolis ; Mr. J. B. Johnson and Mr. J. E. Noton, Narragansett ; Mr. J. O. Davies, Rappahannock ; and Mr. J. Cordes, Mr. H. Niemczyk, Mr. W. Hermann-Muller, and Mr. P. Meiselbach, Seydlitz.
The sum of £6 was awarded to A. Hazlewood, able seaman of the Devonian ; and the sum of £3 each to 197 other men concerned in the rescue.
If YOU have any new data about the Volturno, or in any way related to the Volturno, I would welcome your dropping me a line.
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