The Film & More|
The earth has always trembled under southern Italy. But never so fiercely as
on the morning of December 28, 1908 when an earthquake unlike any other brought
entire cities to the ground.
It was called the worst calamity of modern times.
Initial reports of 20,000 dead were quickly revised to ten times that number.
With nowhere to go, survivors boarded steamships organized by the government
for a one-way trip to america.
On January 10, the S.S. "Florida" sailed from naples with 850 passengers and a
cargo of dried macaroni.
She would be commanded by 28-year-old Angelo Ruspini, who was
making his second Atlantic crossing as her captain.
Moments before setting sail, 14-year-old Salvatore D'Amico, who'd lost his
entire family in the quake, begged to join the "Florida's" crew.
Ruspini, against his better judgment, agreed to take him on board.
The "Florida's" passengers were involuntary emigrants traveling in steerage.
They set off for america carrying little more than the hope of a better life.
Two weeks later, twenty friends gathered in boston for a far more elegant
They had come to send off Eugene Lynch, a respected businessman, and his
wife mary, who were bound for Italy aboard the S.S. "Republic". It would be
their first trip abroad.
Boston papers reported the evening's centerpiece was a scale model of the
"Republic", a White Star liner, fully rigged with the American and Italian
The Lynches had their doubts about the voyage, having heard it was bad luck to
set sail on a Friday.
But the dinner guests assured them there was nothing to worry about.
TITLE: RESCUE AT SEA
HEAD CREDIT: BEN LOETERMAN
In 1909 passenger lines competed to attract new transAtlantic travelers
like the Lynches. Lines like White Star and Cunard promoted either top speed
or deluxe service.
JOHN MAXTONE GRAHAM, HISTORIAN:
It's very rare on the North Atlantic that you had one ship that answered
both necessities, that it be fast and it be extremely luxurious. You either
built for dispatch or deluxe. Cunard went after the speed.
White Star renounced the idea of speed. They thought, leave that to
the Cunards and we'll go for comfort. And they used to say that you'd spend
six days at sea, but you would have so much more comfortable a ship, it would
be worth it.
In addition to steamer chairs and on-board barber shops, White Star now
added a new amenity, called wireless.
On a growing number of liners, makeshift cabins sprouted up to house the device
. For up to 200 miles, passengers could now send and receive personal
greetings, track the latest stock quote, or read the news of the day sent by
wireless telegraph and printed on board.
Wireless, initially I think was perceived ah more as a frivolity almost, ah a
luxury, a reassurance to passengers who might want the latest refinement just
as a driver of new car would want automatic shift. This was in a sense sort of
automatic shift of shipboard. This was another ah more gilt, gingerbread on the
whole creation that you could get on a ship that was in communication with the
By 1909 wealthy Americans had discovered the cruise. They flocked to
Europe, to broaden their education, present young debutantes at court, or
simply escape the nasty winter.
The Lynches of boston were looking forward to the next two months.
Mary Lynch planned a roman holiday.
Eugene Lynch wanted to visit the recent earthquake site in Sicily with his
friend, the journalist James Connolly.
The Lynches had booked a choice 1st-class stateroom, #34, on the uppermost
"saloon" deck. Connolly was staying on a lower deck, in smaller 2nd class
He had just been assigned to write an exclusive for the New York Herald
about the U.S. navy's relief effort in Sicily.
Next door to the Lynches was the North Dakota banker William James Mooney,
known to his friends as W.J. Mooney, who was hoping to mix business and
pleasure , was traveling with his new 2nd wife, Oakella.
JOHN MOONEY, GRANDSON:
I really think she was the ringleader behind this trip. And ah, I am sure that
W.J. was all for another trip around ah Italy in the middle of North Dakota
winters. I know I would be.
Below the Lynches were Henry and Hallie Davis, grandchildren of a
wealthy West Virginia senator, they were making the annual trek to Europe.
DIANA SODI, DAUGHTER:
They were able to go to Europe, travel around, everybody with means did
An inveterate snooper, 10-yr-old Hallie happened past the odd-looking
cabin on deck, occupied by a young wireless operator.
The operator was 26-yr-old Jack Binns, whose services were leased to the
steamship by the fledgling Marconi Wireless Company.
He showed her the whole thing and she was fascinated. It was called a
wireless and it didn't have any wires that she could see. And then I do
remember her saying something about lightning. It must have sent some kind of
lightning effect. But I may be wrong on that.
The "Republic's" route Friday evening took her up the coast of long
island and past Nantucket before heading out to open sea. She would steam
through the crowded waters near Nantucket lightship, known as the times square
of the Atlantic. With up to 2 dozen ships crossing the dangerous
intersection each night, east- and westbound lanes were established on either
side of the lightship, 30 miles apart.
At about eleven that night, the journalist James Connolly heard the ship's
foghorn and went out on the freezing deck.
I studied the black water sliding past at full speed, and I wasn't liking it.
I had been on steamers before on foggy nights-- but that was on the open
ocean. Here was a ship traveling a narrow line for the 200 miles between Sandy
Hook and Nantucket Lightship.
The foghorn had startled mary Lynch in her stateroom.
"I'm not a bit timid," she told her husband, "but it's dreadful to be racing
along in this fog. It's as if we were walking blindfolded among a lot of
trolley cars. Don't let the fog hurt me, will you, gene?"
Jack Binns hardly noticed the fog. He would be up for several more hours,
sending a flurry of farewell messages before moving out of range of the
Marconi station at Siasconsett, on the tip of Nantucket. As the fog thickened,
the "Republic's" 48-yr-old-captain, Inman Sealby, left the wheelhouse
In very intense situations, where they could hear another vessel,
captains would go out on the wing of a bridge and stop their ships, and just
CHARLES HAAS, HISTORIAN:
Captain Sealby hears very faintly through the fog the whistle of another ship.
He doesn't know the identity of that ship. But he knows that this sound
appears to be getting closer uh and he begins processing what his options are.
Sealby decided to order a port, or left, turn, and sounded his whistle,
signaling the unknown vessel to do the same. The unknown vessel was the
"Florida", on the last day of her journey from Italy. The steamer had lost
her way in the fog and was desperately searching for the Nantucket
On the "Florida", the quartermaster who was at the wheel may have
actually inverted the order and instead of turning to port, turned to
starboard. The "Republic's" form materializes out of the fog. Captain
Ruspini probably realizes that something is drastically wrong and at this point
there really isn't any way of avoiding it.
It was 5:47, saturday morning, January 23.
VIRGINIA UTERMOHLEN, GRANDDAUGHTER:
Binnsy was asleep in his cabin, all the last messages were sent--good-bye
greetings, love letters uh and notes about the stock market and uh he had just
gone to sleep when this incredible crashing came through and grinding like --
he said it was like an earthquake, he was thrown from his bed, found himself
soaking wet on, on the floor with pieces of his cabin sitting all around
him.... His biggest problem was to find the parts of his apparatus and to
insure that they could work.
It would take Jack Binns nearly an hour to make his way several decks
below and fish out auxiliary batteries to get his equipment running again.
Without ship's power, Binn's sending range was cut to barely 60 miles. His
only hope was to reach the wireless station at Siasconsett, by now 47 miles
It was bitter cold when he first went to go see Captain Sealby. Captain Sealby
in fact told him not to be afraid and he said, "Oh sir, I'm, I'm, I'm not
afraid it's just that it's so called my teeth are shattering -- chattering and
I'm, I'm shivering but I'm not really afraid." And indeed I don't think he
Binns took sealby's message back to his cabin.
It would become the first real test of wireless
To effect a rescue at sea.
"CQD! CQD! Here is MKC! MKC shipwrecked. "Republic" rammed by unknown
steamship. Twenty-six miles southwest of Nantucket Lightship. Badly in need
of immediate assistance. Sealby
He prayed the message would be heard.
Before wireless, communication between ship and shore was limited to as far as
the eye could see.
SUSAN DOUGLAS, HISTORIAN:
Imagine going out in a ship and all you have are semaphores and homing
pigeons. Once you can no longer see the shore, you are incommunicado. Nothing
until you get to the other shore. That's the situation that people confronted
in the 1890s.
Binn's hopes hung on a recent invention-- the work of a young Italian
experimenter, Guglielmo Marconi.
Marconi was not a theoretically trained scientist, he was not a university
person. He read and borrowed from, uh, the university trained scientists, but
he tinkered. He was good at finding a particular device that would work as a
transmitter, another particular device that would work as a receiver. If that
receiver didn't work, he found something else to borrow from.
To make it all work, Marconi had to create a spark big enough to
generate electro-magnetic waves.
And the way Marconi generated that spark was by using something called a spark
gap. And you've seen something that looks like this in Frankenstein movies,
with these sparks radiating back and forth between these brass balls. Well,
that's what Marconi used. And the way that he tried to moderate that was to
make it conform to the Morse code. So the spark gap was connected through an
induction coil to a telegraph key. And if you send out short bursts, those
were dots, and if you sent out long bursts, those were dashes. And they would
travel through the electromagnetic spectrum, what people mistakenly call the
air, and were received at a distance through a radio detector.
But a scientific breakthrough was not Marconi's goal. He hoped to make
wireless make money. In the fall of 1899, he got his chance , courtesy of the
New York Herald's editor, James Gordon Bennett.
PHIL PETERSEN, WIRELESS PIONEER:
James Gordon Bennett heard about Marconi's goings on in Europe, sending
messages without wire and at that time there was a yacht race, he thought gee,
he was a -- he says I can, see if I can get Marconi to come over here to
America and uh give us the scoop on who's winning the races that were going on
off of Sandy Hook.
Hearing that Bennett's invitation included a $5,000
Fee, Marconi was eager to put on a wireless demonstration that could also win
him much needed publicity.
The newspaper men were asking him uh what are you going to do here in
America? Is this thing going to work and so on? And uh he says uh I will be
able to transmit without a doubt from so many miles at sea back to land and the
copies will be in the newspaper just in a matter of minutes. And people looked
at this and they couldn't believe this and they felt he was a little bit of a
young fellow, he was a young fellow about 20 years old or 19 at the time and
they felt he was a little bragging a little bit too much.
Marconi walks with his contraptions, gets on board a ship, and begins
following the yacht races for The Herald. And what he does is he wirelesses
the progress of the yacht races back to The Herald headquarters in Manhattan.
They immediately post the progress up on bulletin boards, so people can follow
the progress of the yacht races almost instantaneously.
What impressed america most, Marconi later said, was the extraordinary
speed of the technology.... The public was less than 75 seconds behind the
yachts and in many cases less than 30. Young boys were quick to try it
Gee, now you can talk without wires. And I said boy Marconi I saw where
he did this and he went further and further and further without wires and uh
it, it, it felt to you like you were part of it.
The young amateurs formed a club, and convened their first meeting in
New York on jan 2, 1909. Boys like 17-year-old Frank King, from Manhattan.
And Faitoute Munn, also 17, from New Jersey. And Harry Houk, 15, from Staten
Island. And W.E.D. "Weddy" Stokes, who at the tender age of fourteen, became
the club's first president.
The amateur operator was basically the hacker of the early twentieth
century, and for a brief period he is greatly celebrated in popular culture.
There were books like the radio boys series and tom swift and his
wireless message, and magazine stories with titles like in Marconi land. They
celebrated the heroism and the adventures of young boys, who put on their
earphones and took to what was called the great void.
By the hundreds, young men signed up to learn morse code and become
The young Marconi operators really were sort of a very select fraternity
And there was a wonderful convention they had, they always interserted OM,
which was old man, which is a sort of, uh, camaraderie greeting that they
exchanged over the ether.
They called themselves Marconi men, men like Jack Irwin, and Jack
Binnsy became a Marconi man when he was 12 years old and uh first as a
messenger boy. It was a very exciting job for him and because of the
camaraderie of all the other Marconi men who were so excited with this new
Binns drew shipboard assignments with White Star, ending up on the
"Republic". Jack Irwin, manned the station at Siasconsett, on
Nantucket, the easternmost point of contact for sea traffic
between New York and Europe. Working round the clock, its operators mostly
relayed mundane greetings from passing ships. But their higher calling, they
felt, was to be ready for a cqd.
CQ meant "seek you" or "seeking you," "I'm seeking you, are you out there? Is
anybody out there?" And the D was added to stand for danger. So that it was
meant to mean, I am seeking you, danger.
Until the morning of January 23, 1909, no Marconi operator had ever sent
such a signal
At 6:40 a.m. on saturday January 23, Jack Irwin was stoking his coal stove
when suddenly he heard a loud crackle coming from his headphones....he
started to take down the message. On board the "Republic", Jack Binns
surveyed his wireless cabin and felt lucky to be alive.
"The walls of my cabin splintered up and fell in. Had I been seated at the
normal operating position, I would have been badly hurt in that mess." "While
groping in the darkness, I knocked the key and broke it. I had to hold the
lever with one hand so I could send messages with the
"I could see nothing outside in the fog and darkness. I had no idea as
to how badly our ship had been wounded or how long she might remain afloat.
Suddenly the sea is is pouring in uh, far faster than any of the
ship's pumps can handle, and one of the engineers heroically turned on what
was called an injector pump which actually helped to flood the boilers so that
they wouldn't explode. So they literally had a matter of minutes before they
were driven from their places.
By the time they evacuated the engine room, the "Republic" was sinking
at the rate of a foot per hour. But the brunt of the impact was taken decks
above by the first class staterooms, on the saloon deck. "I heard a dreadful
crash," said Eugene Lynch, "and a tremendous shock. Some huge object was
tearing the room to pieces. It pushed broken timbers down on me that pinned me
fast. I heard one scream from my wife. 'My God, Mary!' I shouted. There was no
You now have approximately seven hundred people, most of whom have been asleep
suddenly awakened by the jar of the collision. They step out into the corridor,
the friendly steward, isn't there, the lights are out, you can't ring for the
steward to ask what the problem is.
GEORGE PERCY, SON :
There were no lights. And you can imagine how traumatic that was for
everybody including a ten-year-old child. Henry was terrified, her brother,
but she was very calm throughout the whole thing.
HALLIE DAVIS voice:
"In about five minutes a man in charge of the staterooms came with a candle,
and we dressed hurriedly, and all went on deck. This was the last we ever saw
of our staterooms, our baggage and my Teddy Bear. I was very fond of my
Two decks below was the journalist James Connolly.
JAMES CONNOLLY voice:
"The noise of the bump came on our side of the ship. I hesitated
between a black topcoat and a tan raincoat. I decided on the raincoat-- it
would be foggy and greasy around the deck. I stuffed my notebooks into a
pocket and hurried up the grand staircase."
"I could barely make out the rail stanchions and noticed six, maybe
seven staterooms lay in ruins... My friends, the Lynches were berthed in one of
"Passengers were coming running, women mostly, and most of them in scant
clothing. Several spied me standing there and asked 'What's happened? What's
happened? To which I had one answer: 'Nothing to worry about. Everything's
going to be all right."
HALLIE DAVIS voice:
"One woman dressed herself before everyone on deck, while her French maid stood
by and looked on."
"Several men felt themselves lucky to have a woman's petticoat around their
shoulders and a few women did not hesitate to don trousers and men's shoes."
Jack Binns was beginning to realize the fate of two ships and 1500
people lay in his hands. As he struggled with his sending key, the ship's
crew tried to maintain order on deck. They brought up steaming coffee, and
sandwiches. Some of the stewards brought up whiskey and drinks were
served. Forty minutes after the crash, Captain Sealby sought
to reassure the nervous passengers. "i want to advise you," he said, "the
steamer has been injured in a collision. We are in no immediate danger, but
prudence dictates that you be transferred to the vessel which struck
And then he makes a rather classic statement, he says remember, it is
women and children first, then the first cabin passengers, and then all the
others. Uh so you actually have class distinction being followed very rigidly
on the "Republic"
"It will take some time," sealby said, "and I expect that you will be
cool and not excited, take your time in getting into the lifeboats. The crew
will be the last to leave this ship."
What now begins is a whole series of of ferryings from the, the
"Republic" to the "Florida" which has luckily come back into view
There had been no word from the "Florida" since the crash. The impact
with the "Republic" had crushed her bow like a broken nose, killing 3 of her
crew in an instant. She was holding water better than the "Republic", but her
passengers were threatening to riot.
FRED SCHWERIN, CAPT. RUSPINI'S GRANDSON:
The passengers on board the "Florida" were not able to cope with this
major disaster that's now at hand coming on top of uh what they'd already
experienced in the earthquake. And panicked. Captain Ruspini was obliged to
break out arms and to use extremely forceful measures uh to maintain order.
It was now 7:15 on saturday, an hour and a half after the collision.
Working in the dark, Binns was listening to see if other ships might have
heard Jack Irwin's call from Siasconsett.
Irwin had been trying all morning to guide other ships to the stricken vessel.
Of the seven ships he had reached, the closest to the "Republic" was the
"Baltic", 90 miles away. She headed straight for the sinking ship.
2 hours later, the "Baltic" was within range of Binns.
He sent another message to Siasconsett, "i'm on the job," he said, "but the
ship is sinking faster."
This was overheard by the wireless man in the "Baltic" who said, "Don't worry
old man, we're bursting our boilers to get to you."
BINNS FIGURED THE "BALTIC" WOULD ARRIVE BY 11 THAT MORNING, IF THEY WERE
"The cold was intense, chilling me through and through. I could barely feel my
hands, and finally had to put on gloves. My steward had succeeded in
scrounging a bottle of Scotch whiskey. I do not think I ever tasted anything
so refreshing in my life. Throughout the rest of the day I slowly sipped that
whisky a few drops at a time.
At daybreak, the transfer to the "Florida" began.
I think that my mother's reaction to what has to have been panic, chaos, all of
this drama mixed together, my mother seemed to just be fascinated and just
almost taking it in as though it were a movie.
With air and sea temperatures hovering near freezing, passengers began
boarding the lifeboats. A critically injured Eugene Lynch was lowered by
stretcher. Binns was meant to leave with the rest of the crew, but
insisted on staying behind with Captain Sealby and a handful of officers.
Also staying behind was Father John Norris, who had taken it upon himself
to search for any remaining passengers.
When he reached the point of impact near the staterooms on the saloon deck,
he paused... >
Father Norris realized that Mooney had to be somewhere behind the couch, and
with tremendous effort, he cleared the way to get to W.J. Reports say that
W.J. was terribly mutilated. Ah some reports said that he was partially
dismembered. In any event W.J. Mooney was still alive when Father Norris got
"I had found Mr. Mooney in a frightful condition, "Norris wrote. "I then
reached Mrs. Lynch and ministered to her. She seemed to be conscious. Before
I left them, both were dead."
By 11am, the "Republic" was listing badly. Binns knew the "Baltic" had to
be close, and again relayed the "Republic's" coordinates to the "Baltic's"
operator, Henry Tattersall.
But Tattersall wasn't the only one listening. All along the east coast,
young amateurs tuned in to the drama unfolding out at sea. They were soon
joined by curious reporters.
As the news spread across the country, Siasconsett was flooded with
inquiries, jamming the air to the point where Binns and Tattersall could barely
hear each other.
Throughout the afternoon, Binns relayed the "Republic's" changing
coordinates to the "Baltic" , somewhere out in the fog. By 4 pm, Tattersall's
signal strength covinced Binns the "Baltic" was very close, but in which
Wireless is a long-range tool that you could use if you were in clear weather.
You can find your position and you can communicate that position to another
vessel--but you can't do that in thick fog, where you can't take a sighting,
where you're dealing with two vessels moving through this thick pea soup,
trying to find each other, and not finding each other with a crunch. So they
used to use what were called bombs, explosives, that were set off, to
"'Baltic', we can hear a bomb to the West of us. Is it you?
"'Baltic'. Steer northeast at once.
"'Baltic'. There is a bomb bearing Northwest from me. Keep firing.
"'Baltic'. Can hear your whistle faintly. You seem to be off our starboard
With darkness falling, Binns began to lose hope.
Hour, after hour, after hour at the key Binns's hand was literally
frozen in the position and he, he was just experiencing the greatest difficulty
in, in just manipulating the key. And no food and no light and no heat, and
Tattersall I think realized that, that the man at the other end of his signals
was a, a man who was under a great deal of duress and he sent a lot of
encouraging messages to, to keep Jack Binns going.
"We traveled 200 miles in a zigzag course, "recalled the "Baltic's"
captain, "and all within an area of 10 square miles."
"As fast as I could get to one point of latitude and longitude, the "Republic"
would have drifted to another. "
Finally, the "Republic" used up all its bombs. The "Baltic" had only one left.
They were finally down to the last bomb and they had everybody, the
remaining crew that is on the "Republic" arrayed in a circle facing outward in
the hope that when the last bomb on the "Baltic" went off, somebody could
figure out what direction the sound was coming from. And so everybody strained
to listen to that for that last bomb. But the only one who heard it was
Binnsy and Binnsy heard it he said because his ear was so strained to faint
sounds coming through the telegraph and that he could actually tell where it
was and what direction it was.
"I ran back to the wireless cabin and relayed the steering directions to
the "Baltic". The last letter had scarcely sputtered out by the wheezy spark
when the "Baltic", faintly outlined in the mist by her blazing lights, loomed
up. It was the grandest sight that tired eyes ever saw! "
The "Baltic" was a large ship ah with adequate cabin space, and more important
public room space to ah embark these passengers on board. So they did, despite
the fatigue and exhaustion of the passengers who had already achieved one
mid-ocean transfer, to then ask them to submit to the same ordeal again.
They started at midnight. It would take 83 boatloads to ferry the more than
1500 passengers and crew to the "Baltic".
Never had so many people been transferred on the high seas without a single
loss of life. And they had done it twice.
Only one passenger refused to go. Eugene Lynch badly injured, and suffering
from the loss of his wife, said "if i've got to die," he said, "i would just
as soon go down with the "Florida"."
By sunday morning they were done. Two more rescue ships arrived and
tried to tow the "Republic", but it was obvious to Binns the ship was lost.
"I was just about to go to the bridge when 4th officer Morrow made his
way toward me with Sealby's message: "I think we are going to abandon ship."
But sealby himself refused to go. He went down with the ship, only to bob up
to the surface, miraculously unharmed. From the rescue boat Binns relayed his
last message: "White Star line, New York: "Republic" sunk. All hands saved.
Until now, newspapers had printed what few details of the disaster they could
pick up from Siasconsett. Now they clamored for a first person account. As
the "Baltic" entered New York harbor, James Connolly had just what they
"A whistle came from a steamer and a voice hailed to ask if a James B. Connolly
was aboard. The voice said, "I'm Smith, of the New York Herald." I wrapped my
thousand word dispatch in tarpaulin and hove it overboard. It led a special
edition of the Herald, in bold type on the front page."
Having learned of the drama in the sunday papers, thousands came out to greet
the "Baltic". Like many relatives of those on board the "Republic", john
Mooney Jr, caught a train after seeing an early newspaper report. Only at the
pier did he and the Lynches' relatives learn the full story.
My father was gratified, joyous that there were survivors, but a very heavy
heart that um W.J. uh lost his life as did Mrs. Lynch buried at sea. And uh
there was not a great deal that John Mooney could do about a situation as final
As one New York paper reported, it was the only grief to be noticed.
No one came sunday afternoon to greet the "Florida". Four hours after she
arrived, shipwrights discovered the three bodies that had been crushed in the
Among them, was Salvatore D'Amico, the boy who had begged his way aboard.
Near death, Eugene Lynch was carried from the "Florida". He had two last
requests: a brandy, and that a medal be presented to the ship's wireless
America had discovered a new hero, and his name was Jack Binns.
The crowds were incredible. He had a ticker tape parade, and he was
astonished, frightened in a way by this because for him he'd simply done his
BINNS BECAME THE STUFF OF LEGEND, AND LYRICS.
UTERMOHLEN: "There's a hole in the side of the ship, Jack Binns, the
captain above him cried. Give a message at once to the wandering winds. Ay,
ay sir, Jack Binns replied. The captain was brave but braver was he who sat in
his room with his hand on the key...and steadily sounded his CQD to people
there somewhere outside.
"Jack Binns, Jack Binns, bravest of all the crew, Jack Binns, Jack Binns, the
world loves and honors you!"
He was sought out for autographs, offered contracts to perform
Vaudeville, even swarmed by chorus girls at the Hippodrome.
He was offered all kinds of ways to profit from his heroism. He didn't
want to do that.
Instead, he watched as his story was turned into cheap entertainment by
the Vitagraph Movie Company.
It was a very short film which purported to show him on the sending key and
this upset him terribly
Binns had hoped to use his celebrity to champion wireless as an
instrument of safety. He even testified before congress on behalf of a bill to
mandate wireless coverage. Congress hailed Binns' bravery, but, he felt,
ignored his testimony.
To become a caricature for Vitagraph, Binns decided, was the last straw.
And so he sued Vitagraph and won the suit for invasion of privacy.
He returned to england to await his next posting. The public, he felt,
had missed the point.
To those who read about it in the press, to those who found there was
almost no loss of life at all apart from the collision. Ah it seemed then that
this was a clean surgical rescue with none of the unpleasant death toll that
would have tarnished. So any urgency or expediency Congress felt for instance
to implement improvement in radio watch, to have people on duty on radio around
the clock ah was stalled because the "Republic" made it seem too easy.
The rescue had produced a hero, but it would take a disaster to produce
real change. In april 1912, Jack Binns was assigned the wireless post on
another White Star liner, the "Titanic". But personal circumstances
intervened--he had fallen in love. More than 1,500 lives were lost on
"Titanic", the same number that 3 years earlier, Jack Binns had helped to