Hero of wireless died on life raft after Titanic sank
Waiter says Phillips was buried at sea from Carpathia after disaster
Officer shot himself
Revolvers used to quell panic and prevent men taking possession of boats
New York, April 19  — Phillips, the first Marconi operator aboard the Titanic, stuck to his post until the last, jumped from the sinking ship, was taken aboard life raft and died before rescuers reached him, according to the story told here today by Thomas Whiteley, who was a waiter on the Titanic. Whiteley is in St Vincent’s hospital suffering from a fractured right leg and numberous bruises.
“Phillips was on the overturned lifeboat with me,” Whiteley said. “He was dead and taken aboard the Carpathia. They tried to revive him, but it was too late. There were four burials at sea — one sailor, two firemen and Phillips.”
It is believed Whiteley’s story clears the doubt surrounding the identity of the fourth man buried from the Carpathia. It was at first believed this man was a cabin passenger, but Whiteley declares it was Phillips.
“I helped fill the boats with women,” Whiteley said. “Collapsable boat No. 2 on the starboard side, was jammed. The second officer was backing at the ropes with a knife. I was being dragged around the deck by that rope when I looked up and saw the boat, with all aboard, turn turtle.
“In some way, I got overboard myself and clung to an oak dresser. I was not more than sixty feet from the Titanic when she went down. Her big stern rose up in the air and she went down bow first. I saw all the machinery drop out of her.”
“During the half hour I was in the water, I could hear the cries of the drowning persons. I drifted near a boat that was wrongside up. About thirty men were clinging to her and they refused to let me get aboard. Someone tried to hit me with an oar but I scrambled aboard.
“There was a bit of panic when it first happened. The officers had to use their revolvers. The chief officer shot one man — I did not see this, but others did — and then he shot himself. But everybody, pretty much, behaved splendidly, especially the firemen.
“It was a black berg we struck and, although the night was perfectly clear, it was possible to see that color. I saw another like it when we were drifting on the overturned boat.”
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Publication: The Denver Post (Denver, Colorado)
Publication date: April 19, 1912