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Jack Phillips - Wireless Operator on the RMS Titanic

The death of Jack Phillips on the “Titanic,” April 15, 1912, is, of course, familiar. Phillips remained at his post to the last, and it was largely due to his coolness and skill that so many were saved. On the night of the disaster, Phillips was tired out after a long vigil in the wireless room.

The machinery had broken down in part during the previous day, and Phillips had worked uninterruptedly for seven hours to repair it. Had Phillips neglected the work or had his skill been unequal to making the repairs the fate of the “Titanic" might have been one of the mysteries of the sea.

Early in the evening, the steamer hit an iceberg, and the captain requested Phillips to send out the distress signals. Several steamers were picked up, and Phillips continued calling. —The “Titanic’s” signals grew fainter and fainter as the ship sank deeper into the water.

The captain ordered Phillips and Harold Bride, his assistant, to abandon the ship, but Phillips stuck to his post, calling for help. When he finally left his instruments the last of the lifeboats had gone.

When the “Titanic” made her final plunge, Phillips was rescued from the icy waters by one of the crowded liferafts, but he died from exposure before help arrived.

Excerpt from "Monument to Dead Wireless Heros," in Telegraph and Telephone Age, Vol. 33, No. 10, 16 May 1915, p. 226.

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