Captain Arthur Henry Rostron of RMS Carpathia. Catalogue reference: COPY 1/566
In 1887 Rostron joined the Red Gauntlet as a second mate. In December 1894 he passed his exam for his extra master's certificate. A month later he joined Cunard Line as Fourth Officer on the ocean liner RMS Umbria. Rostron became First Officer aboard the RMS Lusitania in 1907, but was transferred off her the day before her maiden voyage. He had to wait until 1911 to command his first passenger ship, Pennonia, and in January 1912 he was given command of RMS Carpathia.
Rostron was asleep in his cabin when news of Titanic reached him. He immediately ordered the ship to change course and raced towards the Titanic’s reported position. At nearly 60 nautical miles away, Carpathia was the closest ship to Titanic and it took her three and a half hours to reach Titanic’s position. Carpathia rescued 710 passengers and crew before returning to New York.
It was no doubt due to Rostron’s quick thinking, his preparations on board before any survivors were picked up and the speed with which he got to the scene that so many survived.
Captain Rostron gave evidence to both the US and UK inquiries. He was honoured for his efforts on both sides of the Atlantic, including a gold medal from Titanic’s survivors. Cunard rewarded him with command of the Mauretania. He served throughout the First World War and retired in 1931 when he wrote his autobiography ‘Home from the Sea’.
Captain Rostron died of pneumonia on 4 November 1940.