CARPATHIA: From a rescue ship to a ship of war

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN; THE 1918 WAR.

FRANK MORRIS

GOODBYE: THE CARPATHIA, WITH ALL HOPE ABANDONED, ON ITS WAY TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA. Below: IN ANOTHER LIFE, CARPATHIA WAS THE FIRST SHIP ON THE SCENE DURING THE TITANIC CRISIS. Below: BOAT 14 TOWING ONE OF THE LIFEBOATS AS IT NEARS THE RESCURE POINT.

Wireless messages were soon received from the various ships relaying the disaster of the Titanic in 1912. Titanic had hit an iceberg estimated to be 30 metres high above the water and 120 metres long when the boats were ordered out at 11.45am.

There was no panic or rush to join the boats. By 12.05, there was mass hysteria.

Up on the top deck of Titanic, a lady claimed the attention of a passing steward.

“What ship is that?” she asked. “It is the Cunarder Carpathia, ma’am.”

“The Carpathia?”

Yes, ma’am.”

********

The rescue was underway. It was rowdy, uncontrolled bedlam.

When all the boats, containing mothers and children, a few men, finally were off-loaded down from the rapidly-sinking Titanic, they broke out in song and drifted away easily.

On boat 14, one of the survivors, Lawrence Beesely* wrote, it was now 1 o’clock in the morning. It was an ideal night, except for the bitter cold. In the distance, the Titanic looked enormous. At about 2 o’clock, we observed her settling rapidly, with the bow and the bridge completely under water.

She slowly sank. Titanic was heading for the bottom of the sea. She was gone.

********

What happened to the extraordinary Carpathia after the rescue?

In July 1918, while Thia waits patiently at Huskisson Dock, in the Port of Liverpool, for the naval escort that will see her convoy of merchant ships – some bound for the Mediterranean, others the Americas – through the Southwest Approaches, Captain William Prothero visits his wife and children at their home in town.

A proud Welshman, he nonetheless moved his wife … to the city on the Mersey, soon after they wed and he began working for Cunard.

He misses singing sea shanties while crewing on a big, three-skysail yarder in the China trade, whole-sail set on a moonlit night. And now … he captains steamers. He’s Thia’s longest-serving captain, in fact.

Though these days she’s more of an armed merchant cruiser than ocean liner, courtesy of Cunard’s agreement with the British admiralty that allows them to requisition ships during wartime. Her funnel has long since shed its red and black livery … for battle grey.

It’s been that way since … he had been forced to paint her funnel in the rain. A wild rumour had washed across her decks that she was about to fall prey to a pack of German warship. But that voyage was blessedly uneventful.

She’s spent most of the war as a pack mule, hauling horses for the cavalry, aeroplanes for the air force and oil in her double bottom. She’s carried $25 million in securities from the Bank of England … Canadian troops by the thousands … Americans when they finally joined the cause …

Somewhere during these years, she acquired armament … a 4.7 inch gun that weighs as much as an elephant. The eighteen-foot rapid-fire barrel can hit a target at 16,500 yards and it has a 210-degree arc of fire.

The gun caused a furore in New York … (it was) the largest, at the time, ever brought to the city aboard a merchantman.

********

“Hard-a-starboard,” William orders. “Port engine full astern.” But it’s too late. The torpedo hits Thia’s side and detonates. A plume of water shoots up towards the bridge and she shudders hard from the impact, bleeding black smoke.

It’s long and bruising encounter with the U-55 submarine, five of the crew were missing, but none of the passengers.
The U-55 had won it day. Carpathia was never to return.

<< Carpathia, Jay Ludowyke, 2017.

*Lawrence Beesley’s account was given to The Times three days after the sinking.


HOME-CARE: Personal emergency alarms can be yours … and save your life

FRANK MORRIS

SAVIOUR: NURSE TO CLIENT – “NOW YOU ARE SAFE.” Below: THE PREFERRED MODEL.

Don’t let another day pass without checking out the personal alarm for yourself! Remember, it could save your life. Choice magazine described the devices as “the ultimate” product for carers and dependents alike.

Says Choice: “These alarms are the modern cry for help. Emergency alarms effectively give people more independence. They’re only a button press away from help if they need it.”

When you’re not these it is reassuring to know that there is a ‘safety net’ of a 24-hour emergency service are in place for your dependent/s, which operates 365 days a year.

PREFERRED SYSTEM

Falls and all sorts of problems, which would not be a problem in times past, can now become a dire emergency.

The Vital Call system was launched in Australia in 1976. It is the preferred brand for retirement villages, hostels and for personal use at home; and certain areas of the home. Its technology is second to none. It is recognised throughout the world for the quality of the equipment and the services that come with it.

Vital Call’s switchboard operators are a dedicated response team that know the ins and outs of the service.

If a person at home is in trouble and cannot speak, Vital Call can identify the user and react appropriately by using confidential details to summon the necessary service to that person’s house.

<< Retirement Villages: MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICE; Frank Morris, PRP Graphics Pty Ltd, Queensland; Best Years No 1, Vol 2.

NEXT: Large Print novels. For people who suffer with impaired vision.


MARBLE BAR: A drinking den of unique finery celebrates 125 years!

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

GLEAMING: THE MARBLE BAR HAS CELEBRATED 125 YEARS SINCE IT WAS BUILT. Below: MR GEORGE ADAMS, OF ADAMS HOTEL, CONSTRUCTED THIS HIGH VICTORIANA STYLE OF ARCHITECTURE AND DECORATION IN AUSTRALIA – THE MARBLE BAR.

Where else in Australia could one enjoy a beer in best Aussie tradition in such an improbable and extravagant setting?

Come on, have a guess? The Marble Bar, of course.

The Adams Hotel was the favourite drinking place of Sydneysiders since the 1870s. It was demolished in the 1960s. It was to make way for a new building development. Unusual steps were taken to save its lavishly ornate Marble Bar from a similar fate.

The Marble Bar rescue mission was overwhelmed by a tide of sentimental attachment rather than for historical reasons. The Bar, itself, had been constructed by the self-made swashbuckling entrepreneur George Adams and perhaps represented one of the finest examples of the High Victoriana style of architecture and decoration in Australia.

A well-known Sydney architect said the Bar had become semi derelict and “the cost of preserving it was estimated at $250,000.”

WAS REPRIEVED

However, the problem was unexpectedly resolved when the Hilton organisation expressed an interest in the old Adams site, which ran from Pitt Street through to George Street, provided that the Marble Bar could be incorporated into the proposed new Hilton Hotel.

With the site secured by the hotel chain, the Marble Bar was reprieved. This year is the fourteenth in its new location under the Sydney Hilton complex.

From the 30s, the Marble Bar declined in popularity and appearance. It became increasingly shabby and patronage waned to the extent that by the 1960s, according to a spokesperson, “you could shoot a gun through the place and not hit anyone.”

The official opening of the Marble Bar was at the Hilton Hotel in April 1973. It was culmination of the most complex and, with costs of $250,000, the most expensive architectural restoration in Australia.

<< Historic Australia, 1987, for a much fuller version of the Andrea Loder article; Frank Morris.


It’s 1963, and Pearl Turton does a bit of twisting and turning at Palm Cove

IAN LORDING            Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

HAPPY THREESOME: PEARL TURTON, CENTRE, LAPS UP ALL THE ATTENTION. PHOTOGRAPH JACK EDEN, RIGHT, SEEMS TO BE HAVING A GOOD TIME. Below: YOUNG PEARL TURTON.

The Surfer Detective, Ian Lording, has dug up from the musty bowls of the British Pathe Reuters Historical Collection a super sleuth’s dream. Six minutes of gold. But for the life of us we can’t get the sound board to work.

Nevertheless, it has everything from the local milkman to Pearl Turton and her mates (and brother, Ron) cruising the dirt road of Sydney’s Palm Beach in the Morris Major for a bit of surfing. Just a shame the producers couldn’t have waited for a better day, and catch up with Pearl at work.

And it’s all topped off with a jaunt way up north to the Barrier Reef for a spot of diving and shell collecting.

And with a newsreel for British cinema and TV, they had a pretty good budget by the looks of it. The Poms were rather enamoured with Oz beach culture – and that’s fair enough!

Here’s a short summary of the British Pathe event:

A THINKING GIRL

The young Australian, Pearl Turton is typical of the Sydneysiders who start every day really early. Pearl has been surfboarding for two years and, at sixteen, is already a champion.

Some 62,000 boards, it is estimated, are used on the Australians beaches. And Pearl Turton “owns” her own --- Palm Beach.  She talks about the quality of waves, their size, their potential and how they can be mastered. This is the thinking of the Australian outdoor girl.

The boards are light and easily manoeuvred, and cost about 40 pounds each. The Australian Surfing Association hopes that Sydney might the venue for a World Championships next year – 1964.

Then comes Pearl’s working day – as a cosmetician in a Sydney pharmacy.

<< Pacific Longboarder magazine; Pacific Longboarder.com

NEXT YEAR: Pearl Turton story. In over four hours of surfing she has ridden some top waves.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 16 November 18

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