April 10, 2012

Long-lost Titanic SOS is on view for the first time

"Have struck iceberg."

The alarming message sent from the RMS Titanic 100 years ago on the night of April 14, 1912, was first received and recorded at the Hatteras Weather Bureau Station.

The long-lost log page from that date will be on public display at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras village for the very first time from April 14 until May 31.
"I don't know if many people realize the connection of North Carolina to the Titanic," said Doug Stover, historian for the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. "The weather station that received the message at Hatteras was small, but it had a huge impact on logging Atlantic maritime activity at that time in history."

According to the National Park Service, the Hatteras Weather Bureau received one of the first telegraph messages from the British passenger liner.

At 11:25 p.m., the message of, "CQD," meaning "Come Quickly Distressed," was recorded by the station, at the same time as the Cape Race Marconi Station in Newfoundland, Canada. Details followed that gave the ship's coordinates and the reason for distress - "Have struck iceberg."

Having struck the large iceberg just before midnight, the cruise ship then known as the largest ship in the world, sank within hours. Of the 2,224 people on board, 1,514 perished.
Like many unneeded papers in the early 20th century, the log pages from the weather station were rolled and stuffed into plaster walls to provide insulation. It wasn't until 2005, when the National Park Service was restoring the weather station, that the log page was discovered.

After years of restoration at the National Park Service Conservation Lab, the log page will now be exhibited with various related items. 
"The log page is significant for two reasons," said North Carolina Maritime Museums’ Director Joseph Schwarzer. "It was the one of the first messages received from Titanic. And, it was one of the last times 'CQD.' was sent, as the use of 'SOS' became more popular. Hatteras has the only remaining original station log from that telegraph."
The exhibit of the log page will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.
The exhibit will open at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning, April 14.  The museum, which is located near the Ferry Docks in Hatteras village, is open from Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.  Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.

For more information on the exhibit, call 252 986-2995 or go to the museum’s wesite at http://www.graveyardoftheatlantic.com/

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