Unlike the luxurious Titanic, Carpathia was a simple passenger ship. This vessel carried Hungarian immigrants to New York. They hoped to have a better life in the United States with more opportunities than in their homeland. On April 15, 1912, Carpathia’s became the vessel that rescued 705 Titanic survivors. Her journey was a dangerous one. The fastest Carpathia could travel was 14 knots, but she managed to move at 17 knots. This little ship also had to go around icy fields in absolute darkness. She was truly a miracle ship.
Rostron, the captain of the Carpathia, completed his first maritime crisis successfully. He certainly had nerves of steel and sheer intelligence. He transformed the Carpathia into a rescue ship. Harold Cottam, Carpathia’s wireless operator, received the SOS signal from the Titanic. Since he thought that his duties for the day were over, Captain Rostron was fast asleep. Cottam woke up Rostron, and he quickly responded to the emergency.
In order to get the Titanic ready to help survivors, Rostron made the necessary arrangements. The crew prepared blankets, warm clothing, tea, coffee and soup. Three dining rooms became first aid units. In these rooms, the doctors treated the sick and injured survivors of the Titanic.
Even after Rostron saved the lives of 705 Titanic passengers, he still searched the icy waters again to see if he could find any more. Unfortunately, no other survivors were found.
While the Carpathia traveled back to New York, the crew and passengers were very helpful to the Titanic survivors. They even offered their own beds and clothing to try to make Titanic survivors feel comfortable. Many widows were heartbroken. On April 18, 1912, the Titanic arrived in New York. She received plenty of media attention. The Carpathia had become famous.
For their heroism, Rostron and his crew were honored. Crew members received bronze medals. Officers were awarded silver medals. Rostron acquired the most honors and awards. Molly Brown gave him a silver cup as well as a gold medal for helping to save Titanic survivors. King George V knighted Captain Rostron. President Taft awarded Rostron with the Congressional Gold Medal.
Even after the Titanic disaster, Carpathia still continued her service. During World War I, she became a military ship. She transferred Canadian and American troops to Europe. She also became a troopship for the Canadian Expeditionary Force. The German submarine U-55 torpedoed the Carpathia on July 17, 1918. As a result of the attack, this ship was completely destroyed. Since she rescued Titanic passengers, her memory will live on for the ages.
Years after the Titanic shipwreck, there was still one reporter who was baffled. The journalist could not believe that the Carpathia was able to travel beyond her maximum speed. The reporter was surprised that this ship made her journey safely through the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Rostron answered the correspondent, “A hand other than mine was on the wheel that night.”