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Please note, as our exhibitions change regularly, the boats, objects and pictures featured in this section may not now be on display in the museum. Please contact us on 01326 313388 for further information.

Sir Arthur Rostron

Sir Arthur Rostron

Arthur Henry Rostron was born in Lancashire in 1869. He first went to sea aged 13 and went on to have a very successful career with passenger shipping lines. But he will for ever be remembered for the crucial role he played in the Titanic disaster.

Rostron passed his master’s certificate in 1894 and soon went on to join the Cunard line. He served on a number of Cunard ships over the next few years, and eventually was given command of the Carpathia in January 1912. The ship provided a regular passenger service between New York and various European ports.

On the night of 14 April 1912 the Carpathia was on her regular route travelling from New York to Liverpool, mainly carrying American tourists holidaying in Europe. At around midnight the radio operator received a distress signal from the Titanic, indicating that she had struck an iceberg and was sinking. Despite being four hours away, and in equal danger of colliding with an iceberg, Capt Rostron ordered the course to be changed and headed at full steam to the scene.

The Carpathia arrived at the scene at 4am and picked up over 700 survivors from the lifeboats. Over 1500 people died. As the ship had only just started out on its voyage, Rostron decided to turn around and take the survivors to New York.

Captain Rostron was presented with many awards for the part he played in the event, including a silver cup and a gold medal by the survivors, and was presented with the American Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award available in the United States.

Following the First World War, Arthur Rostron was appointed the CBE, and was then knighted in 1926. He had an active retirement from 1931 and died of pneumonia in 1940. He was survived by his wife and daughter.

This portrait photograph was taken by a New York photographer at an unknown date, but probably around the time of the Titanic disaster. It is on loan to the museum from Rostron’s family and is on display in the Titanic Honour and Glory exhibition, which ends on 21st June 2009.

Please note, as our exhibitions change regularly, the boats, objects and pictures featured in this section may not now be on display in the museum. Please contact us on 01326 313388 for further information.

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