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The value of wireless communication at sea was dramatically demonstrated by the Titanic disaster in April 1912. Large ships were now being fitted with wireless sets and at least one operator was included among the crew. Titanic had two operators and the latest and most powerful equipment from the Marconi company. After she struck an iceberg and was holed below the water and sinking, the operators were able to send out distress calls to nearby ships and to receive word of their plans to assist. Marconi was celebrated as the saviour of the 700 people who were rescued from Titanic.

Some of the most remarkable and compelling material in the Marconi archive is the original documentary record of this influential and memorable episode in the history of wireless telegraphy. Much of the material in the two showcases on Titanic is being shown in public for the first time.

Message from the Virginian to the Californian

A message from the Virginian to the Californian: ‘Titanic struck berg wants assistance urgently ship sinking passengers in boats her position Lat 41.46 Long 50.14’

Message sent from the Titanic

Message sent from Titanic, as received by Celtic: ‘CQD require assistance position 41.46 N 50.14 W struck iceberg Titanic’. ‘CQD’ was the international help signal used before the introduction of ‘SOS’.

Message sent from the Olympic to the Titanic

From Olympic to her sister ship Titanic: ‘Am lighting up all possible boilers as fast as can’.