Honour the Rescuer
Thursday, 22 March 2012
Anne Edwards, whose grandfather, William Thomas Settle, was in the same form as Captain Arthur Henry Rostron at Bolton School, visited her former school to exhibit her Titanic memorabilia and to promote her charity, Honour the Rescuer. Whilst Anne acknowledges the tragedy of the sinking of the "indestructible" Titanic on 14 April 1912 when over 1500 souls lost their lives, she feels not enough recognition is given to the heroism of Captain Rostron, who was the Master of RMS Carpathia, the only rescue ship. Whilst other ships had moored up for the evening due to the densely packed ice field, Rostron heroically struck out at top speed, 17 knots, dodging icebergs in the dark night, to cover the 60 miles and, four hours after hearing the Titanic's SOS call, the Carpathia saved 706 survivors that were already in the lifeboats.
Anne said: 'The Titanic is the most famous ship of all time and, by my reckoning, the Carpathia should be the most famous lifeboat of all time. The evidence given by the survivors rescued by Captain Rostron led to many of the safety rules and regulations that are now in force for all shipping worldwide; one of the most significant of which is that there must be sufficient lifeboats and rafts to accommodate all passengers and crew on any vessel.
It has been a wonderful day at Bolton School. I left here in 1961, my father came here and my grandfather. He was born in October 1868 and Rostron was born the following year in May 1869. Funnily enough both Rostron and myself attended St Paul's Primary School in Astley Bridge before we came to Bolton School. He probably would not like all this fuss about him as he was a very modest man, when a journalist asked him about his heroic rescue, he said: "A hand other than mine was on the wheel that night."'
Anne put her memorabilia alongside that of the School's which had been collected and displayed by Eric Fairweather, a Parent Governor, who is currently archiving school materials in anticipation of the 500th birthday celebration of Bolton School in 2016. The co-exhibition provoked a lot of local media interest and Granada Reports and North-West Tonight both interviewed her for programmes that will run on Wednesday 11th and Thursday 12th April.
By the end of 2012, Anne is hoping to have raised enough funds to install a lasting memorial to Rostron somewhere in the Southampton region as that is where he lived out the last days of his life and where he is buried.
Rostron died in 1940 but left a fascinating insight into his life in his autobiography "Home from the Sea". He was knighted by George V in 1926 and remains the only Boltonian to ever receive America's highest award, the Congressional Medal of Honour - and the Freedom of New York.
In the build up to the 100 year anniversary of the sinking of The Titanic, Anne and the School got a lot of tv coverage.