Northern Ireland

Titanic telegram up for auction in Dublin

Telegram
Image caption The telegram is expected to sell for between 20,000 and 30,000 euros

A telegram that alerted the United Kingdom and Europe to the sinking of the Titanic as the disaster was unfolding is to be sold at auction in Dublin on Saturday, 21 April.

The telegram, which measures 10 inches by 8, is dated 15 April 1912 and was sent by the Press Association to the Belfast Evening Telegraph.

It was received by journalist Robert (Bob) McComb.

It reads: "White Star Liner Titanic wh. Reuters states is sinking in mid Atlantic as result of collision wi iceberg left Southampton last Wedy. on maiden voyage to New York. Titanic is largest vessel afloat having tonnage of 46,382 or 1004 more than Olympic. She has lgth of 882 feet wi ninety two feet breadth & was luxuriously fitted up wi especial regard to requirements o wealthy Americans".

'Disbelief'

A spokesman for Whyte's auctioneers said the telegram was written at 10.39 (presumably in the morning), about three hours after the ship had sunk, making this document the first notification of the ship's sinking.

It also allowed the newspaper to be one of the first to break the news of the Titanic's demise.

"It is difficult to comprehend the disbelief and shock which must have greeted this telegram as it arrived at the offices of the Telegraph, the largest selling newspaper in Titanic's home city of Belfast," the spokesman said.

"The news which the telegram gives reflects the fragmented and sparse nature of the initial information which filtered back to Ireland relating to the fate of the world's most famous ship."

The telegram allowed the newspaper to carry the headline: The Titanic Sinking.

Bob McComb, who worked for the newspaper for 34 years, kept the telegram.

It is expected to sell for between 20,000 and 30,000 euros at auction.

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