A postcard written by an ill-fated Titanic hero to his sister and signed ‘Love Jack’ just weeks before he died in the fateful ship’s sinking is set to fetch $15,000 at auction this month.
Senior wireless operator Jack Phillips, then 24, wrote the postcard bearing a picture of the famous ship 109 years ago on March 7 1912 to his sister Elsie Phillips.
He sent the postcard to Elsie from Belfast, Ireland, just five weeks before the Titanic sank on 15 April 1912, after being deployed from Southampton in the UK to New York five days earlier.
Jack, who shares the same name as fictional character Jack Dawson played by Leonardo DiCaprio in the Oscar-winning 1997 film Titanic, penned the message on the reverse of a glossy postcard.
The postcard showed the White Star Line’s Titanic on its launch day at Belfast on May 31, 1911.
Senior wireless operator Jack Phillips, then 24, wrote the postcard bearing a picture of the famous ship 109 years ago on March 7 1912 to his sister Elsie Phillips
He sent the postcard to Elsie from Belfast, Ireland, just five weeks before the Titanic sank on 15 April 1912, after being deployed from Southampton in the UK to New York five days earlier. He signed it with ‘Love Jack’
As the liner was sinking, Jack, who turned 25 onboard the ship, worked tirelessly to send wireless S.O.S. signals to other ships to enlist their help with the rescue of the Titanic’s passengers and crew
‘Very busy working late,’ Jack writes in the handwritten note to Elsie. ‘Hope to leave on Monday and arrive So’ton [Southampton] or Wednesday afternoon. Hope you are quite OK. Heard from Ethel yesterday.’
He signed off with: ‘Love Jack’.
Jack added in the address panel: ‘Miss E. Phillips, Ryde Hse School, Ripley, Woking Surrey’.
It was likely one of the last correspondences the siblings had as Jack died on April 15 as the Titanic sank during its maiden voyage.
Jack, who shares the same name as fictional character Jack Dawson played by Leonardo DiCaprio(left with Kate Winslet) in the Oscar-winning 1997 film Titanic, penned the message on the reverse of a glossy postcard
The Titanic — which sank on April 15, 1912, after a collision with an iceberg — lies on the seafloor around 350 nautical miles off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. The liner made two short stops en route to her planned Atlantic crossing — one at the French port of Cherbourg, the other at Cork Harbour, Ireland, where smaller vessels ferried passengers on and off board
As the liner was sinking, Jack, who turned 25 onboard the ship, worked tirelessly to send wireless S.O.S. signals to other ships to enlist their help with the rescue of the Titanic’s passengers and crew.
Jack was able to reach liners ships hundreds of miles away – one of which was the Carpathia, the steamship which saved 705 survivors from lifeboats two hours after the Titanic sank at 2:20 a.m.
But for Jack, he wasn’t so fortunate. After abandoning the ship when water flooded around his feet, he ended up on an overturned lifeboat where he later died of exposure to the severe cold.
His body was never recovered and more than 1,500 died in the catastrophe.
Despite his youth, Jack was a well-seasoned telegraphist having learned his trade while working for the post office in 1906.
During his career, where he served on a number of vessels for the Marconi Company, Jack kept in frequent touch with his sister Elsie.
She saved nearly 300 postcards he sent to her throughout his career.
But the card now being sold by RR Auction House in Boston, Massachusetts, holds particular significance as it was written in the weeks before the Titanic’s maiden voyage.
Bobby Livingston, executive vice president at RR Auction, said: ‘Phillips often chose postcards which depicted ships on which he served.
‘According to our research, only five of the 300 postcards retained by Elsie had any relation to Titanic, and only two featured the ship as the front photograph.’
THE TITANIC DISASTER TIMELINE
Ned Parfett, the ‘Titanic paperboy’, outside of the White Star Line offices in London
April 10, 1912 (12:00):
The Titanic sets sail from Southampton to New York, calling at Cherbourg and Cork en route.
April 14 (09:00–22.30, ship’s time):
Marconi Company radio officers on the Titanic received a total of six warnings of ice in the vicinity, not all of which were passed on to the crew.
April 14 (23:39):
Lookout Frederick Fleet, in the crow’s nest, spots an iceberg dead ahead of the ship. Turning to port, the vessel managed to avoid a direct collision, but suffered a ‘glancing blow’ instead.
April 15 (00:05):
Captain Edward Smith orders abandon ship and has radio operators issue distress signals.
April 15 (02:05):
The Titanic’s final lifeboat is launched. Ten minutes later, the liner’s angle in the water increased rapidly, ultimately reaching over 30 degrees, as water reached previously unflooded parts of the ship through deck hatches.
April 15 (02:20):
The Titanic finally disappeared beneath the waves, some two hours and forty minutes after striking the iceberg.