Sextant used in rescue of Titanic survivors up for sale

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Sextant used in rescue of Titanic survivors up for sale

Postby Andrew Clarkson » Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:06 am

A sextant used in the rescue of Titanic survivors will be sold at auction in the U.K. later this month.

The sextant belonged to Sir Arthur Rostron, captain of the rescue ship Carpathia, who was one of the heroes of the disaster. “[The sextant] was used by Captain Rostron to plot a course for his ship the Carpathia to reach Titanic’s wreck site and pick up the surviving Titanic passengers in their lifeboats,” Henry Aldridge & Son Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge told, via email. Aldrige noted that the sextant was with Captain Rostron throughout his career and has been in his family since the 1880s.

Thursday marks the 104th anniversary of the famous maritime disaster. The Titanic struck an iceberg at 11:40 p.m. ship's time on April 14 1912 and sank just over two hours later with the loss of more than 1,500 lives. Rostron’s swift response to the sinking is credited with saving over 700 people.

Sextants measure the angle between a celestial object and the horizon and were an essential part of navigation. Rostron acquired the instrument while serving as a cadet at the Merchant Navy Cadet School H.M.S. Conway in 1883, according to Henry Aldridge & Son. “The sextant itself is of polished brass and is engraved A.H. Rostron RNR [Royal Naval Reserve],” explained Henry Aldridge & Son, in a press release. “In Captain Rostron’s evidence on Day One of the American Titanic enquiry on April 19th 1912 he states ‘I picked up our position on my chart and set a course to pick up the Titanic’.”

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Re: Sextant used in rescue of Titanic survivors up for sale

Postby Dave Gittins » Tue Apr 19, 2016 6:25 am

The usual hype! Rostron didn't use a sextant during his rescue mission. It took place too long after sunset for him to take star sights. He simply used his compass and a dead reckoning position, based on evening star sights.
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Re: Sextant used in rescue of Titanic survivors up for sale

Postby Eric K. Longo » Wed Apr 20, 2016 9:59 pm

Hi Dave,
Now why did I assume something like this? Odd. :)

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Re: Sextant used in rescue of Titanic survivors up for sale

Postby VW1956 » Tue Apr 26, 2016 8:50 am

Hello. Wouldn't have mattered too much to me if it were used that night. What would have been important to me was it on Carpathia. Anyway it did sell for £66,000.
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