Monday, July 8, 2024



I received an email from John P with a story that qualifies as Interesting People. Thanks John. His fascinating article appears below and I have added more at the end.


Radio Officers, Titanic History

Artie Moore in his garden shack.

It's the anniversary of the Titanic sinking today (the Titanic sank on 15 April 1912) and many will be surprised to learn that a few fields across from where Bryn Meadows Golf Club is, at Gelligroes Mill (near Pontllanfraith), local fella Artie Moore was in his garden shed, suddenly becoming a part of the Titanic story. He'd built a radio receiver by himself and managed to generate electricity for it by using a large water wheel and some self-made batteries.

This was 1912 by the way, radio had only just been invented. Artie was intrigued by it though and was clearly a seriously clever guy. The year before he intercepted a message from inside the Italian government where they declared war on Libya, nobody knew him before then but they soon did when he dropped that bombshell and the world learned that it was true.

On the night of the Titanic sinking, he was in his shed experimenting and somehow managed to pick up the SOS distress calls from on board the ship at the very moment the crew raised the alarm. "We have struck an iceberg, sinking."..... "Women and children in boats, cannot last much longer"...... "We are sinking fast. Passengers are being put into boats. Titanic."

He rushed to the local police station and they thought he was crazy. Back in 1912, it was considered fact that the Titanic was unsinkable and the thought of plucking messages from the air was mind-bendingly impossible. He told others and nobody believed him. 2 days later the news hit the British press and the nation learned what had happened for the first time. Once the shock of the news had subsided, people started to learn that this fella Artie had raised the alarm days in advance from his shed in the Welsh Valleys.

It was such a wild achievement, the inventor of radio Guglielmo Marconi came to know about him. Marconi had just won the Nobel prize for Physics, the same almost impossible to attain prize that Albert Einstein won a few years later You're talking uber genius, the inventor of wireless communication and he's so mind blown that he ends up here in the valleys, in Artie's garden shed to find out how the hell he managed to learn about the Titanic before anyone else did, it shouldn't even have been possible being so far away.

Marconi's Nobel prize winning technology had a range of 2000 miles max, but Artie's home-made set up was picking it up from 3000 miles away. Marconi was shown how it was achieved and he offered Artie a job on the spot. Artie went on to lead the installation of wireless equipment on battleships during World War 1, invented the pre cursor to Sonar and was in the thick of developing technologies which have enabled radio to be what it is today.

Somehow, not many of us know about Artie. Hopefully posts like this one will help to bring him back into the consciousness of local people. A phenomenal man with a phenomenal story.


Is the story accurate?

From Wikipedia:

Arthur Moore (1887 – 20 January 1949) was a Welsh wireless pioneer who heard the distress signal from RMS Titanic on his home-made equipment before news of the disaster reached Britain. He subsequently worked for the Marconi Company, helping to develop radio and sonar.

Arthur Moore was born in Pontllanfraith, near Blackwood, where his father owned Gelligroes Mill.

At a young age Moore was involved in an accident at the mill which resulted in the loss of the lower part of one of his legs. For the rest of his life, he wore a wooden leg. By the age of ten, Moore had developed an interest in amateur engineering and he adapted a bicycle to cater for his wooden leg.

After Moore and his brother took over operation of the mill from their father, they used a generator coupled to the mill wheel to charge batteries to provide electrical power for local farmers, who were not yet connected to the mains supply; they also created machinery for them.

Early on 15 April 1912, over a distance of more than 3,000 miles (4,800 km), Moore heard the distress signal in Morse Code from Titanic, one of the first uses of "SOS". He bicycled to the police station in Caerphilly, where his report was discounted; two days later, press reports confirmed the accuracy of his report, including that the ship's wireless operator had used "SOS" in addition to the older "CQD" code for a ship in distress.

In 1922, he patented an early form of sonar; during the Second World War, his sonar work was instrumental in helping Allied ships avoid German U-Boats in the North Atlantic.


By the way:

CQD is one of the first distress signals adopted for radio use. On 7 January 1904 the Marconi International Marine Communication Company issued "Circular 57", which specified that, for the company's installations, beginning 1 February 1904 "the call to be given by ships in distress or in any way requiring assistance shall be 'C Q D' ". Landline and submarine telegraphers telegraphs had adopted the convention of using the station code "CQ" to all stations along a telegraph line. The Marconi company added a "D" ("distress") to CQ in order to create a distress call. Thus, "CQD" was understood by wireless operators to mean All stations: Distress.

At the first International Radiotelegraphic Convention, held in Berlin in 1906, Germany's Notzeichen distress signal of three-dots three-dashes three-dots was adopted as the international Morse code distress signal. This distress signal soon became known as "SOS" because it has the same dash-dot sequence as the letters S O S.


Artie Moore gallery:

Gelligroes Mill, Pontllanfraith

Pontllanfraith: Gelligroes Mill. The watermill dates from 1625. It has since been rebuilt and features an overshot waterwheel and a more recent turbine. Restored in 1993

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