Jack Phillips was the senior wireless operator aboard the Titanic on April 15, 1912. Phillips and Harold Bride were employed by the Marconi International Marine Communication Company. Harold Bride was off duty when Phillips received a warning from Cyril Evans, the wireless operator on the SS Californian. Evans told Phillips that they were completely stopped and surrounded by ice. He indicated that icebergs were in the path of the Titanic. Phillips acknowledged the warning, but the ear-piercing signal caused him to reply “Shut up, I’m working Cape Race.” He did not immediately relay the warning to the bridge and continued to transmit to the station on Cape Race. The Titanic hit an iceberg just minutes later. Cape Race later played a significant role in broadcasting the Titanic’s distress call to other ships in the area.
Jack Phillips continued to broadcast a distress call until three minutes before the stern sank. He died of hypothermia in the water near the overturned collapsible lifeboat B. His friend and fellow radio operator, Harold Bride, survived by jumping into the water and climbing aboard an overturned lifeboat. Only 40 people of the 1,503 who went into the water survived. The 666 other survivors lived because they stayed warm and dry by boarding lifeboats.
This Jack Phillips mug is part of our history mug series profiling the many unique individuals who shaped our world through their actions.
The biographical History Mugs were created to teach and inspire individuals to learn about our diverse and interesting history. The biographies were researched and written by history enthusiast, Robert Compton. He colorized most of the historic photos and images used on the mugs, which were originally black and white or sepia tone. The images and biographies are imprinted on mugs at his studio in rural Vermont.
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