Edinburgh care home resident shares story about heroic grandfather who saved hundreds in Titanic disaster of 1912

A resident of an Edinburgh care home has shared the incredible story about his grandfather, who saved hundreds of lives in the Titanic tragedy in 1912.

A 1912 poster highlighting Carpathia's role in the Titanic sinking
A 1912 poster highlighting Carpathia's role in the Titanic sinking

John Rostron, 92, is the grandson of Sir Arthur Rostron, who was the captain of the ocean liner RMS Carpathia when it rescued hundreds of survivors from the RMS Titanic when it sank after hitting an iceberg.

Carpathia was travelling a regular route between New York City and Croatia when it received a distress signal from the Titanic.

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Rostron ordered the Carpathia to change direction to travel 107km to the disaster scene.

John Rostron with a photo of his grandfather, Sir Arthur Rostron.

Travelling through dangerous ice fields on the way Rostron and his crew travelled for three and a half hours at maximum speed to the Titanic’s radioed position.

The Carpathia saved 705 survivors out of the 2,228 passengers and crew aboard the Titanic before Rostron turned the ship back around to New York to disembark them.

The heroic captain testified at both the US Senate inquiry and the British Wreck Commissioner's inquiry into the sinking of the Titanic.

Titanic survivors, including Margaret Brown, presented Rostron with a silver cup and gold medal for his efforts the night Titanic sank.

John with a collage of pictures selected and displayed by John and residents at Trinity House.

He was also awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the Thanks of Congress, the American Cross of Honor, a medal from the Liverpool Shipwreck and Humane Society, and a gold medal from the Shipwreck Society of New York.

Captain Rostron was knighted by George V in 1926.

John, who has lived at Trinity House Care Home since August, remembers his grandfather as a “quiet man who liked gardening”.

Trinity House’s lifestyle co-ordinator Callum O’Donnell helped John share his story with other residents in a week of activities named ‘Grandpa to the rescue’ at the care home.

It included selecting pictures of Captain Rostron, survivors and the rescue to exhibit as well as watching the 1958 film ‘A Night Remember’ at their in-house cinema.

In the film the then Captain Rostron was played by Anthony Bushell.

Mr O’Donnell said: “It is encouraging to know that, in these challenging times, when so much negative attention is being paid to the care sector, we can enjoy a story about the many good and positive activities which are keeping our residents interested and engaged.”

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