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The incredible tale of the Welshman who picked up the Titanic’s SOS calls

19 Apr 2023 3 minute read
Artie Moore outside his garden shed / the sinking of the Titanic (Credit: Creative Commons)

Phil Morris

This month marks the anniversary of the Titanic sinking and many will be surprised to learn that there is a Welshman at the heart of the story.

Artie Moore was in his garden shed, when he suddenly became a part of Titanic history.

At Gelligroes Mill (near Pontllanfraith), Artie had built a wireless radio station 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 coded 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 – April 15th, 1912, 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. Two 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 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 didn’t even make sense how he picked up the messages at all, Marconi’s Nobel prize winning technology was installed on the Titanic with a detection range of 2,000 miles absolute maximum, but Artie’s home made set up was picking it up from 3,000 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 stories like this one will help to bring him back into the consciousness of local people. A phenomenal man with a phenomenal story.

Phil Morris runs the Ystrad Mynach group on Facebook


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Malcolm Jones
Malcolm Jones
10 months ago

IF he was a English man he would have have been very very well known

Wynn
Wynn
10 months ago
Reply to  Malcolm Jones

absolutely!

Sharon Glass
Sharon Glass
10 months ago

The money making machine has never, and will never, care about working class, nor give a toss about whatever plot of land we happened to be born in. It’s always about one dimensional and invented working class characters that happen to be useful to a middle class narrative.

Riki
Riki
10 months ago

Why haven’t we heard of him? Simple answer…this is Wales and for centuries the only things that were told about it, and the people who reside in it, was to only be told if it could be of an advantage to Westminster and England. Majority of people in Wales for example didn’t even know Wales was at the Football World Cup in 58’…with John Charles admitting once they came back he struck up a conversation at a train station and when people found out where they had been, they were amazed. Sums up Wales then, and now! Ask people on… Read more »

Malcolm Jones
Malcolm Jones
10 months ago
Reply to  Riki

How many people in Wales and the UK know that one of the worlds greatest ever inventions the First TRAIN was run from Merthyr Tydfil to abercynon it opened up the WORLD 🌎 yet Stevenson gets the credit for it he was twenty years later when he run his train come to Merthyr and see the the monument too Richard trevethik English history what can you believe???

Riki
Riki
10 months ago
Reply to  Malcolm Jones

Yep, It’s designed to always make the next generation believe they will be nothing without England and UK as a whole. When in reality, it’s amazing how much the nation and people have achieved while being under their thumb and boot. Can you imagine what it would have achieved had the nation been independent for the last 300 years? One can only imagine.

Windy
Windy
10 months ago

He should have a blue plaque on his house and his shed

Riki
Riki
10 months ago
Reply to  Windy

No! He should have a statue. Like the hundreds of other important Cymric Men and Women. But alas…we are not to celebrate our famous Sons and daughters. We have to be the odd ones out don’t we.

George Bodley
George Bodley
10 months ago
Reply to  Windy

There is one on the wall of Gelligroes mill opposite the house he lived in .

Last edited 10 months ago by George Bodley
G Horton-Jones
G Horton-Jones
10 months ago

This article should be in the Public domain and Wikipedia not confined as a 3 minute read on our Nation

Ed Jones
Ed Jones
10 months ago

More stories like this please, fascinating, diolch/thanks!

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