Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (19 & 20 July 2017)

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Date of Auction: 19th & 20th July 2017

Sold for £9,500

Estimate: £6,000 - £8,000

Family Group:

Pair: Wireless Telegraph Operator H. S. Bride, Royal Naval Reserve, who as Junior Wireless Officer aboard the R.M.S. Titanic had remained at his post relaying S.O.S. messages whilst the vessel sank beneath the icy waves, only leaving his post when the ship’s power supply completely failed. Washed overboard when the boat deck flooded, he managed to scramble onto an upturned lifeboat, and was rescued by the S.S. Carpathia, who had received his distress calls, the following day
British War and Victory Medals (483W.T.S. H. S. Bride. W.T.O. R.N.R.) extremely fine

Five: Attributed to Craftsman J. Bride, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
1939-45 Star; Italy Star; France and Germany Star; Defence and War Medals 1939-45; together with a Royal Life Saving Society Swimming Medal, bronze, the reverse inscribed ‘J. Bride June 1939’; a Shooting Medal, the reverse inscribed ‘Winner 1947. Craftsman Bride’; and a Boxing Prize Medal, the reverse inscribed ‘Winner 1947. Craftsman Bride’, nearly extremely fine £6000-8000


Harold Sydney Bride was born in Nunhead, South London, on 11 January 1890, and after leaving school trained as a Marconi operator, completing his training in July 1911. Going to sea, his first ship was the Haverford, before he later served on the Lusitania, La France and finally the Anselm, before joining the White Star Line’s R.M.S. Titanic, for her maiden voyage. Bride and his colleague John 'Jack' George Phillips boarded the Titanic at Belfast and sailed with her to Southampton. As an employee of the Marconi company, he received monthly wages of £2 2s 6d. Sharing the wireless equipment with John Phillips the two agreed that Phillips would take the 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. shift and Bride the 2 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. shift.

On the night of the sinking, 14-15 April 1912, Bride relayed messages to and from Captain Smith on the bridge regarding the progress of the Carpathia and other ships in the vicinity, whilst Phillips worked the key:
"I was conscious of waking up and hearing Phillips sending to Cape Race. I read what he was sending. It was a traffic matter. I remembered how tired he was and got out of bed to relieve him. I didn't even feel the shock. I hardly knew it had happened until after the captain had come to us. There was no jolt whatsoever.
I was standing by Phillips telling him to go to bed when the captain put his head into the cabin.
'We've struck an iceberg,' the captain said, 'and I'm having an inspection made to tell what it has done for us. You better get ready to send out a call for assistance. But don't send it until I tell you.'
The captain went away and in ten minutes, I should estimate the time, he came back. We could hear a terrible confusion outside, but there was not the least thing to indicate that there was any trouble. The wireless was working perfectly.
'Send the call for assistance,' said the captain, barely putting his head in the door. 'What call should I send?' Phillips asked. 'The regulation international call for help. Just that.'
Then the captain was gone. Phillips began to send CQD He flashed away at it and we were joking while he did so. All of us made light of the disaster. We joked that way while he flashed signals for about five minutes. Then the captain came back.
'What are you sending?' he asked.
'CQD' Phillips replied.
The humour of the situation appealed to me. I cut in with a little remark that made us all laugh, including the captain.
'Send SOS,' I said. 'It's the new call, and it may be your last chance to send it.'
Phillips with a laugh changed the signal to SOS."

Both operators stayed at their post after their release, but were forced out onto the deck by the water surging into the wireless room:
"I noticed as I came back from one trip that they were putting off women and children in lifeboats. I noticed that the list forward was increasing. Phillips told me the wireless was growing weaker. The captain came and told us our engine rooms were taking water and that the dynamos might not last much longer. We sent that word to the
I went on deck and looked around. The water was pretty close up to the boat deck. There was a great scramble aft, and how poor Phillips continued to work through it I don't know. He was a brave man. I learned to love him that night and I suddenly felt a great reverence to see him standing there sticking to his work while everybody else was raging about. I will never live to forget the work of Phillips during the last awful fifteen minutes.
I looked out. The boat deck was awash. Phillips clung on sending and sending. He clung on for about ten minutes, or maybe fifteen minutes after the captain had released him. The water was then coming into our cabin.
While he worked something happened I hate to tell about. I was back at my room getting Phillips's money for him, and as I looked out the door I saw a stoker, or somebody from below decks, leaning over Phillips from behind. Phillips was too busy to notice what the man was doing. The man was slipping the life belt off Phillips's back."

Bride and Phillips managed to deter the stoker and left the wireless room and headed out to the boat deck:
"From aft came the tunes of the band. It was a ragtime tune, I don't know what... Phillips ran aft and that was the last I ever saw of him alive. I went to the place I had seen the collapsible boat on the boat deck, and to my surprise I saw the boat and the men still trying to push it off. I guess there wasn't a sailor in the crowd. They couldn't do it. I went up to them and was just lending a hand when a large wave came awash of the deck.
The big wave carried the boat off. I had hold of an oarlock and I went off with it. The next I knew I was in the boat.
But that was not all. I was in the boat and the boat was upside down and I was under it. And I remember I realised I was wet through, and that whatever happened I must not breathe, for I was underwater.
I knew I had to fight for it and I did. How I got out from under the boat I do not know, but I felt a breath of air at last...
I felt I simply had to get away from the ship. She was a beautiful sight then. Smoke and sparks were rushing out of her funnel. There must have been an explosion, but we heard none. We only saw the big stream of sparks. The ship was gradually turning on her nose, just like a duck does that goes down for a dive.”

Bride recalled that he could hear the band playing right up to the end. He also recollected that there was little suction when the ship went down. He was finally able to climb aboard the upturned hull of Collapsible B:
"There was just room for me to roll on the edge. I lay there not caring what happened. Somebody sat on my legs. They were wedged in between slats and were being wrenched. I had not the heart to ask the man to move. It was a terrible sight all around - men swimming and sinking. I lay where I was, letting the man wrench my feet out of shape. Others came near. Nobody gave them a hand. The bottom-up boat already had more men than it would hold and it was sinking."

Harold Bride had survived but but suffered from badly frozen and crushed feet, due to the effects of the cold and the position in which he was sitting on the collapsible’s hull. He described the rescue by the Carpathia:
"One man was dead. I passed him and went up the ladder, although my feet pained terribly. The dead man was Phillips. He had died on the raft from exposure and cold, I guess. He had been all in from work before the wreck came. He stood his ground until the crisis had passed, and then he collapsed, I guess. But I hardly thought that then. I didn't think much of anything. I tried the rope ladder. My feet pained terribly, but I got to the top and felt hands reaching out to me. The next I knew a woman was leaning over me in a cabin and I felt her hand waving back my hair and rubbing my face."

On the voyage to New York aboard Carpathia Bride worked together with the Carpathia’s wireless operator to send countless personal messages and names of the saved to land. After a spell in hospital in New York he returned to England and finally returned to work as a wireless operator. During the First World War, he served on the steamer Mona's Isle as a telegraphist. After the Great War he married Miss Lucy Downie in 1919, and they had three children, including Craftsman John Bride, who served during the Second World War with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. He died in Scotland on 29 April 1956.

Sold together with White Star Line ‘Life Buoy’ belt buckle, gilt and enamel, minor blue enamel damage; a silver prize medal, the obverse inscribed ‘ Lucy D. Downie -Dux 1903-4- Stranraer Academy’, the reverse inscribed ‘Presented by Robert Young, Esq., Stranraer’; and a R.E.M.E. cap badge.