12:10pm Saturday 14th April 2012
By Kath Skellon
AN EXHIBITION this weekend to mark the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic is dedicated to an unlikely association which connects Blackwood with the catastrophe.
Visitors will be able to visit Gelligroes Mill, Pontllanfraith, where amateur radio enthusiast Artie Moore picked up the SOS signal sent from the Titantic as she started sinking.
It was at the 17th century water mill in 1912 that the wireless experimenter received calls for help after the Titanic hit an iceberg, but, after racing to inform local police, no-one in the area believed him.
The mill was home to the Moore family and Arthur (Artie) Moore, who lived between 1887 and 1949, was a keen wireless experimenter, using his homemade, crude radio equipment on that fateful night.
He received a faint morse code transmission which said "Require immediate assistance. Come at once we have struck an iceberg. Sinking, we are putting the women off in the boats."
Mr Moore continued copying signals he was receiving, hardly believing the words he was writing.
The final signal he received was "Come quickly as possible old man our engine room is filling up to the boilers."
He raced to the local police station to inform officers of the terrible news, but nobody believed him.
It was only two days later when it was announced in the national press people realised he had been right.
The receiving of these signals is believed to be the only land-based reception in the UK, possibly the world, as they were relayed to Newfoundland by other ships.
Mr Moore was given a job in the Marconi company as a draughtsman and, in 1932, he patented the Echo-meter - an early form of sonar.
For the mill's Curator, David Constable, the centenary is especially poignant, having met the last survivor of the disaster.
"The late Miss Elizabeth Gladys 'Milvena' Dean, who was put onto a boat as a baby, came to visit the museum in 2002 and was a wonderful woman."
Local people know the story of Artie but we wanted to pay tribute to him and also to remember those who lost their lives on that fateful night through this exhibition."
How the Argus reported the sinking of the Titanic
Weekend of commemoration
Over the weekend, visitors can explore a commemorative exhibition and watch amateur radio broadcasting by members of the Blackwood and District Amateur Radio Society and see a piece of Mr Moore's surviving equipment that his family presented to the Blackwood and District Amateur Radio Society.
The spark gap transmitter, is more than 100 Ðyears-old and is used to send Morse code in the form of long or short sparks as dots and dashes.The group will be transmitting from a station at the mill for 48-hours and expects to communicate, briefly, with around 1,000 other enthusiasts.The Mill is open between 10am and 4pm today and tomorrow.
© Copyright 2001-2013 Newsquest Media Group