A Marconi Wireless Telegraph Station was built adjacent to the Cape Bear Lighthouse in 1905, one of seven such stations established by the Department of Marine and Fisheries around that time. A large pole measuring 165 feet was erected near the lighthouse and held in an upright position by several guy wires cemented into the ground.
Its principal purpose was to communicate with ships at sea and the ice-breaking steamers, Stanley and Minto, which linked Pictou, Nova Scotia with Charlottetown and Georgetown, Prince Edward Island. B. E. Hobbs operated the station from 1905 to 1912, and Thomas Bartlett then kept the station until it was relocated to Charlottetown in 1922.
On the night of April 14, 1912, Bartlett received the first distress signal in Canada from the Titanic as it was sinking off the coast of Newfoundland. A similar station at Cape Race in Newfoundland was in communication with the Titanic, but at that time Newfoundland was not a part of Canada. The Cape Bear Marconi Station ceased operations in 1922, and the building that housed the station was sold to Robert Glover in 1929. The structure now serves as a family home in Guernsey Cove.
B.E. Hobbs Marconi Operator from 1905 -1912
(Walter) Thomas Bartlett came to P.E.I. from Brigus, Newfoundland. He was chief operator for the Marconi station at Cape Bear. On April 15th, 1909, he married Beth Harris, daughter of the former lighthouse keepers, William and Annie Harris.
Thomas and Beth had 6 children and the family lived at the Marconi station at Cape Bear.
Thomas was on duty on April 14th, 1912, the night the S.O.S. distress signal was transmitted by the Titanic.
Cape Bear was one of the seven Marconi stations that went into service in 1905. A large pole measuring 165 feet was erected near the lighthouse and held in an upright position by several guy wires cemented into the ground.
Thomas Bartlett Marconi Operator 1912 -1922
Hear the distress call from the titanic (reconstruction)
"CQD CQD SOS DE MGY MGY REQUIR IMEDIAT ASISTANC POSITION 41.46 N 50.14 W"
CQD was the original distress call -SOS is the new distress call (the Titanic sent both)
DE MGY - Every ship had a call sign issued by Marconi -MGY was the Titanic’s call sign
The only known photograph of Titanic's Marconi room. Taken by passenger Fr. Browne, who disembarked in Queenstown. Operator is probably Harold Bride.