• U.S.

Milestones: Binks’s Last

2 minute read

As all Cunard-White Star Line officers must do on reaching 60, Captain John W. Binks of the S. S. Olympic prepared last week to quit the sea after 45 years in steam & sail. Memorable indeed was the last westbound trip of the Olympic’s florid, stocky skipper from Southampton to New York. Over the North Atlantic raged a winter’s storm that brought many a vessel distress, twice sent the barometer from 30 in. to 28 in.—lowest Captain Binks had ever seen. So rough was New York’s almost landlocked harbor that mail boats could take off only 700 of the Olympic’s mail load of 13,108 bags. Captain Binks called it “the worst bloomin’ sea I ever saw in 35 years at Quarantine.” Unconnected with Captain Binks’s retirement was the accident seven months ago in which the Olympic cut the Nantucket Lightship in half, killed seven of her crew (TIME, May 28). To newshawks last week he said he “didn’t give a Cape Horn damn” about quitting the sea, later confessed he hated to leave it. Of the future he said: “I shall do just what my wife wants me to, as you married men know. . . . I’ve told her to buy me a bit of a bungalow near a graveyard and I shall sit me on a tombstone and read epitaphs in search of a new philosophy. . . . When I’m not reading tombstones . . . I’ll get me to the nearest pub and try to forget the sea. . . .”

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