On October 29, 1916, the wireless station at Valencia, Ireland, took this message from the Dutch SS. Ryndam:
Fifty degrees 20 min. north twenty degrees 30 min. west rescued 13 of the crew of the American tug Vigilant. Three men remained aboard the tug which proceeded on her voyage.
To the operator there was nothing extraordinary in that marconigram; nothing unusual except this time it was a tug. But anything could have happened in those days of ruthless U-boat warfare. If Noah’s Ark had come sailing over the horizon, he would not have been surprised. At that time anything that could float put to sea. “Three men remained—tug proceeded on her voyage.” In peace time, that closing sentence might have intrigued him; in war time, with England being bled of ships and men and badly in need of food, his task was to strain the air for more important and vital news.