AS second officer on the liner Carpathia, Sir James Bissett helped answer the mayday distress call from Titanic after she struck the iceberg in April, 1912.

Thirty-five years later he was retiring as master of the Cunard transatlantic liner the Queen Elizabeth following a seagoing career that started when he trained under sail at the age of 14.

With him to celebrate his retirement were his nieces Mary (left) and Janet Bradshaw (right) and his wife, Lady Bissett.

One of the high points of his life at sea came in February 1943 when he was in command of a convoy of troopships totalling 225,235 tons and carrying 30,451 soldiers.