RESPLENDENT in his uniform, a young man poses for the camera.

However, he is no ordinary seaman. Had his warning been heeded, the most infamous maritime disaster of all time could have been averted.

The figure is Stanley H Adames who sent an urgent message to the Titanic about pack ice.

Ironically, he nearly perished at sea months later when his ship was battered by a ferocious storm that wreaked havoc with other shipping.

Adames had enjoyed an eventful career, serving with the Cunard, White Star and Canadian Pacific lines after joining the merchant navy at 16 as a wireless operator.

It was in that capacity that in 1912 he was working on the SS Mesaba which had encountered dangerous pack ice in the North Atlantic. Having cleared the danger, he transmitted to the Titanic, ploughing her way through the ocean 90 miles behind, of the menace.

Alas, all in vain.

The liner on her maiden trans-Atlantic voyage sank with the loss of more than 1,500 lives after crashing into an iceberg.

"I did not get any of the Titanic's calls for help," the teenager told the Echo after learning of the tragedy. "Probably because we were out of range then and we knew nothing of the catastrophe until we began to pick up messages asking for news."

Adames, now 19, soon switched to the SS Beacon Grange which was caught up in a terrifying hurricane that struck on - of all days - December 25 on route from London to Argentina with a cargo of cement, iron and fowls, 50 of which were to be lost.

Miraculously, unlike less fortunate craft, the crew were able to tell their tales after she had limped back to Southampton, listing heavily to port and leaking badly, for emergency repairs.

They related how the bosun, who suffered a shattered collar bone that necessitated surgery, was nearly swept overboard, all moveable gear was lost to the deep and every starboard lifeboat was smashed to smithereens.

Mountainous waves continually poured onto the deck and pounded cabins into matchwood. Mahogany doors were stove in and the inside of cabins wrecked.

One monster wave, said to be some 70 feet high, ran towards the ship, which climbed part of the way up when the top of the wave broke aboard and crushed a huge steel bulkhead as though it was cardboard.

Holds were flooded and steel davits, eight inches thick, were mercilessly snapped off, and steel rails twisted into grotesque shapes.

As the storm raged for 24 hours, the steering gear collapsed and the vessel twice strung round, completely out of control.

The Beacon Grange had been on her way to assist another ship in trouble when the storm broke, rendering Adames's role redundant as the waves carried away part of the wireless gear.

With other crewmen, they made repeated attempts to rectify the damage but in the maelstrom they proved futile.

Second officer O'Brien told the Echo: "At the height of the storm, the firemen were up to their waists in water and with difficulty the fires were kept burning. The water reached the lower fires and the engineers room was knee deep in water. The pumps were kept going but they continually became choked with coal and cinders.

"The watertight doors had been closed before this owing to the water coming down from the bunkers. Probably this precaution saved us from foundering.

"The crew, 49 in number, worked like galley slaves at the pumps and bailing the ships in which Mr Adames, when he could be of no further assistance in his own department, loyally lent a hand."