In general shipwreck’s fascinate me and one of the biggest disasters at sea is the Titanic. April 15th, 1912 the White Star Line ship struck an iceberg on her maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York City, USA. She carried only enough lifeboats for only a third of her passengers.

She carried 1,136 passengers and around 900 crew. Of 2,200 people 1,517 lost their lives. 710 survivors were brought aboard by th RMS Carpathia only a few hours after she sank. It was a disaster met with shock, outrage and a legacy for the modern world of conspiracies, alon with adventures to locate her. The fateful night itself is well documented and adapted. I’d like to write about a bit that was interesting to me.

White Star Line chartered the cable ship CS Mackay-Bennett and three other Canadian ships set off to recover the bodies. Each left with embalming supplies, undertakers and clergy. 333 victims were recovered, 328 were retrieved by the Canadian Ships and five more by passing North Atlantic steamships. In Mid-May 1912 RMS Oceanic recovered 3 bodies over 200 miles from the sinking site, they were from Collapsible A. Originally a female from the Collapsible A was recovered but the Oceanic then found the 3 bodies that had not been retrieved , they were formally buried at sea.

Again the first class passengers fared better than the others. When it was established the embalming supplies could not cover all the recovered victims, they decided to embalm the first class passengers. The port authorities would only accept the embalmed so the rest were buried at sea whilst the first class were embalmed for the purposes of identification due to large estates.

Around two-thirds of the bodies were identified, the unidentified were buried with numbers according to the order in which they were found.; The majority of the recovered 150 were buried in three Halifax cemeteries. Fairview Lawn Cemetery is non-denominational. Mount Olivert is Roman Catholic and Baron de Hirsch is Jewish.

59 of the bodies were identified by family members who had them transported to either the USA or to Britain. One body affected the crew of Mackey-Bennett who paid for the service and gravestone. Recent DNA testing has proven him to be 19 month-old Sidney Leslie Goodwin, an English child who lost his entire family. Sidney was buried 4th May 1912 with a copper pendant placed in his coffin by he sailors, it reads “Our Babe”. The bodies of his mother, father and five elder siblings were not recovered.

Theirs is but on tragedy among many and I hope that as the anniversary comes closer people remember them not for the Blockbuster films or best-seller novels but for a history that enriched other lives, forced better safety regulations and for the bravery of the people involved.

Click here for another wonderful related article from the comments, but I didn’t want anyone to miss it on passing.

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Comments
  1. Neil says:

    There was some recent good news regarding the history of the Titanic event, when a letter written by a crew member only days before he died on the Titanic was returned to Belfast (his home town), thanks to a mystery buyer. Here is the full story
    http://www.liverpooldailypost.co.uk/liverpool-news/uk-world-news/2012/03/13/titanic-letter-returns-home-to-belfast-thanks-to-mystery-buyer-100252-30520572/

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