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Posts Tagged ‘Halifax Nova Scotia’

Before Carpathia even arrived in New York, The White Star Line made efforts to recover the dead from the Titanic disaster. Four ships, including the Mackay-Bennett, were chartered to retrieve the bodies left in the disaster area.

John Snow and Company Ltd, Halifax’s largest funeral directors, were hired to assist with funeral arrangements.

The MacKay-Bennett left Halifax on Wednesday, April 17 for the disaster area. Many vessels reported seeing bodies or wreckage in the Atlantic waters. The crew arrived in the area on Saturday, April 20.

These ships searched for the disaster site for six weeks. The MacKay-Bennett gathered so many bodies they were overwhelmed and quickly ran out of supplies to embalm the corpse. For this reason many third class passengers and crew members were returned to the sea. First class passengers were given priority to be preserved in packed ice and embalmed and placed in a casket. Captain Larnder justified this by saying these first class passengers were wealthy men with large estates to be settled.

Some of the bodies were so badly disconfigured that identification would be impossible. They were wrapped in a cloth and weighted down to be recommitted to the sea. Rev. K. C. Hind conducted a service for the bodies before they were returned to the sea. Each body that was preserved was given a number and the possessions on their body were bagged with the same number.

The Minia, Montmagny and Algerine assisted the MacKay-Bennett in recovering the bodies. The last body recovered was saloon steward, James McGrady. A month later the RMS Oceanic came across Collapsible lifeboat A while on a transatlantic voyage. This lifeboat had three bodies inside.

These vessels retrieved three hundred and twenty eight bodies. One hundred and nineteen of these bodies were buried at sea.

John Jacob Astor IV, the richest man aboard Titanic, was found. His remains were released to his son, Vincent.

The remaining two hundred and nine bodies were brought to the Canadian port of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Most of the victims of the Titanic disaster were never recovered, including Captain Edward J. Smith.

Fifty-nine bodies were returned to their families for burial.

One hundred and fifty bodies were not identified and returned to Halifax for burial. The city’s Mayflower Curling Rink was turned into a temporary morgue. Three different cities in Halifax were prepared to bury the victims. The burials began on May 3rd with many Halifax families turning out to pay their respects.

One hundred and twenty-one bodies were buried at Fairview Lawn Cemetery. Nineteen were buried in the Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery and ten in the Baron de Hirsch Jewish Cemetery. Headstones were erected by the White Star Line that fall with the victim’s body number {in hopes of identification} and date of death. Some families or groups did commission more elaborate gravestones. Memorials have been erected to Captain Smith, the Titanic musicians and the Titanic engineers.

Fairview Lawn Cemetery also holds the dead from the Great Halifax Disaster of 1917.

Years later when the Titanic wreckage was found pairs of shoes were found lying with the debris on the seabed.

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Three days after the Carpathia picked up the Titanic survivors, the ship docked in New York. Various groups were already working to collect funds to assist the survivors in need of help.

In the last three days the details had been sketchy at best and there was great speculation. Some reports even said that Titanic was being towed in for repairs, that all were lost and that all were saved.

Naturally The White Star Line wanted to believe the more positive reports that all were saved. Their offices were inundated with request from family members, but they did not know anymore than anyone else. They even dispatched a train to Halifax, Nova Scotia with family members of those on the Titanic. When the true situation was realized, the train turned around.

Carpathia arrived in New York on April 18, 1912 at 9:25pm, docking at Pier 34. The voyage had been difficult as she encountered fog, ice, rough seas and thunderstorms. She first stopped at the White Star Line pier and dropped off the Titanic lifeboats. She then moved to the Cunard pier where the passengers disembarked. Only after her arrival did the awful truth sink in.

Small boats greeted Carpathia in the harbor. Family members were on board longing for answers, but most of the occupants were from the press.

One source reported, “Philip Franklin, Vice President of the White Star New York office, was so shocked at the news that he could not believe it and insisted the Titanic was unsinkable. “

Southhampton, England had the greatest loss. Titanic had left this town on her maiden voyage only five days earlier. Southhampton lost five hundred forty-nine men in the disaster.

About 40,000 people stood on the docks when the Carpathia arrived. Many were heartbroken to realize their loved ones were not there to meet them and had perished in the disaster.

Eyewitnesses reported there “were many pathetic scenes” when the Titanic’s survivors disembarked.

Some survivors were taken to the hospital to treat their injuries. Others made their way to hotels or their home town. Third class passengers were now in a new city without a penny to their name, homeless and broke. The White Star Line and other charities were on hand to provide some short term relief.

Margaret Brown was one of the last passengers to disembark. She’d stayed onboard assisting those in need until everyone had safely disembarked. When she disembarked at three o’clock that morning the press was waiting and swarmed around her. Asking how she survived she replied “Typical Brown luck. I’m unsinkable.” In that moment a legend was born.

Captain Rostron and the Carpathia crew were later awarded for their rescue work. Margaret Brown presented Captain Rostron with a silver cup and gold medal. Crew members were awarded bronze medals and the officers were awarded silver medals. President Taft presented Captain Rostron with the Congressional Gold Medal. Later, King George V would knight Captain Rostron.

Words of sympathy were expressed from around the world. King George V said “ The Queen and I are horrified at the appalling disaster which has happened to the Titanic and at the terrible loss of life. We deeply sympathize with the bereaved relatives and feel for them in their great sorrow with all our hearts.” George, R. ET. I.

After completing his testimony Captain Roston and the Carpathia returned to service. Captain Roston died in 1940.

Services were held for the victims all over the world. In London, services were held on April 19 at St. Paul’s Cathedral.

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