Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Titanic victim sent last message in bottle

The Titanic sank off Newfoundland on her maiden voyage to the United States after striking an iceberg

Jeremiah Burke didn't have time to write a lengthy farewell.

In the early hours of April 15, 1912, as the Titanic sank into the North Atlantic, a 19-year-old from Glanmire, in Cork, put his short note into a holy water bottle given to him a few days earlier by his mother at the quayside in Cobh and threw it overboard.

"From Titanic, goodbye all, Burke of Glanmire, Cork," it simply said.

The teenager drowned along with 1,517 others.

But the bottle -- which his mother had given to him as he set off for the US -- somehow made its way back to shore, landing only a few miles from his family home in Cork one year later.

The letter it contained has been kept in the Burke family for almost a century.

But now one of Jeremiah's nieces, Mary Woods, has decided to donate it to the Cobh Heritage Centre.

"It was found with one of Jeremiah's bootlaces still tied to the bottle," Ms Woods, a councillor from Midleton, said.

"Jeremiah's mother was at a removal several days later when a person came up to her and said 'I'm sorry for your loss'. It was only then that she found out what had happened.

"She died of a broken heart within the year."

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