Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Titanic descendants mark tragedy

People in Southampton carry placards of all those local residents who served as crew members on the RMS Titanic
Descendants of victims of the Titanic disaster cast roses into the dock in Southampton from where the ill-fated liner sailed 100 years ago
A memorial wreath to the victims of the Titanic disaster floats in the dock in Southampton

Descendants of those who perished on the Titanic have thrown flowers on the dockside where it left port on the 100th anniversary of the doomed liner setting sail.

The tribute was the last act in a special ceremony held at berth 44 at Southampton docks from where the White Star ship departed on April 10 1912.

During the ceremony, a minute's silence was held for more than 1,500 passengers and crew who died when the ship sank after hitting an iceberg on its maiden voyage to New York.

A recording of the Titanic's whistle was also played across the docks at noon - the exact moment the liner left its mooring - and around 650 relations of the dead paid tribute.

Southampton bore the brunt of the death toll with 549 - more than a third of the total - from the city dying in the disaster on April 15 1912.

Civic dignitaries also paid their respects in the ceremony hosted by television personality Fred Dinenage, whose great uncle James Richard Dinenage - a first class steward - died on the Titanic aged 47. The service ended with the hymn Nearer My God To Thee, said to have been played by the ship's musicians as it sank.

Vanessa Beecham, from Southampton, paid tribute to her great uncle Edward Biggs, a fireman aboard who died aged 21. "I enjoyed the ceremony which was tasteful and moving," she said. "It was a worry during the anniversary that the families would be forgotten in all the razzmatazz like the cruise that left a few days ago, but this was lovely."

Meanwhile, a cruise ship which is retracing the route of the ill-fated liner RMS Titanic made a short detour after a BBC cameraman fell ill and was airlifted off.

The MS Balmoral left Southampton on Sunday for a 12-night cruise to commemorate the centenary of the sinking. The same number of 1,309 passengers - not including crew - are aboard the MS Balmoral as on the ill-fated ship with around 50 having a direct family connection to the sinking.

Earlier on Tuesday, BBC cameraman Tim Rex, 56, fell "seriously ill" and on doctor's advice, the ship, which is off the Irish coast, was turned around so he could be airlifted off by helicopter at about 7pm. The ship continued on its journey and is expected to arrive at the wreck site in time for a memorial service.

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