Memorial honours Titanic victims
A minute's silence has been held as a memorial was opened in Belfast marking the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic.
A great, great nephew of the ship's doctor helped unveil bronze plaques listing more than 1,500 passengers, crew and musicians who died when the liner struck an iceberg and sank in the North Atlantic on April 15 1912.
The boat was built in a Belfast shipyard and relatives of workmen who made and crewed the vessel were present for the ceremony.
Jack Martin, a 12-year-old descendant of Dr John Simpson, also laid a wreath and said: "I am proud that I am keeping the memory of my ancestor alive and it keeps memories fresh."
A letter penned on board the Titanic by the Belfast doctor to his mother is to be brought back to Belfast for exhibition. The letter, from assistant ship surgeon Dr John Edward Simpson, was written on notepaper headed RMS Titanic and brought ashore at Cobh, County Cork. From there it was posted to his mother, Elizabeth, who lived in south Belfast.
Dr Simpson was married and had one son when he took the commission on Titanic. He had previously worked on another White Star Line ship - the Olympic.
Jack's father, John Martin, said it meant a lot to him that the note was to be on display in Belfast.
"It is the last tangible object that we have from John Simpson, everything else that he had was lost," he said.
The service, held beside the city hall, took less than an hour and featured solo pieces by singer Brian Kennedy and reflections from actor Dan Gordon and minister the Rev Ian Gilpin.
Later, the passengers of a cruise ship retracing the route of the ill-fated liner held a memorial service when it reached the spot where the ship sank on its maiden voyage a century ago. About 50 of the 1,309 passengers on board MS Balmoral have a direct family connection to the sinking.