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96 years on... Belfast pays a sad tribute to Titanic's dead

By Peter Hutchison

The men, women and children who lost their lives when the RMS Titanic hit an iceberg and sank were remembered yesterday.

Belfast marked the 96th anniversary of the disaster with a quiet ceremony at the City Hall.

The Lord Mayor of Belfast and ancestors of victims laid wreaths at the Titanic memorial before standing with heads bowed for a moment of silence.

Councillor Jim Rodgers stressed the importance of remembering those who died on the night of 15 April 1912.

"It is very important because more than 1,500 people sadly lost their lives and we must also remember their families.

"But it's not just today. If you talk to those who have lost loved ones it's every day of their life that they remember these people.

"It was a real tragedy and we must never forget that it was a magnificent ship built by the wonderful craftsmen of Harland & Wolff and unfortunately it hit an iceberg."

Susie Millar, whose great-grandfather was an assistant deck engineer and drowned in the accident, said: "The Titanic tragedy was eclipsed by the Battle of the Somme four years later. It was forgotten and then for many years it was seen as such a failure.

"There was a sense of shame and embarrassment amongst Belfast people but thankfully now people are happily proud about what an achievement of engineering the Titanic was and it's good to come here every year to commemorate the people who lost their lives."

She added: "It's weird, I get choked even although it was a man I didn't know. It is important for our family to come here to remember him."

A great-uncle of the Belfast Titanic Society's president, John Andrews, was one of the victims.

Thomas Andrews designed the ship and was one of nine shipyard engineers travelling on the maiden voyage.

His name is engraved on the Titanic memorial along with eight other members of the Harland & Wolff Guarantee Group and thirteen members of the crew from Belfast who died.

John Andrews said: "It must have been the most unlucky ship that ever was because it lasted a very short time, sadly, through no fault of its own."

Belfast Telegraph


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