Belfast Telegraph

Titanic victims are honoured at Belfast City Hall memorial

By David Young, PA

The loss of the Titanic has been marked during a poignant ceremony in Belfast.

On the anniversary of the maritime disaster the city where the famous White Star Line vessel was built commemorated the more than 1,500 crew and passengers who lost their lives.

The Titanic sank in the Atlantic in the early hours of April 15, 1912 after striking an iceberg on its maiden voyage.

Relatives of some of the victims gathered at the Titanic Memorial Garden in the grounds of Belfast City Hall to pay tribute.

Deputy Lord Mayor Sonia Copeland laid a wreath at the memorial centrepiece of the garden.

"The tragedy of the Titanic is very close to home for the people of Belfast," she said.

"Many of our citizens were on board when she went down and are remembered by relatives who have gathered with us to mark this occasion.

"The ship was one of our finest, built by local craftsmen and was hailed across the world for her top-class design and engineering.

"The tragedy cast a cloud on our city and it says much for our resilience that we have found a way to deal with the loss, building a memorial garden and a new Titanic Quarter of which we can all be proud."

Aidan McMichael, chairman of the Titanic Society, said: "The tranquillity of the Titanic Memorial Garden at Belfast City Hall continues to offer residents and visitors alike an opportunity to unite and consider the human tragedy associated with the loss of Titanic, not just for the relatives of those who were lost but for everyone locally.

"The Belfast Titanic Society is proud to be associated with this annual Titanic commemoration in conjunction with Belfast City Council."

Meanwhile, a menu of the first meal served on the Titanic is expected to fetch up to £100,000 at auction.

The lunch - including sweetbreads, spring lamb and pastries - was served during the liner's sea trials on April 2, 1912.

Second officer Charles Lightoller, the highest ranking surviving officer from the Titanic, owned the menu.

He gave it to his wife as a souvenir as he left from Southampton on April 10 in 1912, four days before Titanic struck the iceberg.

Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge said: "This menu is one of the most important examples of its type in existence today, it is a true blue chip item.

"It has a pre-sale estimate of between £80,000 to £100,000 because it ticks so many boxes.

"It is from the most famous ship in the world, it relates to the first meal served on it and was owned by its most senior surviving officer.

"It also has cross-collectable appeal. It will attract high-end Titanic collectors, those interested in food and fine dining and people who like iconic objects."

Titanic was due to leave Belfast for Southampton on April 1, but this was postponed for 24 hours due to bad weather.

Sea trials began at 10am on April 2, with the ship sailing all day and returning to port for some last-minute cargo.

"During this day the crew and the officers enjoyed their first meal on board the ship before she was joined by the passengers," Mr Aldridge said.

It is believed that only one other example of a menu from April 2 survives.

Mr Lightoller's menu will be auctioned on April 21.

Belfast Telegraph

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