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For sale: Cross made from wood floating on sea after Titanic sank

Samuel Smith made the cross with oak taken from Titanic flotsam
Samuel Smith made the cross with oak taken from Titanic flotsam
Samuel Smith made the cross with oak taken from Titanic flotsam

By Claire Hayhurst

A wooden cross made from oak taken from the Titanic has been revealed publicly for the first time.

The piece was made by Samuel Smith, who was on board the SS Minia when she took part in the mission to recover the bodies of those who perished.

Crew from the Minia picked up debris from the sinking as they retrieved the bodies, which were either buried at sea or taken to Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Mr Smith made the cross from some of that wreck wood in honour of the more than 1,500 passengers and crew who died when the Harland & Wolff-built Titanic struck an iceberg in the early hours of April 15, 1912.

It has remained in his family ever since but will now go up for auction on October 19 at Henry Aldridge and Son in Devizes, Wiltshire, where it is expected to fetch up to £18,000.

Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge said: "The cross made from wreck wood from Titanic is without doubt one of the most powerful and emotive pieces of memorabilia of its type I have ever auctioned.

"The provenance is fantastic, we literally know the timeline of where this has been since the Titanic sank on April 15, 1912.

"It was created by Samuel Smith, who was a joiner on the Minia, one of the ships that was given the unenviable task of collecting the bodies of those lost in the disaster and either burying them at sea or returning them to Halifax, Nova Scotia.

"In the course of this the crew picked up flotsam and jetsam, and this cross was made from some of that wreck wood by Mr Smith as a mark of respect to those lost."

The cross, accompanied by a signed letter of provenance, is part of an archive relating to the recovery of Titanic victims which is expected to fetch £40,000 collectively at auction.

It is being sold through a direct descendant of Mr Smith.

Mr Aldridge described the archive as "one of the most complete collections of material owned and collected by a Minia crewman".

Also included in the collection are photographs, documents and Mr Smith's woodworking tools, as well as a certificate of discharge documenting his marine career.

Photographs show the deck crew that worked on board the Minia during the body recovery mission.

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