Southampton pays tribute to Titanic victims

More than a third of the 1,517 people who died when the Titanic sank were from Southampton.

Descendants of some of those who died on the Titanic have thrown wreaths from the Southampton dock where it departed on its maiden voyage 100 years ago.

A minute's silence was observed in the city, which had been home to more than 500 of the crew who died.

Hundreds of children paraded through the streets, each holding pictures of the ship's crew.

The parade finished at the new SeaCity Museum, which was formally opened by Olympian James Cracknell.

At noon - the moment Titanic slipped its moorings from berth 43/44 - a recording of the ship's whistle sounded around the docks.

'Tasteful and moving'

Its departure was then re-enacted when the tug tender Calshot, which was built in the same era to manoeuvre the world's greatest ocean liners, sailed from the same berth followed by a flotilla.

At the scene

Across the sparkling waters of the dock, family bonds drew the generations together to remember a long shadow cast across a day of celebration.

A century ago the population of Southampton crowded the quayside to see Titanic; 500 locally recruited crew members crowded the gangways to join her maiden voyage.

Today hundreds of people remembered stories handed down the generations; grandchildren, great grandchildren… sharing memories of loss, of bravery, and of survival.

Outside Southampton's Ocean Terminal, silence fell across the busy port as the community paid tribute, and a flotilla led by the Edwardian tug Calshot followed Titanic's route from berth 44.

The silence ended by a sound which hasn't been heard since Titanic said her farewell, a recording of her whistle echoing across a city which has pledged never to forget.

Wreaths were thrown into the water as part of the commemorations.

Vanessa Beecham, from Southampton, paid tribute to her great uncle Edward Biggs, a fireman 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... but this was lovely."

Maureen Tilling, whose relative Charles Warren sailed on the ship, said: "It is very emotional, you can almost cry.

"You can quite imagine 100 years ago with the relatives on the dockside thinking we would be going [on the ship] soon."

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, which was said to have been played by the ship's musicians as Titanic sank.

Titanic set sail on its maiden voyage from the city's White Star Docks on 10 April, 1912 and sank five days later after hitting an iceberg.

Cultural centrepiece

More than 1,500 passengers and crew perished.

According to Southampton City Council, of the 897 RMS Titanic crew members, 714 were from Southampton. In total, 685 crew members lost their lives, with 538 registered to a Southampton addresses.

The city has more memorials to the disaster than anywhere else in the world.

Procession of children marking Titanic anniversary in Southampton A procession of children marched through Southampton holding pictures of Titanic's crew

The parade, organised by the council and the BBC, began at the Titanic Engineers' Memorial in East Park.

Children marched to the new SeaCity Museum which was opened by Olympic rower Cracknell.

One of those taking part was four-year-old Jack Avery, from Eastleigh, Hampshire.

His mother, Kaye, discovered that her first cousin three times removed was a trimmer on board called James Avery.

She said: "We are all very proud of James and it's lovely for the children to be involved and to find out about their heritage."

The £15m museum, which was formerly home to Southampton's law courts and police station, contains a permanent exhibition about the Titanic.

Set to form the centrepiece of Southampton's cultural quarter, the Havelock Road building has been part funded by a £4.9m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Southampton City Council has raised the remainder of the money.

Flowers being thrown into water at Southampton Titanic service Wreaths and flowers were thrown from berth 44

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