Titanic tragedy remembered in special events


Highlights from the 100th anniversary commemorations of the Titanic disaster

The 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic is being remembered at a number of a special events, including one in the ship's birthplace Belfast.

A memorial service for the 1,500 people who died was held at the North Atlantic wreck site on cruise ship MS Balmoral, which is retracing the Titanic's route.

A minute's silence was held and wreaths were cast into the sea at the moment the Titanic sank.

And a plaque featuring the names of those who died was unveiled in Belfast.

The ship, which at the time was the largest vessel in the world, was built in the city.

The plaque, in the Titanic Memorial Garden, lists the names of those who died in alphabetical order.

At the scene

In the middle of the Atlantic a ship's whistle sounded to mark exactly 100 years since the Titanic struck an iceberg.

At that moment passengers stood in silence on the decks all around the MS Balmoral looking out into the darkness.

Hundreds of miles from land some imagined the despair they would have felt being lowered into the sea in a lifeboat. Others thought of their relatives who had drowned here a century earlier.

After the excitement of the departure and earlier days at sea, the ship seemed eerily quiet.

In the cold of the north Atlantic one person described the atmosphere as "almost ghostly".

The Balmoral had traced the route of the Titanic from Southampton to the spot where the ship sank. There it was met by another vessel that had travelled from New York, the destination Titanic never reached.

The ships sat side-by-side thousands of metres above the wreckage, allowing passengers to pay tribute at what some relatives regard as a grave site.

Thousands attended or listened to the Belfast service, which was held at the city hall.

Una Reilly, head of the local Titanic Society, said: "We are all proud of this ship. What happened was a disaster, she was not."

And a memorial service was held in Southampton, from where the ship set sail five days before its sinking.

The anniversary has been marked in a number of services across the UK.

Earlier, on the Balmoral, passengers and crew members listened in silence as the names were read out of those who died when the liner sank on its maiden voyage.

Jane Allen's great-uncle, Thomas Pears, was one of those who died.

Explaining the emotions she felt during the service, she told the BBC: "It was just so eerily quiet.

"And then you look down over the side of the ship and you realise that every man and woman who was not fortunate enough to get into a lifeboat had to make that decision of when to jump or to stay with the ship, until the lights went out.

"And when the lights went out it must have been horrendous. We witnessed that tonight."

Melinda Norris, whose relative Charles Lightoller was a surviving crew member, said: "You still get a chill just looking at that water, imagining you have to go into it.

"We've been listening to the names of the 1,500 people who died.

A child looks at a plaque in Belfast which features the names of those who died when the Titanic sank A newly unveiled plaque at the Titanic Memorial Garden in Belfast features the names of those who died on the Titanic

"It's just an unimaginable amount of suffering took place here, so it's surreal to be here."

Richard Hyman's great-grandfather was also on board Titanic and lived to tell the tale.

Mr Hyman said: "You imagine it's pitch black, freezing cold, nothing is anywhere near you other than an iceberg.

"The fear that must have been with all those people who were either stuck on the ship or in a lifeboat, not knowing whether they were going to survive or not.

"And people did freeze to death as well, even though they'd survived the disaster."

Another cruise ship, Azamara Journey, which has travelled from New York, also held a service at the site of the disaster, which occurred 400 miles (640km) off the coast of Newfoundland.

Passengers participating in a memorial service on MS Balmoral Many of those who participated in a memorial service on board MS Balmoral were related to people who died when the Titanic sank 100 years ago

The sinking is also being remembered in other parts of the globe including New York, which had been the Titanic's intended destination.

About 1,300 passengers, ranging from millionaires to poor emigrants, and about 900 crew were on board the Titanic when it sank on its maiden voyage.

The ship left Southampton on 10 April 1912. It headed to Cherbourg in France and Queenstown - now Cobh - in the Irish Republic before heading for New York.

The ship hit an iceberg at 23:40 (Ship's Time) on 14 April 1912, and sank two-and-a-half hours later.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    The Titanic tragedy isn't being "remembered", it happened 100 years a go.

    There comes a time when an event has to stop being mourned, otherwise almost every day on the calender would be dedicated to some distant tragedy. The Titanic is history now. Make a programme about it, sure, but don't fill it with petty emotion, and voxpops of people talking about relatives who died before they were born.

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    listening to BBC R2, Jeremy Vine. Humbled at how people tried to escape, and how many did just take death which I will never understand. I never knew that saved people committed suicide afterwards. Very easy to forget what a safe world we live in today...

    Those 1500 people will not be forgotten by the families left behind and the friends and neighbours.

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    Is it really the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic?

    I do wish the BBC had made more of it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    Any investment in Belfast and Northern Ireland has to be welcomed but I think 'Titanic Belfast' is taking the concept of visitor attraction a little too far.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    In the night of the 100th anniversary of the sinking my thoughts go to all the people who were on board. Those who survived and shared that memory with the world, those who saved somebody else's life, those who perished in that tragedy whose stories and dreams sank and couldn't come true.
    May your souls rest in peace...

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    What has been placed as saftey on the ships today, is mostly due to what was learnt when this ship sank and took lives of the countless with it. Titanic is a ship that will always, along with those who died in the tragedy, be remembered - both the rich and the poor.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    Hype breeds hype - the Titanic was a terrible disaster there's no doubt, but all grist to the media mill - I'm so now sick and tired of hearing about it. Still we've the feeding frenzy of the Olympics to put up with next, and of course the Jubilee - oops I did a little sick in my mouth

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    I am so Over that Movie

  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    Three of the richest people in the world opposed the Federal Reserve in the United States because they knew the repercussions of a private institution dictating the monetary trends within the country. These people were Benjamin Guggenheim, Isa Strauss, and Jacob Astor; all of which were aboard the Titanic when it sank! I wonder why?


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