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Titanic grave site
Posted by: HoboSylvain | 2013-06-24 18:52:40 | Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Keywords: Cemetery, Memorial, Titanic
We all know the story and the fate of the famous Titanic, thanks to fellow Canadians James Cameron who made the extraordinary movie and CÚline Dion who sang the theme song. But not many of us know what role Halifax has played in the hours after the tragedy.

Titanic left Southampton (UK) with over 2 200 people onboard (passengers and crew alike) on April 10, 1912. Four days later, at a time close to midnight, she encountered the fatal iceberg. Although the accident took place very late on the 14th, she officially sank past 2 AM. That's why all tombstones are inscribed with the date of the April 15, since most died of hypothermia in the ice-cold water of the Northern Atlantic that night.

Out of the 2 200 people, 700 survivors were brought to New York City by the Carpentia. Having offices in Halifax, the Cunard company dispatched four Canadian boats to the area of the accident to recover bodies. They found 328, which were brought back to Halifax. Cunard didn't pay for the bodies to be returned to their home country... all the expenses were at the charge of the families. Many families couldn't gather the required money to bring the body of their loved ones homes... so they were buried here in Halifax. Cunard paid only for a basic tombstone, if the family wanted more, they had to pay themselves.

Those who were believed to be protestant were buried in what's now know as the Fairview Lawn Cemetery in the Northern part of the city. Some bodies were never identified, including the one of a child. Most of the people buried here however have names, based on body marks or personal belongings.

The tombstones were positioned to replicate the bow of a ship, with the exterior rows curving to meet at the end. On the engravings, in addition to the date and the name (if known), you'll see a number representing the order in which the body was recovered from sea.

One interesting note... you'll mostly see men buried here. Why? First, because they represented about 75% of the people on board... and during the evacuation, the crew did give priority to women and children.

The site is simple and lets you reflect on the horrible accident... all those lives lost because of human vanity and the chase for honours. You think about all those families who died on that night, scared and cold in total darkness. But you also have to think about the heroes: those musicians who played up to the very last moment, those crew members who gave away their floatation jackets to passengers and countless other similar stories. When human pride caused a disaster, heroism saved the day for a few of them.


left this comment on 2013-06-24 20:34:52

Very interesting notes....I never knew that

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