Prayers, silence mark 100 years of Titanic sinking
ABOARD MS BALMORAL CRUISE ship passengers and crew said prayers on Sunday at the spot in the North Atlantic where the Titanic sank 100 years ago with the loss of more than 1,500 lives.
Passengers lined the decks of MS Balmoral, which has been retracing the route of the doomed voyage. After a moment of silence, three floral wreaths were cast onto the waves as the ship’s whistle sounded in the dark.
Jane Allen from Devon in southwest England, whose great-uncle perished on the Titanic, said the moment had vividly reminded her of the horror of the disaster.
“All you could hear was the swell splashing against the side of the ship. You could see the white breakers stretching out to sea,” she told the BBC.
“You are in the middle of nowhere. And then you look down over the side of the ship and you realise that every man and every woman who didn’t make it into a lifeboat had to make that decision, of when to jump or stay on the ship as the lights went out.” Another cruise ship, Journey, which has travelled from New York, also held a service at the site of the disaster, 400 miles (640 kilometres) off the coast of Newfoundland.
The Titanic, the world’s largest and most luxurious ocean liner, was travelling from England to New York when it struck an iceberg at 11:40 PM on April 14, 1912. It sank less than three hours later, with the loss of all but 700 of the 2,208 passengers and crew.
A century on, events around the globe are marking a tragedy that retains its grip on the world’s imagination.
In Belfast, Northern Ireland, where the Titanic was built, a memorial monument was unveiled on Sunday at a ceremony attended by local dignitaries, relatives of the dead and explorer Robert Ballard, who discovered the wreck of the Titanic on the ocean floor in 1985.
A brass band played as the granite plinth which bears bronze plaques was uncovered beside Belfast City Hall.
Officials say it is the first Titanic memorial to list all victims alphabetically, with no distinction between passengers and crew members, or between first- and third-class travellers.
After a minute’s silence, a choir sang “Nearer My God To Thee” — the hymn Titanic’s band is reported to have played as the ship went down.
Belfast spent decades scarred by its link to the disaster, but has come to take pride in the feats of engineering and industry involved in building the Titanic.
On Saturday, thousands attended a memorial concert in Belfast featuring performances by Bryan Ferry and soul singer Joss Stone. At Saint Anne’s Cathedral in the city, a performance of composer Philip Hammond’s “The Requiem for the Lost Souls of the Titanic” was followed by a torch-lit procession to the Titanic Memorial in the grounds of city hall.
Remembrance ceremonies also were being held in the ship’s departure port of Southampton, southern England and in Halifax, Nova Scotia.