February 22, 2014

Titanic

April, 2014
Titanic Letter Sells At Auction







Titanic.. everyone knows the story.. the great passenger liner, beauty and glory.. and her fateful maiden voyage.. I have been in love with the Titanic story since the first time I heard of her back in grade school. I was lucky enough to visit the Titanic exhibit in Las Vegas a few years ago.
I saw clothing worn by passengers, the dishes they ate off of, the beds they slept in. I was able to experience how cold the water was that April night in 1912 and see an almost endless list of names of those who perished.
It gets to me every time.. the stories.. the heroes.. the romance.. and the horror the sheer horror of all those who lost their lives.. 2200 passengers and crew set sail from south Hampton and over 1400 of those people met their end when the great ship sank. Titanic was the second in a series of ocean liners built by White Star. These liners were to be the most luxurious, fastest, and largest of their day. Titanic's construction began in 1908 resulting in over 3 years of hard labor on the backs of Irishmen. It was a symbol of status..It was the best, of everything. Along with the rich and prestigious that Titanic attracted there was also the poor and disheartened who saw Titanic as a first step in a better life in America. That hope for a better life, a new beginning for so many passengers, came to an abrupt end on April 12, 1912 in the North Atlantic ocean.
The Mackay-Bennett
The Mackay-Bennett set sail on April 17th with the morbid task of recovering Titanic's victims. Bodies that where recovered from the water they were tagged, embalmed and placed in coffins, or if too badly decayed, were placed in white bags and put back into the ocean. The bodies were were then taken back to Halifax Nova Scotia and laid out in a temporary morgue located at for families to identify them, then buried in one of three cemeteries, Fairview Cemetery, Mount Olivet Cemetery, and Baron de Hirsch Cemetery. Click here for pics of graves and bios on some of the people buried in these cemeteries.
Sidney Leslie Goodwin Circa 1911
Of all the stories of the victims one that touches me the most is that of the unknown child. A blonde haired little boy whose body was recovered by the Mackay-Bennett. The body didn't have any means of identification. The captain and the crew of the Mackay-Bennett were so touched and grief stricken by they site of the child they paid for his funeral and gravestone in Fairview Cemetery. The child was laid in a white coffin and carried out of a packed St George's Anglican Church on May 4. The fair haired child was buried in Fairview cemetery with a head stone that read "Erected to the memory of an unknown child whose remains were recovered after the disaster to Titanic, April 15, 1912."
However, in November 2002 an exhumation followed by DNA testing, the body was identified as Eino Viljami Panula, a 13 month old child who's parents were from Finland. There is an excellent series on PBS entitled Secrets of the Dead. In one of the episodes entitled Titanic's Ghosts, the story of the unknown child is told along with the process of identifying him. However, further DNA testing was done and the remains were said to be that of
Sidney Leslie Goodwin. A two year old English boy who boarded with his parents, and 5 siblings. Sidney's body was the only one that was recovered when the ship sank.
A name was finally put to the small body. For over a hundred years the body of a child laid in a cemetery in Nova Scotia with out a name to identify him and now he is finally someone, he is some one's child, some one's little boy, who can finally rest.
Sidney's story is one of many. So many perished in that cold April night, many that have families, lives, hopes and dreams. Since the release of James Cameron's film, Titanic, there has been a new appreciation and curiosity about the ship but to me the true life stories of Titanic's victims will always be much more interesting and wonderful than what TV and films can offer. It has been over two hundred years since the ship sank but her hold on the world's hearts will never fade.

Check out these sites to learn more about the Titanic:

Encyclopedia Titanica
-Anything and everything about Titanic, her passengers and crew.

Sidney Leslie Goodwin
-Wikipedia site about the little boy

Titanic and Nova Scotia
-The ship and her connection to Nova Scotia, Canada

Titanic
The History Channel's Titanic website

Titanic - Find A Grave
See pictures of the graves of Titanic's passengers

The "Unsinkable" Molly Brown
Learn more about one of Titanic's famous passengers

White Star Line
-Wikipedia site about the shipping company that built Titanic