Wreaths laid at Titanic commemoration

Wreaths were laid in Belfast today in memory of the hundreds who died in the infamous sinking of the Titanic.

The 97th anniversary of the tragedy that claimed 1,500 lives was marked at Belfast City Hall.

The High Sheriff, Councillor Frank McCoubrey, led the simple ceremony to remember all those who perished, and especially those from Belfast, where the vessel was built before its tragic sinking on April 15, 1912.

Mr McCoubrey was joined by members of the Belfast Titanic Society to lay wreaths at the Titanic Memorial in the City Hall grounds.

Following the wreath-laying, a minute’s silence was observed.

The City Council said: “When Titanic left Belfast, on board were nine men from the Harland and Wolff Guarantee Group, led by the ship’s designer, Thomas Andrews.

“They were some of the shipyard’s finest engineers, travelling to address any problems which may have arisen on the ship’s maiden voyage to New York.

“Unfortunately, all nine men – along with some 1,500 other souls – lost their lives on the night of 15 April 1906.”

In addition to Thomas Andrews, the Guarantee Group was made up of William Campbell, an apprentice joiner, Roderick Chisholm, the chief draughtsman at Harland and Wolff shipyard.

Also in the group was apprentice fitter Alfred Cunningham, foreman fitter Artie Frost, leading hand fitter Robert Knight, apprentice Frank Parkes, assistant manager of Harland and Wolff’s electrical department William Parr and Ennis Watson, an apprentice electrician.

In addition to the Guarantee Group, the memorial contains the names of 13 other Belfast men – all of them members of Titanic’s crew – who went down with the ship: Joseph Beattie, Hugh Calderwood, Henry Creese, Albert Ervine, Hugh Fitzpatrick, Herbert Harvey, Matthew Leonard, William McQuillan, William McReynolds, Thomas Millar, Archibald Scott, John Simpson, and Richard Turley.

The memorial – depicting the female figure of Thane looking down on two sea-nymphs rising from the waves with the body of a drowned seaman in their arms - was first unveiled in June 1920, having been paid for by public subscription.

Originally located in Donegall Square North in the city, it was moved to its present location, on the eastern side of the City Hall grounds, in March 1960.


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