Bodies in the sea: Halifax recalls Titanic sinking

Mon Apr 9, 2012 12:51pm EDT
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By Richard Woodbury

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (Reuters) - Canadian sailors spotted the tiny body floating among icebergs six days after the Titanic sank.

The 19-month-old boy was wearing four layers of clothing and a pair of leather shoes - a futile shield against the icy waters but the best a parent could do as the liner foundered.

The Unknown Child, as the infant became known, now lies in a graveyard with many other Titanic victims in the Atlantic Canadian port city of Halifax, which had to deal with the ghastly aftermath of a calamity that killed about 1,500 people.

After the disaster most eyes were on New York, where the 700 or so survivors landed and told their stories.

Yet it was Halifax that sent out ships to pick up the bodies, turned an ice rink into a morgue and interred the dead in three cemeteries.

"They built it in Belfast, sank it in the Atlantic and we buried it. In that sense, one very final part of the Titanic story is right here in Halifax," said local author Alan Ruffman.

The story of the Titanic still resonates in Halifax, which has many visible reminders of what was the worst peacetime maritime disaster ever: 150 graves, more than 20 sites linked to the recovery effort and dozens of artifacts.

A century after the liner hit an iceberg and sank on April 15, 1912, the city of 300,000 is holding a series of concerts, readings and other events to mark the occasion.   Continued...

Titanic dead are prepared for burial on the deck of the MacKay-Bennett off the Canadian coast in 1912. REUTERS/Courtesy of Dalhousie University Archives and Special Collections, Halifax, N.S. Thomas Head Raddall Fonds/Handout