At Titanic’s birthplace in Belfast, members of the Belfast Titanic Society gathered at the Titanic Memorial at City Hall to remember those from the city and surrounding area who were lost in Titanic’s sinking. This simple ceremony has been undertaken for the past fifteen years.
This year, descendants from eight families with Titanic connections were there to pay tribute to their relatives.
The following family members represented their relatives who were lost on Titanic:
- John Andrews for his great uncle, Thomas Andrews Junior, Chief Naval Architect of Titanic and managing director of Harland and Wolff’s design department.
- Ian Frost for his grandfather Artie Frost, a member of the Guarantee Group sent by Harland and Wolff
- Alister McReynolds for his ancestor, William McReynolds, a senior engineer with White Star
- Susie Millar for her great grandfather, Thomas Millar, assistant deck engineer aged 33.
- Janet Catherwood for her ancestor, Henry Creese, a deck engineer
- Marjorie Wilson for her grandfather, William McQuillan, a fireman with White Star who is buried in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
- Family members of Richard Turley, a member of the engine room crew, also came to the ceremony for the first time.
- Also present was Gladys McClelland, whose uncle, David Wilson was a senior representative of Harland and Wolff who was called away from the ship at Cherbourg.
Wreaths were laid on behalf of the Belfast Titanic Society and for the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Pat Convery. The Turley family also laid flowers and some anonymous bouquets had also been placed at the foot of the memorial earlier in the day.
Many passers-by and visitors to Belfast stopped in the spring sunshine at the memorial to see what was going on and to join in the short service. This is the first time for three years that the commemoration ceremony has been held without the presence of the Belfast Wheel which was placed just next to the Titanic memorial. It was relocated last spring.
Reverend Ian Gilpin from Comber Non Subscribing Presbyterian Church led the participants in prayer for the memory of those Northern Ireland men lost 99 years ago. Their names were also read aloud in alphabetical order rather than by order of rank in which they appear on the memorial itself.
This year’s ceremony was deliberately kept low-key, mindful of the 100th anniversary of Titanic’s launch at the end of May and of the centenary of Titanic’s sinking which will be marked next year.