Burials in the sea

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Hey, guys...was just fantasizing about the drama of the moment. Wasn't really thinking about survivor emotions, logistics, possibilities or anything else. Was just thinking of the sight, as a Titanic enthusiast, of having the two ships side by side in a situation like that.

That's all.
 
Getting back to David Livshin. In Archibald Gracie's "Truth About the Titanic," he discusses the dead man on Collapsible B. He says he rubbed the man's temples and wrists, then, on turning his head, realized he was dead. He described the man as dark-haired (my great-uncle had dark hair) and says he was dressed "like a member of the crew" and - what a moving detail - that he wore grey woolen socks. If this man Gracie describes and my mom's Uncle David were the same person, which seems likely ...
Gracie's description is so sad and touching.

Of course my uncle was not a crew member, and I have no idea what he might have been wearing, besides a life preserver. Can anyone account for Gracie's comment that the dead man in Collapsible B was dressed like a crew member? I'm assuming he would have been referring to a fireman or worker of that sort. How might such a crew member have been dressed?
 
>>How might such a crew member have been dressed?<<

It would depend on where they were working. A member of the Victualling Department would have been wearing a fairly sharp looking uniform if they held a job in the public eye such as a steward. A member of the Deck Department or Engineering would have been in whatever sort of rough but tough and ready garb that was typical of anybody in a blue collar job.
 
I was cleaning out my e-mail inbox when I came across this old conversation. Needless to say, it sparked a flare of curiosity concerning the burials at sea. I read through all the posts above, but I didn't find the information I was looking for (which I didn't necessarily expect because it is a hypothetical situation).

I am wondering whether or not it was possible to choose how to bury a loved one, should they have been brought aboard the Carpathia.
 
There was no choice other than burial at sea, Ben. The US and Canadian health regulations would have prohibited the importation of bodies unless embalmed, and the Carpathia had no provision for that.
 
Unfortunately, this problem wasn't just confined to the Carpathia either. Very few ships of that time, even the really big liners, had any proper mortuary facilities so if somebody passed away, if the dearly departed couldn't be kept on ice, then the body would have to be disposed of very quickly.

For obvious reasons, it wasn't practical to keep somebody in the same reefers/freezers with the victuals, and likely would have been illegal as well. That ships rarely had mortuary facilities was a situation which persisted well beyond 1912.
 
I thought as much, but I wasn't entirely sure. I was wondering what would happen to one of my characters should they not survive the sinking. A question, then, if you can spare the time. What was the procedure for a burial at sea? How did the families of the deceased pay respects to their dead?
 
>>What was the procedure for a burial at sea?<<

As I understand it, the body was sewn into a canvas sack with a weight inside to make sure that it sinks. The committal would be done according to whatever religious rituals went along with the deal. This service would be officiated by the Captain or if one was available, a clergyman.

A note would be made of this in the ship's log as well. I'm sure there would be some other paperwork invloved but exactly what form it would take is not something I can answer.

>>How did the families of the deceased pay respects to their dead?<<

If they weren't around, about the only thing they could do would be to arrange for a memorial service at whatever house of worship was in use by their particular faith/cult/denomination. If they were aboard, then they would do so in accordance with the practices of their faith.
 
On a British ship, it is likely - indeed almost certain - that a burial at sea circa 1912 would have been conducted according to the standard form of service as set out in the Book of Common Prayer. This would certainly have been the case in the Navy, and a large steamship company such as Cunard would probably have conducted a burial service in exactly the same way.
 
I agree. The Anglican/Episcopalian burial service would have been used. An Episcopalian clergyman was on board. The service at sea is the same as the service on land, except that the following is said just before the body is dropped into the sea.

"Forasmuch as it hath pleased Almighty God to take up to Himself the soul of our dear brother departed, we, therefore, commit his body to the deep to be turned to corruption, looking for the resurrection of the body (when the sea shall give up her dead) and the life of the world to come, through Jesus Christ Our Lord, who shall change our vile body, that it may be like unto His glorious body, according to the mighty working whereby He is able to subdue all things to Himself."
 
On a footnote, would it be worth pointing out that burial at sea is not something from the remote and distant past - British sailors killed during the Falklands War were committed to the deep in the traditional way.
 
Another question, if anyone can spare the time.

I looked up "burial at sea" on the internet. I found some interesting practices with burial at sea. It made me wonder: how were things done on the Carpathia? I am aware now that religious customs were preserved (thanks to Michael Standart), but I would like to know how the procedure went whilst on the rescue ship. Is there anyone who might know, or does anyone know where I might find it? Thanks in advance.
 
Can't say I've ever come across any detailed account of the burials. Rostron testified that one of his passengers, the Episcopalian Minister, agreed to conduct first a short service of thanksgiving for the survivors and then a brief burial service for the dead, which took place at 4pm. Rostron quite rightly gave priority to the needs of the living and remained on his Bridge, stopping the ship for no longer than was necessary before heading back to New York. I think it likely that the burials were conducted as far as possible out of the public view - maybe from a gangway door as close as possible to the waterline.
 
>>Can't say I've ever come across any detailed account of the burials.<<

Nor have I. The impression I had from Rostron's (Dimly remembered) testimony was that it was kept a low key affair to avoid causing any upset. All things considered, that much was understandable.

I would expect that while the minister was taking care of the service itself, there would have been some paperwork beyond the obvious log entries which would have to be tended to. Can anybody offer some insights into that?
 
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