Buried at sea


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Tina

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Jan 19, 1998
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I am new to this sight and apologize if this subject has already been covered. I was curious on the casualty lists, it states that some were buried at sea. Were some of the bodies not returned to the mainland upon recovery, or did the families have them buried later at sea? If the recovery ship personnel returned the bodies to the water, why did they do that?
 
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Daniel Rosenshine.

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Hi!

Yes this topic has been touched on, never mind. What I'll say is based on the message that has previously posted here.

The only bodies that were buried at sea were the ones that were very badly decomposed and beyond recognition and identification. When the families on land heard about this, there was an amazing outcry from the families.

Unidentifiable or not all bodies from then on were brought ashore. All bodies that were identified or features were recognisable were brought ashore.

As I said before, only the unreconisble and badly decomposed bodies were originally burried at sea.
 

Tina

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How long were they finding bodies? And wouldn't the cold temperatures have preserved them?
 

Chris Dohany

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The last known Titanic body was found on June 8 by a passing German steamer. The body, identified as steward W.F. Cheverton from his effects, was picked up but later buried at sea. Though the water was cold, it was not enough to stave off decomposition, the sun beating down upon the bodies also took it's toll.
Chris
 
Dec 12, 1999
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A subject connected to disposal of the bodies, is identifying those recovered. In particular, I have seen pictures of recovered bodies in several "Titanic" books. The same was done with the Lusitania's victims - - I expect that these Titanic disaster victims' pictures still exist somewhere, and that they could be helpful today in identifying the passengers and crew who were recovered. Certainly, some unidentified bodies were returned to Halifax because the cemeteries have unidentified Titanic victims in graves. Have any of the Titanic researchers out there managed to review the photographs, and made any effort to identify the unidentified, from these?
 
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Tracey McIntire

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Titanic International made several identifications a few years back. They have had the names of the previously unknown victims engraved on the gravestones. One of the identifications was of the famous "unknown child." In an ironic twist, his mother had been buried only a few feet from him.
 
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lynelle

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This might be stupid...but didn't they know that people who are frozen dead can be brought back since it's all their internal organs that are frozen in place? Or that if you warm the people up enough on Carpethia that thye would have a chance of surviving? Or was that not in their knowledge? I know you see and hear things of people coming back to life after being frozen, but were those in the ocean left too long to survive?
 
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Gerdi

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In TITANIC an Illustrated History it states that White Star hired ships to recover bodies, 306 were found, 116 buried at sea. Gerdi
 
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Heather Riggins

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I read that some of the bodies were "buried at sea" and kept thinking why? But after reading this thread it makes sense to me that they would since the bodies were so badly decomposed. So how exactly are the bodies "buried"? Do they attach bricks to the body or something so it would sink?

I am reading the story of the Titanic as told by its survivors now, though I have not gotten but a quarter of the way into it. I bought it on ebay for $5. I am fascinated by the story of the Titanic. I really like the books with lots of details and pictures too. Anyone have suggestions on some books to check out?

Heather
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http://www.basenjibabies.com
 

Bob Godfrey

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Hallo, Heather. The bodies were 'buried' sewn into canvas bags, along with something heavy to ensure they didn't float. I'm not sure what they used to weight the bodies buried from the Mackay-Bennett, but the Minia took a supply of iron grate bars for this purpose. One of the reasons for the burials at sea was that the numbers of bodies found had been under-estimated and the embalmers on board the M-B were soon running low on supplies of the necessary chemicals. Health regulations at Halifax dictated that unembalmed bodies could not be brought ashore.
 
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Heather Riggins

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Bob,
Thanks. That is interesting. I figured they did it only because of the decomposition of the bodies. I find it so sad that the bodies had to be "buried" this way. Doesn't seem proper I guess, but they only did what they could.

Heather
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http://www.basenjibabies.com
 

Bob Godfrey

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Certainly at the time there was a public outcry that so many of the bodies were recovered only to be returned to the waters, but some might have taken comfort from the words of Canon Hinds, who officiated at the burials: "The prayers from the burial service were said, the hymn 'Jesus, Lover of My Soul' sung and the blessing given. Any one attending a burial at sea will most surely lose the common impression of the awfulness of a grave in the mighty deep. The wild Atlantic may rage and toss, the shipwrecked mariners cry for mercy, but far below in the calm untroubled depth they rest in peace."
 

Dave Gittins

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Some, including Canon Hinds and Captain Larnder, thought burial at sea appropriate, especially for the crew. Captain Larnder said, "The man who lives by the sea ought to be satisfied to be buried at sea. I think it is the best place. For my own part I should be contented to be committed to the deep." Canon Hinds supported his comment.

To this day, former members of the USN retain the right to burial at sea. They feel it is fitting that they join their old shipmates.
 

Bob Godfrey

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And some who survived the Titanic had that same preference, if the scattering of ashes can be equated with burial. 4th Officer Boxhall and 3rd Class passenger Frank Goldsmith come to mind.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>To this day, former members of the USN retain the right to burial at sea.<<

Add to that "From the decks of a U.S Navy Warship with full military honours."

>>They feel it is fitting that they join their old shipmates.<<

Which is why I've considered it for myself. That and leaving me to rest in the deep will free up valuable real estate elsewhere. I'm not much for cemeteries, but that's just me.
 

Inger Sheil

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Feb 9, 1999
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I'd prefer burial at sea - and if that's not possible, I'd like to have my ashes scattered at sea.

It is a very personal choice, though - I recently spoke to a lady whose grandfather, an officer, was lost when his ship went down a long, long time ago off the Australian coast. It has yet to be located, and she and her family still cherish the hope that it will be found and his remains may be identified and recovered, to be interred with his wife and other family members.

I'm very sympathetic to Larnder and the position he was in, and fully understand his limited options, but it is a pity that some families didn't have a chance to nominate what they wanted done with the remains of their loved ones, even if they were initially recovered.

One of the most moving inscriptions used on many MN and RN insciptions, for example for the Tower Hill memorial and the Mendi Memorial, is the one that notes simply that they have 'no grave but the sea'.

There are no roses on sailors graves,
Nor wreaths upon the storm tossed waves,
No last post from the Royals band,
So far away from their native land.
 

Deb Large

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Is there anywhere where names of the bodies buried at sea are documented? My great great grandfather's brother went down and I'm trying to find out as much as possible about him. He was Willam Farr Penny although he is listed on this sight as William C Penny. He was a 2nd class Steward and it is presumed he went down never to be found. It would be lovely if I could find out more about him.
 

Deb Large

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Forgot to say I've had replies about him from very helpful people on this sight but I was wondering if his body was ever found and then buried at sea

thanks
 
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Deb - Sorry but sad to say his body was never recovered.
I have just added the following to his Biography - I think I sent it to you before but now its on the List:

Penny, William Farr. Lived at 29 Lodge Road, Portswood, Southampton. Occupation - Assistant Steward. 30 years old. (Born in London).

(From the Minute Book of the White Star Company)
The White Star Company had a Committee meeting on 23rd July 1912 at 10 Winter Street, Liverpool at 11.55am. Present Mr. J. Bruce Ismay (in the chair) and others.
During the meeting it was announced that the following cases were reported together with amounts paid into Court:
W. F. Penny - 2nd Class Steward - Wages £3 15 0d - Dependants - Widow and child - £300.

(From: Mansion House Titanic Relief Fund Booklet, March 1913)
Number 543. Penny, Phyllis, widow. Penny, Lionel William, child. Both class D dependants.

(From the Titanic Relief Fund Minute Book number 2, Southampton Area)
Date 23rd April 1914.
Case number C543. That the sum of 2/6d per week for a period of three months be paid to Mrs Penny (partially dependent widow) in order that she may obtain special nourishment for her child who is recovering from Whooping Cough and Bronchitis.

(From The Folkestone, Hythe, Sandgate, and Cheriton Herald, 25th April, 1912, page 11).
We regret to hear that Mr. William Penny, eldest son of Mrs. A. Penny, of 4, Waverley Villas, Cheriton Road, was among the victims in the catastrophe to the Titanic.
Mr. Penny had been a medical steward in the service of the White Star Line for some six years, and was on the Titanic on its first and last trip from Southampton where he resided. He leaves a widow and one child.
Sincere sympathy will be felt with the bereaved ones in their heavy loss.
At almost every church in Folkestone and the district on Sunday last there were allusions to the disaster from the pulpit, and special hymns and other music were rendered.

In 1999 an In Memorimum card turned up in the States; it reads:
"In Loving and Affectionate Remembrance of
William Farr, the loved and beloved husband of Phyllis Maud Penny, who was lost at sea through the foundering
of the S.S Titanic, on April 15, 1912.
He was married to Phyllis Maud Harrison in December 1909 in Southampton. Born December 1880 Islington, London, England per BMD Civil registration indexes
 

Bob Godfrey

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Deb, keep in mind that about 100 of the bodies recovered and buried either at sea or in Halifax remain unidentified. Most of these were adult males, and many were crew members including stewards. So it's quite possible that William Penny's body was recovered and received a decent burial as that of an unidentified victim.
 
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