Memorial plaques left on the wreck


Status
Not open for further replies.
Mar 3, 1998
2,745
261
358
I am establishing this thread to keep a running count (for my own useage, if nothing else) of memorial plaques left on the wreck.

Just to start things off, I'm going to focus on the bridge area. By virtue of its accessibility and visibility, the disintegrated bridge seems to be the favoured place to deposit a memorial.

As of 2004, the following could be found on the bridge:

- Some plastic flowers and a 50-star US flag
- A glass vial containing some of Mel Fisher's ashes (wreck salvager and treasure hunter) who died in 1998
- 5 bronze (?) plaques, specifically:
-- A memorial to all lost by the city of Queenstown.
-- A memorial to all lost by the British Titanic Society
-- A memorial to the postal workers lost by the postal workers' union
-- A memorial to all lost by Charlie Sachs's Oceanic Navigation Research Society, Inc.
-- A plaque in memory of Frank Busby (deep-water research vessel developer) who died in 1990

In 2005, an additional 4 plaques were placed on the bridge, bring the plaque total to 9. I haven't yet checked the dive footage to read what is written on the newer plaques, but I know that one was placed to commemorate the dive of G. Michael Harris's son, the youngest person to date to dive to the wreck. I'll update this thread to fill in the blanks.

I may also include the plaques left on other parts of the wreck, like the now-disappeared plaque that Ballard originally left on the stern in 1986, in memory of all lost and dedicated to former THS President Bill Tantum.

How many plaques will be added to the collection between now and the disaster centennial in 2012? How many memorials can the bridge area accommodate? Time will tell.

Parks
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Jul 12, 2005
494
9
183
Parks, do you have Ballard's Explorer Club plaque left on one of the capstans on the bow, and the duplicate William H. Tantum IV/lost passenger plaque left on the ocean bottom? Robert H. Gibbons
 
Jan 7, 2002
2,446
39
243
I don't mind plaques being left at the site- I can understand it- its akin to leaving a stone or flower at a memorial or gravesite- but perhaps there should be a designated 'plaque area'- where such things could be left behind, without marring the appearance of the wreck.

Since the stern section is alread battered, perhaps placing plaques there rather than on the bow would be preferable....
Or perhaps plaques should be placed next to the ship, or down a cargo hatch?
Putting them on the bridge is becoming an eyesore, and I am wondering what reaction will occour when the metal of the deck reacts to the metal of the plaques.....
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Mar 3, 1998
2,745
261
358
Robert,

I do know about those plaques and can include them in my count, but for the moment, I am mostly interested in the collection on the bridge because of the potential for that area to become over-saturated.

Jason,

The Canadian plaque does not show in the 2004 NOAA imagery. I will soon be checking the 2005 Lone Wolf imagery and will look for it there. If that plaque has indeed gone missing, then we have a new mystery on our hands.

Parks
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Mar 3, 1998
2,745
261
358
Tarn,

I appreciate Ballard placing his replacement plaque on the ocean floor beside the wreck (I do not, however, support his re-location of other items). I think that having a display area on a clear patch of ocean floor next to the bow would be an ideal and fitting place for memorials.

I wouldn't put anything on the stern. Despite its battered appearance, there is still much to learn from the stern area. Besides, there is evidence of significant physical settling of the stern structure, so a plaque's location anywhere on that fragment of the wreck may prove not to be permanent. The bow structure is much more stable...there will always be the chance of losing one's plaque on the stern, as Ballard experienced.

Parks
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Jason D. Tiller

Moderator
Member
Aug 20, 2000
8,239
29
398
Niagara Falls, Ontario
Hi Parks,

Perhaps the plaque disappeared from the bridge soon after the photo was taken. I would be very interested in hearing if it does show up in the Lone Wolf imagery though. But as you said, if it's nowhere to be seen, then it is a real mystery.
 
May 27, 2007
3,917
23
173
Parks >>I think that having a display area on a clear patch of ocean floor next to the bow would be an ideal and fitting place for memorials.<<

I'll second that. Sound like a good plan to me Parks.
happy.gif
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Jan 7, 2002
2,446
39
243
If such a memorial spot is designated next to the bow- there remains the controversial question - Future plaques could be left at a new 'memorial spot-but should the plaques currently on the bridge be relocated off the wreck , or should they be left where the are?
If they should be moved, should that include all the plaques, including the Ballard plaques?
 

John Clifford

Member
Mar 30, 1997
1,693
26
323
58
An interesting point, IMO, is that one Titanic historian stated that when he dived on the wreck a few years ago, the expedition leader said he wanted to be sure and steer carefully, so as not to disturb all the plaques.

The historian's feeling was that he would have liked to have swept away all the plaques, due to the clutter they created.

In the future, if the floor structure gives way, then it will be anyone's guess as to whether attempts are made to retrieve any of those plaques.
 
Jul 9, 2000
58,665
880
563
Easley South Carolina
>>In 2005, an additional 4 plaques were placed on the bridge, bring the plaque total to 9.<<

Any more and you won't have to worry about the rusticles eating the hull for lunch. The sheer mass of all the brass will be more then enough to cave her in.

I don't have any real dog in this hunt but I have to wonder what the real point to all these memorials is. It's not as if people will be making the 12,500 foot dive by the millions to see it.
 
Jan 7, 2002
2,446
39
243
I think plaques that bear mention of the names of people or groups still living are placed for vanity's sake, such as the 'Kilroy was here' calling cards often left on Mt Everest by climbers, in one form or another-

In contrast, I believe the plaque James Cameron left refered only to the passengers and crew of Titanic- there was no mention of himself of any organization.

When visiting Pere Lachaise cemetary in Paris to see Jim Morrison's grave, I noticed many people write their own name on nearby headstones, thus marking they were there-
I just watched a fascinating documentary on the catacombs beaneath Paris, and within the winding passageways there are thousands of names written on the walls, by past explorers...
To some extent, the plaques on Titanic may be no different.....
I do think in the coming decades the deep sea will become more accessable, as will public dives to the Titanic- And I do hope a site can be created next to the ship where people can leave all manner of bricabrac, be it to pay tribute to Titanic passengers and crew, or to themselves, and their having reached the goal of visiting Titanic....
 
May 27, 2007
3,917
23
173
Michael >>It's not as if people will be making the 12,500 foot dive by the millions to see it.<<

Good point there. In My opinion if it doesn't say anything about the event of the Titanic sinking or doesn't say anything about in memorial of the people who lost their lives when Titanic sunk it has no place there.
Hey Tarn, I also saw the show too on the History Channel about the underground tunnels of Paris. I liked the art in that one chamber that artists had painted. What was the name of that show, any body? I just saw this weeks on underground Rome. I really dig that show but whenever I'm not watching it, the name flies right out of my head.
 
Apr 27, 2003
419
3
183
Parks - Good Morning.
For you interest I give you the list from my book ''Titanic Memorials World-wide - Where They are Located'' the book is now in its 25th reprint and lists over 1,100 memorials:
A.

Atlantic Ocean. The wreck of the RMS Titanic is the most important memorial to all those souls who lost their lives in the disaster and should be preserved as it is as a permanent memorial to those people.
On October 29th 1985 at a Hearing before the Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries House of Representatives - reference H. R. 3272 - October 29, 1985 Serial No. 99-21 the Titanic Memorial Act was placed before the House. Unfortunately as the wreck is in International Waters the Act has little teeth but it is a start and we hope that other Governments can build on it.
Doctor Robert Ballard, who after discovering the Titanic in 1985, and on the completion of the next year's (1987) dives, placed a memorial tablet on the Titanic on behalf of all the people who 'Remember the Titanic' approximate position Lat 410 43.5'N, 490 57'W on July 4th 1986.
also in 1986 a plaque was placed by Dr. Robert Ballard from the Titanic Historical Society.
also this plaque subsequently ''disappeared'' from its position on the bow of the Titanic. Doctor Robert Ballard revisited the Titanic in June 2004 and replaced the plaque with an exact replica - this time he placed it on the actual ocean bed by the bow of the vessel.
also the Explorers Club placed a plaque on the wreck in 1986.
also in 1987 Brigitte Renaldi placed a bouquet of plastic red and white roses with miniature flags of France and the United States on the wreck.
also in 1991 on the completion of the IMAX Film Titanic expedition two plaques were placed on the wreck, one from the Oceanic Navigation Research Society and the other from the Russians as a tribute to their American friend the late Frank Busby.
also in 1999 plaques were placed on the wreck. One for the Canadian Titanic Society by Ralph Lewis, the other on behalf of Carol Long a passenger on the Keldysh.
also in 1999 a plaque was placed on the wreck by Charles Sachs on behalf of the Oceanic Navigation Research Society, Inc.
also on August 19th 2000 The Irish Times reported: "An Irish diver has succeeded in his attempt to place a memorial plaque on behalf of the Irish people on the wreck of the Titanic, 2 1/2 miles beneath the Atlantic's surface. The plaque was commissioned by Cobh and Harbour Chamber of Commerce and its tourism committee. It reads: "Commemorating all those lost on RMS Titanic. From the people of Cobh (Queenstown) and Ireland.
also in 2001, July 29th a plaque was placed by Mr. Steve Rigby on behalf of the British Titanic Society - see the Atlantic Daily Bulletin 3/2001 and 4/2001. The plaque reads:
In Memoriam April 15th 1912 Laid on Behalf of the Officers and Members of the British Titanic Society.
also in 2001, July 29th a plaque was placed by Mr. Steve Rigby on behalf of the British Communication Workers Unions - see the Atlantic Daily Bulletin 3/2001 and 4/2001. The plaque reads:
This Plaque Marks the Communication Workers Union's Respect for the Five Postal Workers who Died on Duty on this Ship and Reflects the Universal Comradeship and Enduring Loyalty of Postal Workers Throughout the World.
also in August 2005, a plaque was laid on behalf of Harland & Wolf and the people of Belfast, the plaque reads:
"In memory of all those who lost their lives on RMS Titanic
From Harland & Wolff and the People of Belfast"
Also a duplicate of this plaque was made and taken down during a dive to by Mike McKimm and Rory Golden - this second replica was also placed on the bridge of the Titanic for a few moments, removed, and has now been brought back to Titanic's home city (Belfast) and will be put on display in Belfast City Hall.
also in August 2005 another plaque was laid which reads:
This plaque is placed to honor the continued pursuit of excellence in exploration and discovery on behalf of Titanic - The Experience Orlando, Florida August 2, 2005 and in the memory of those souls who perished with the "Titanic" April 14-15, 1912 Romans 8:39 G. Michael Harris : Owner/Expedition Leader
also in August 2005 yet another was laid which reads:
This plaque is placed to honor the continued pursuit of excellence in exploration and discovery on behalf of Sebastian P. Harris - Age 13 in proud recognition of his extraordinary Guinness World Record "Youngest Person to Dive to Titanic - Depth 12,856 ft" August 2, 2005 John 10:10.

Atlantic Ocean. Position Lat. 410 16" north and Long 500 14", which is roughly where the Titanic sank. The ashes of Mr. Frank Goldsmith were scattered here in 1982.
also the ashes of Joseph Boxhall were scattered here in 1967.
also the ashes of Mrs. Ruth Becker Blanchard were scattered here in 1990.

Cheers Brian
 
Jul 9, 2000
58,665
880
563
Easley South Carolina
>>In My opinion if it doesn't say anything about the event of the Titanic sinking or doesn't say anything about in memorial of the people who lost their lives when Titanic sunk it has no place there.<<

While I'm inclined to agree, my concern was why bother putting anything down there at all? It's not as if the billions of the world can just go down there to pay their respects on a whim. Without special equipment like submersibles, ROV's, or being born with gills, the site is completely inaccessible.
 
Mar 3, 1998
2,745
261
358
Brian,

Thank you for the information.

I wonder what happened to Renaldi's French flag? Only the US flag remains.

The Canadian plaque was clearly not in evidence at the time that NOAA's Hercules ROV took images of the bridge in 2004.

Your count does not match the total that I see in the edited dive imagery from TFM:MP. I can't read the plaques in the edited video, so I need to go into the unedited footage in the Lone Wolf archives to see if the camera ever gets close enough to read the legends. If I find anything other than what you listed above, I'll let you know.

I am very intrigued about the Canadian plaque.

Parks
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
May 27, 2007
3,917
23
173
Michael,

You are right on that. I guess people put plaques down there just to show they can or they really wanted a monument to their loved ones who perished when the ship sunk.

Of course scattering ashes there is different. How much do you all want to bet that people who didn't sail on Titanic and had no loved one or ancestors who sailed on the ship and no real interest in who did, will want their ashes scattered just because they can on Titanic. Some of them will also want plaques to accompany them to commemorate their lives. No plaques please. That's the plaque I'm putting down there or a plaque that says No plaques on the bow, Thank you.
 
Jul 9, 2000
58,665
880
563
Easley South Carolina
My highly subjective opinion only, and backed by nothing more then a measure of sentimentality, but it stikes me as a bit inappropriate that any Tom, Dick, and Harriette could have their ashes deposited there. As to the plaques...it's time to give it a rest.

But that's just me.

As always, your milage may vary.
 
Jan 7, 2002
2,446
39
243
I think Mel Fisher's ashes were placed on the wreck-
I can see how some might see it questionable for people to leave their ashes on the wreck-unless they were an actual survivor -(Such as USS Arizona survivors who continue have their ashes placed inside the Arizona wreck once they pass away).

As for the Titanic, if the ashes of someone who spent a lifetime reasearching the Titanic were placed on the wreck, I don't see the problem, provided a giant headstone is not placed on the boat deck....
 

Sally Butler

Member
Mar 28, 2003
66
3
158
Another interesting thought, how many people have had their ashes scattered over the wreck from a ship above?
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Similar threads

Similar threads