Nice work. Perhaps its a morbid fascination with death but I always do get sucked into anything about the bodies that gets posted here. Its too bad that the recovery team didn't have a historic focus on the mission and better document forensic analysis of the corpes recovered.
The small numbers of bodies recovered has always bothered me. All the films made depict the final moments of the ship with a huge crowd of people on the open deck areas trying to get off. Even the survivors accounts indicate they saw large groups of people on deck and heard the noise of hundreds drowning at the end. So where are the bodies?
The unanswered questions about that night will I guess continue to bug us into this new century as we approach the 100th anniversary of the tragedy.
I found this artical today and translated it from French to English. It may have been spoken about in another post (still learning my way around here) but I found it interesting:
" Nevertheless, the Mackay-Bennet, a vessel cable puts be left with the horrid try to do collected bodies. After almost 5 days on l’océan, a lot of the corp be terribly détioré. Arm with a lot of glass, more of 100 coffins, 40 fill with fragrance, and a canon for conducté an enterrement to the sea, the Mackey-Bennet had found a total of 328 bodies, 119 they were able be not reconnaitre."
Here is the link to the artical..I have no idea where it came from. The total didn't match up with Bill Wormstedt's count and I would take his word for it before anyone elses.
Yes, I believed your totals to be the correct ones.(I went to your site) My main concern, was the fragrance. Was it really brought? I mean, the artical got the totals wrong, so maybe there is nothing to this. Is/was there a manifest for the Mackay? If the fragrance was really brought, how was it used? Was it to make the claiming of loved ones easier on the families? I'm guessing there would have been a smell? This just struck me. I may be posting this on the wrong thread. After all, I am a land lubber and haven't gotten my sea legs yet! I even wrote this last night and when I saw it in preview, I thought it was posted and went on my merry way. LoL (It wasn't so here I am again) ) I was just hoping you or another band of our merry crew can shed some light on this.
Don't be concerned about that, Stephanie. The word in the original is "embaumers" which is rather clearly a typo for "embaumeurs", which means "embalmers." These were undertakers, not perfumes.
A somewhat better translation of the paragraph you quoted would be:
However, the Mackay-Bennett, a cable-laying ship was left with the horrible task of collecting bodies. After almost 5 days in the ocean, many of the bodies had deteriorated terribly. Equipped with much ice, more than 100 coffins, 40 embalmers, and a clergyman to conduct burials at sea, the Mackay-Bennett found a total of 328 bodies, 119 of which could not be identified.
LoL Thanks Mark....it wasn't important enough to really be concerned about....I was just wondering.I used a translator to get the text. You sure cleared that up for me! I knew I came to the right place! Have a great evening and thanks again!
Out of 1500 deaths, only 328 bodies were found. I contemplate if most were consumed in a mass frenzy or lost by them drifting south in the Labrador Current. This has not been discussed on a grand scale. What do you think?
Stacie, I suspect you're right. Currents, wind and the wave pretty effective at that sort of thing and there is plenty of sealife that isn't all that choosy about it's source of raw protein. Frankly, it's amazing that there were as many recoveries as there were.
As to it not being discussed widely, I think I can understand why. Who would want to discuss the prospect of a loved one being food for sharks and seagulls?
Wow! Great tables and info Bill. Don't hold me to this, but I recall reading somewhere that some of the Ala Carte Rest. people were seen on deck, talking amoungst themselves, standing back from the lifeboats. I just can't recall where I read that from.
I guess I will have to search for that info huh?
While researching something else, I came across the information that the Museum of Ships And The Sea in Savannah, GA has in its collection a model of the Mackay-Bennett, 1884, a trans-Atlantic cable layer. The model is apparently pre-Titanic.
I am almost thinking I read it in Violet Jessop's memiors, but I have been reading a lot of Lightoller and Gracie lately. (Also Behe, but don't tell him) and now I am reading Beesley. I will look back into Violet and see if that is where I saw that information. I am almost positive though, that I read somewhere that some of the Ala Cart crew were on deck. You know what happens though when you assume something don't ya?
Beverly -- the Savannah museum collection is almost all ship models. I don't know how many, but it must be more than 100 of the finest in existence. They also have a small wheelhouse and other pieces of nauticalia. One of the largest models is Titanic done in a diorama of the ship's appearance at 1:00 a.m. The gift shop is small, but stocked with an interesting collection of nautical books and music. Unlike most museums, the building that houses the displays is also part of the collection. It was owned by the man who owned the original steamship Savannah that made the first steam-powered Atlantic crossing. The Museum of Ships And The Sea is one of my "must" stops every year on my trip to the Miami Boat Show. After that, it's off to River Street for pecan pie!