Southampton memorial, Tuesday 10th April

When I opened my curtains yesterday morning I was so happy to see blue skies and the sun shining with just a few fluffy clouds as this was the weather of 10th April 1912. We had had rain and gloom for a few days, it just wouldn't have felt right for the weather not to have been fine. I had been told that descendants would be given roses but I wore my own red rose in my buttonhole ready later to throw in the water. As we drove down the 80 miles, me driving and the boys fighting and singing in the back, the radio blaring, I was still able to lose myself in the special day laid out before me. On arriving at the Ocean Terminal people in the car park all looked at one another with sympathetic and familiar smiles as we all shared a relative who had taken the same voyage.

Many hundreds sat in humble silence waiting for the memorial to begin and the organisers had done a splendid job. The band started to play and everyone was given a beautiful brochure as a treasured keepsake. Fred Dineage presented the memorial, a much loved man I have known from the seventies and he told the story of sailing day, the disaster and aftermath as family members came to offer their contributions. One lady, Dot Kendall is the daughter of Edith Haisman. I had recently been in touch with her and we talked at length about the good friendship her father Frederick and Robert Hichens had at the Wemmer Pan sailing club in Johannesburgh in 1916. We now have a bond and will keep in touch. It was difficult for me to keep tears at bay when the band played 'Nearer my God to Thee' and when we bowed our heads in reflection as to why we were there.

At midday and the moment I had been waiting for for such a long time Titanic's whistles blew and I was filled with such hope and then sadness. Other whistles took up the call and the mood was lightened as some of them were very musical. We left our seats and followed slowly down to the berth opposite to where Titanic had been moored and one by one we threw our wreaths and flowers into the water and once again the whistles blew. The sun continued to shine and a cool breeze blew. I am so lucky to have been there and will never forget such a wonderful day.

Sally Nilsson, great granddaughter of helmsman Robert Hichens

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