While the horror of the Titanic disaster is still fresh in the public mind, and the nation is contributing with an almost unexampled generosity to funds for the survivors and the families of the crew, would it not be as well to give a little thought to those who did not survive? This question finds some response in the feeling which has been expressed in several quarters that a memorials should be erected in Eastbourne to Mr. J. Wesley Woodward, a member of that heroic orchestra, who went down with the ship.
Such would be a fitting tribute to a gallant Eastbourne musician, and at the same time perpetuate the memory of the many other heroic deeds performed by the other brave men who perished on that occasion.
It may be mentioned here that the Belgians are already commencing a memorial in honour of the Belgian member of the Titanic's orchestra; and there Belgians set such an example it would be some reproach for Englishmen not to follow it.
A memorial to Mr. Wesley Woodward, who was so well known and so deservedly popular for so long a time in the town, would, we feel sure, be welcomed by all residents, musical and non-musical alike, to whom heroism and devotion to duty appeal as qualities deserving of honour.
The memorial should preferably be placed either on the Sea front or in the vicinity of the Devonshire Park; and the sculpture should be of a graceful and artistic character, symbolical of music, and above all, with no funeral features about it.
The cost of erection ought not to prove prohibitive, and the sum necessary should be subscribed without difficulty. The many musicians of reputation and ability in the town would not, we think, hesitate to come forward in support of any such scheme; and once the subscription is opened others would, unless we are greatly mistaken, extend a ready support also.
Nearly a quarter of a million pounds have already been subscribed to the Titanic fund. Without wishing to cast any reflections on the praiseworthy objects of the fund, we may be allowed to comment on a certain disproportion which naturally occurs to the practical mind between the amount and the number of widows of the crew who are mainly to benefit by it.
When one considers also that the legal compensation in each case will be (it is stated) an additionally £300 for each person, one cannot help thinking that these destitute widows will not after all fare so badly.
From a financial and not a sentimental point of view their position will probably be better now than before. Surely then a very small percentage of these collected sums might worthily be devoted to the erection of some fitting memorials to those who perished nobly with the vessel and left no destitute relations behind them?