Encyclopedia Titanica

Victims recovered by the MacKay-Bennett are laid to rest

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Funeral Procession
Funeral procession of John Jacob Astor IV in New York City, May 4th 1912

May 4th 1912 - In Halifax, the body of the baby boy recovered on the first day of Mackay-Bennett's search for Titanic victims is laid to rest. Using money that they received as a reward from Vincent Astor for finding the body of his father John Jacob Astor IV (whose funeral is also coincidentally being held today in New York) the Mackay-Bennett's crew pay for a coffin, funeral and large headstone. Within the boy's coffin, they place a bronze plaque reading 'Our Babe'. The young boy's identity will not be confirmed for another 95 years.

Meanwhile, the bodies of third class passenger Owen Allum, first class Saloon Steward Arthur Lawrence and Titanic's Band Leader Wallace Hartley are transferred to Boston so they can be transported back to England aboard the White Star Liner Arabic.

Of all the bodies to be recovered, only 59 will be repatriated; if families want to bring their loved ones home, they have to pay £20 fee to the White Star Line. With many people unable to afford the cost of transporting victims of the disaster some elect to pay for a larger headstone for the grave sites in Halifax.

Across the Atlantic, the 54 sailors who left the Olympic after failing to come to terms with the White Star Line face court in Portsmouth. The Magistrate finds that the charges of mutiny are proven but owing to the special circumstances surrounding the case, all the men are released without any penalties or fines. To avoid a public outcry, White Star permits all the mutineers to return to work; Olympic will resume her transatlantic service on May 15th.

(Photograph 1: Grave of the Unknown Child at Fairview Lawn Cemetery in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Courtesy of the Toronto Star / Photograph 2: 19 month-old Sidney Leslie Goodwin who was positively identified as the Unknown Child in 2007. He, his parents and five siblings were travelling in third class; all of them perished in the sinking. Courtesy of Wikimedia / Photograph 3: Remains of the bronze plaque that the Mackay-Bennett's crew placed in Goodwin's coffin. It was discovered in 2001 when the grave was exhumed for DNA testing. Courtesy of PBS / Photograph 4: Funeral procession of John Jacob Astor IV in New York City, May 4th 1912. Sourced from News Whistle / Photograph 5: 1905 C. W. Hunt & Co. of Liverpool printed art postcard showing the White Star Liner Arabic. From my Collection)

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