It was a maiden voyage that turned out to be its last.
When the Titanic sank in the North Atlantic ocean in 1912, Halifax became the hub of search and rescue efforts.
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Over 1,500 lives were lost when the luxury cruise ship sank, and many of the bodies recovered are buried in Halifax cemeteries like the Fairview lawn cemetery which holds 121 graves.
Many of them are nameless, only identified by the number in which they were pulled from the sea.
After the disaster, the International Ice Patrol was formed to help prevent future marine accidents caused by iceberg encounters.
In honour of the Titanic’s upcoming 104th anniversary, members of the patrol attended a wreath-laying ceremony at the Fairview lawn cemetery to pay their respects to some of the lives lost.
“Every day when we’re looking for the icebergs and putting out those warnings to ships, it’s really because of what happened with the Titanic,” said Cmdr. Gabrielle McGrath of the International Ice Patrol.
Spectators gathered to listen to the remarks given in regards to Halifax’s contribution to the search efforts.
“The people of Halifax were said to have treated each body recovered with extreme care, irrespective of the class of society from which the person came from,” McGrath said.
The wreathes will be flown to the site of the sinking in the Atlantic ocean on Apr. 15 where they will be dropped out of Ice Patrol aircrafts as a sign of remembrance.
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“It’s something that Ice Patrol has done over history. We used to do it every other year and just with limited resources it’s not been done since 2010,” McGrath said. “It’s something that I felt very strongly about coming back and doing this again.”
One of the spectators lost his uncle in the sinking.
“Albert George Ervine was an electrical engineer onboard the Titanic. He was one of the officers and he was my dad’s big brother,” said Warren Ervine of the Titanic Society of Atlantic Canada.
His uncle’s body was never recovered.
Ervine says memorial services like this are important to preserve the memory of those like his uncle who were lost.
“He was only 18 years old. It’s unbelievable how courageous a fellow at the age can be but duty calls,” Ervine said.
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