News Column

Descendants of Titanic Victims, Survivors Participate in Centenary Commemoration

April 12, 2012

It was Tuesday noon, and many people were standing silently at the port of Southampton in England, holding wreaths in their hands. Suddenly, all ships began blowing their steam whistles. The people lowered their heads, some wiping off tears.

A century ago on this special day, the Titanic, the luxurious liner claimed to be "unsinkable," departed on its fateful voyage from this port, before hitting an iceberg and killing more than 1,500 passengers and crew.

A century later, more than 500 descendants of the Titanic's victims gathered in the port to commemorate their loved ones.

Margaret White moved to the seaside on a wheelchair, and threw a yellow rose into the sea. In an interview with Xinhua, the 86-year- old woman took out a black-and-white photo showing a young man with a solemn look standing on the left.

"He is my uncle Richard Hosgood," she said. "He was a fireman on the Titanic, and was 22 when he drowned. He left a wife and two children."

When the accident occurred, Hosgood was supposed to be off duty. "They found his body in the sea," she said.

White's father went to see the body, but was afterwards reluctant to talk about the tragedy to her. "It's still sad, especially today when you hear about people who lost their relatives, women who were left with ten children. It's terrible. You can't believe it. It (the Titanic) was not supposed to sink."

White was accompanied by her cousin Christine Teather-Lovejoy.

"It was my uncle, William Aubrey, (who died in the accident)," she said. "He was an assistant butcher, and they never found his body. He was lost in the sea. He left his wife and three children."

According to Teather-Lovejoy, life was extremely hard for the families of the Titanic's victims, not only psychologically, but also financially.

"I know at that time, they couldn't get very much money," she said. "As soon as the ship sank, their wages ceased."

As the centenary of the Titanic's sinking approached, Teather- Lovejoy went to watch the movie "Titanic" again, the 1997 blockbuster starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.

She noted that in fact, not only the older generations are still deeply moved by the sinking of the Titanic, but younger generations as well.

"My son called me this morning, asking where I was and saying that he wanted to come to the port as well," Teather-Lovejoy said.

Marlene Cauldwell went to the port with her daughter and granddaughter in memory of her grandfather Arthur White, a barber on the Titanic. Her granddaughter kissed a flower before dropping it into the sea.

In a parade in the city, more than 600 children marched through Southampton holding placards for all those Southampton residents who served as crew members on the Titanic.

For those crew members who didn't leave a photo, the placard was left blank.

Eight-year-old Henry Ward joined in the parade with his six-year- old brother William. Henry held a photo of his great-grandfather, who managed to jump off the Titanic and swam to lifeboat no. 9.

"When my dad told me about the Titanic, I was excited, but then I turned sad when he told me about those who died," the boy said.

But when he talked about the parade, Henry was clearly happy. "As a descendant of someone related to the Titanic, I am very proud," he said.



Source: Copyright Xinhua News Agency - CEIS 2012


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