4:06pm Sunday 15th April 2012
By Andrew Lye
100 years ago, the Titanic hit the iceberg as it was on its maiden voyage to New York and as we all know, over 1500 people lost their lives.
I have learnt in the last few days that the term Titanoraks describes those who are obsessed with this infamous ship and its story.
I would not describe myself as a Titanorak, but I was at my Primary School from 1965 - 1970 and when we were about 8, we all had a piece of the wall board that went around our mid-Victorian school classroom, for the projects that interested us.
I remember in my final year that it was politics and the 1970 General Election between Ted Heath and Harold Wilson, but when I was 8, i was somehow mesmerised by 2 things. The first, was Isambard Kingdom Brunel and his ship, the Great Britain, which at the time was a rusting hulk in the Falkland Islands. I still remember the day, in 1970, when it was brought back to Bristol, on a pontoon, sailing under Brunel's Clifton Suspension Bridge. Then over the years, it was restored and I remember visiting it, about 15 years ago.
My other fascination in the mid 60's was the Titanic. Then, it would have sank just over 50 years earlier and in those days, it was not known where it was. It was not found until the early 80's, when James Cameron located the ship and now, we often see documentaries of the ship, as its gradually rusting away, some 2.5 miles below on the seabed of the Atlantic Ocean.
I remember the collages pinned to the wall and the facts I compiled. I wish I could say how I became interested in the Titanic (and the Great Britain), but I do not know. As some kids these days know all about dinosaurs, mine was the Titanic (and the Great Britain). It is ironic that I was born and brought up just outside Devizes, Wiltshire, and its here at Aldridge's auctions, that many Titanic memorabilia is today, sold.
I still have not yet got round to watching the Leonardo di Caprio film or the latest serialisation by Julian Fellowes on ITV. I presume I am more interested in the facts and original photos, rather than modern day dramatisations of this awful accident that led to so many deaths.
It is ironic that now, whilst we have seen so much about the Titanic in recent week, on TV, with programmes with Len Goodman, for example, it would seem that the interest in the Titanic is growing even more.
So today, we remember those who died 100 years ago and I finish this blog with a fact that I just found on Google.....
"On April 17, 1912, the day before survivors of the Titanic disaster reached New York, the Mackay-Bennett was sent off from Halifax, Nova Scotia to search for bodies. On board the Mackay-Bennett were embalming supplies, 40 embalmers, tons of ice, and 100 coffins. Although the Mackay-Bennett found 306 bodies, 116 of these were too badly damaged to take all the way back to shore. Attempts were made to identify each body found. Additional ships were also sent out to look for bodies. In all, 328 bodies were found, but 119 of these were badly damaged and thus were buried at sea."
We seem to be like sponges, soaking up all the facts of this awful disaster.
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