April 19, 2012
Posted in: Forever Cunard
I wanted to let you know how touched we were by the many wonderful and touching comments on the story of Carpathia. Here’s how things drew to a conclusion for the Titanic centenary…
Commemorations took place across Southampton on Sunday 15 April, and Cunard played a respectful part in remembering the 1,500 who lost their lives as well as the rescue of all of Titanic’s survivors by the Cunard ship Carpathia, under the command of Captain Arthur Rostron.
It was in recognition of the heroic role played by the Captain Rostron in 1912 that a special service was held at his graveside in West End, Southampton. A floral tribute in the shape of anchor was placed on his grave by Captain Rostron’s granddaughter Rosemary Pettet, with Captain Chris Wells placing a wreath on behalf of Cunard. After prayers, a lone trumpeter led singing of ‘For those in Peril on the Sea’. The ceremony was well-attended and Rosemary Pettet was delighted to meet two ladies whose great-grandfather, a 1st class steward on Titanic who had been put in charge of one of the lifeboats, had been rescued by her grandfather. They pointed out that they would not be here today but for the actions of Captain Rostron that night, a poignant reminder of the human story at the heart of the Titanic commemorations.
The service was followed by a plaque unveiling ceremony at the house Captain Rostron lived in from 1926 – 1940, attended by Rosemary Pettet.
In the afternoon of Sunday 15 April, a service of remembrance was held for those who lost their lives on Titanic, over 500 of them crew from Southampton, at St Mary’s Church in the heart of the city. Despite its large proportions, the church was packed, with standing-room-only half an hour before the service was due to begin. A combination of music, readings, and an address from the Bishop of New York led to the laying of wreaths, with Captain Wells offering a tribute on behalf of Cunard, as a string ensemble played ‘Nearer My God to Thee’, the hymn said to have been struck up by Titanic’s bandmaster as the ship went down.
It seemed a fitting way to round off a week of remembrance and reflection on a tragedy that still resonates with us today.