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The view from Nova Scotia 100 years on

The RMS Titanic Photo: PA

You only have to gaze across the waters of the Halifax harbour in Nova Scotia to imagine the scene. 100 years ago a little cable repair ship steamed mournfully home and carefully docked at the wharf here.

The cargo aboard the Mackay-Bennett on Tuesday April 30 1912 did not consist of cables. Instead she was carrying 190 bodies, stacked in her holds and on her deck, plucked from the icy waters where RMS Titanic foundered.

The Mackay-Bennett was the first of several so-called 'Death Ships', chartered by the White Star Line to retrieve the floating corpses. Eventually 337 bodies were pulled from the North Atlantic. 128 were buried at sea; 150 rest in this city's cemeteries. Others were sent by train or ship for hometown burials.

A visitor stands amid the gravestone of Titanic victims in Fairview Lawn Cemetery in Halifax Credit: Reuters

The relationship between Titanic and Nova Scotia is an intimate and respectful one. It's not about disaster tourism; it's not about cashing in on tragedy.

Rather, this Atlantic province has known shipwrecks and maritime disasters for centuries. It prides itself on paying respect to those who have been claimed by the sea.

100 years ago, the city of Halifax played its part in responding to the Titanic disaster. It was too late to save any lives, but the cable repair ships and their crews did their best to help retrieve the victims and give grieving families some dignity.

This weekend people all over the world will pause and remember the tragedy of 1912. In Nova Scotia it will be an especially poignant moment.

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