Titanic victim buried overseas

Arthur White Credit: ITV Meridian

Arthur White joined the Titanic because he felt that he could get better tips there than on her sister ship, The Olympic.

The barber had made his fortune selling soap wrappers across the country but by April 1912 he needed money and so returned to cruise ships.

His granddaughter Marlene Cauldwell said that her parents didn't like to talk about the Titanic because of their loss and so very little was known about him.

But a penknife ascribed with the word Olympic, a key holder with the name Titanic on it and a selection penny coins from 1911 were passed down to her and so the incredible story was revealed.

When news that the Titanic had sunk reached the mainland, a cable ship the SS Mackay Bennet left Halifax in Canada to try and recover the dead.

The ship was filled with ice, specialist undertakers and coffins. When the ship arrived at the scene of the disaster the crew later described it as a place of "utter devastation". Hundreds of bodies were found floating in the water, many frozen and still in their life jackets. Wreckage from the ship was strewn across the sea - wooden parts of the Titanic were to arrive on the Canadian coastline for months to come.

The undertakers were overwhelmed by the sheer task that faced them. They realised that although they could recover bodies, they did not have enough equipment to stop them decomposing before they returned to Nova Socia.

The decision was made to recover as many as possible, but to only return individuals who were deemed note worthy. The White Star Line was to charge families steerage costs for returning their loved ones from Halifax and so predominantly first class passengers were taken back. Others were stripped of any artefacts which might help identify them and then given a sea burial.

Arthur's body was retrieved from the water, but surprisingly he was taken back to Halifax. The penknife and coins found in his pockets were used to identify him and were returned to his family in Southampton.

Sadly they could not afford to return his body and so he remains buried in Halifax. But 100 years later his grandchildren were able to lay flowers at his grave.