105th anniversary of Titanic sinking commemorated in Belfast

The 105th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic has been remembered in Belfast.

A commemorative service has been held at the Titanic Memorial Garden at Belfast City Hall to remember all those who lost their lives in the sinking.

The ocean liner struck an iceberg on its maiden voyage from to America and sank, killing more than 1,500 passengers and crew.

Belfast Lord Mayor, Alderman Brian Kingston said: “On this day 105 years ago, people around the world woke up to the tragic news that RMS Titanic had sunk, resulting in the heart breaking loss of life for many men, women and children.”

At 12 noon Dr Aidan McMichael, chairman of the Belfast Titanic Society, led a wreath-laying ceremony and a minute’s silence remembering the people who lost their lives on that fatal night of 15 April 1912.

He said: “As The Belfast Titanic Society celebrates its 25th anniversary, we are once again proud, in partnership with Belfast City Council, to be associated with the annual commemoration of the loss of RMS Titanic.

The tranquillity of the memorial gardens continues to offer us all the opportunity to take time out to unite and consider the human tragedy the event was, not just for relatives, but for the whole city.”

Belfast’s Titanic Memorial Garden was officially opened in April 2012 to mark the centenary of the disaster, featuring a wall engraved with the names all of those who perished.

Amongst the names are 28 men from Belfast, nine of whom were employees of the Harland and Wolf Guarantee Group, led by the ship’s designer Thomas Andrews.

Over 80 descendants of those on board Titanic and those interested in the wider Titanic story joined attendees at the service, as part of the Titanic Gathering, organised by Simon Medhurst, great grandson of Titanic Quartermaster Robert Hichens.

Ahead of the anniversary, the group visited the dry dock where the iconic ship was built and attended a special event held at the replica staircase at Titanic Belfast on Friday.

The ship is an important part of Belfast’s history, as Susie Millar from the Belfast Titanic Society explained: “It’s important for us as a Titanic community to come together and share our stories. Some of us are descendants of those who were on the Titanic, but most of us are just very enthusiastic about it.

“For us to be able to come together and just enjoy the fact that we have a shared interest as well as paying our respects to those who were lost is an extremely important thing to do.”

Tim Husbands, Chief Executive of Titanic Belfast, said the ship’s story continues to fascinate an international audience.

“Three and a half million people have come through our doors from right across the world,” he said.

“For us to have a gathering of people who have such a close connection to the story reminds us that we have a very serious undertaking, we are the custodians of telling the Titanic story, of telling the story on the site where the Titanic was built and ultimately launched, so to have those close attendees makes it a very sensitive and special day for us.”