By Christopher Ward
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Whilst she set sail from Southampton on her maiden voyage to big apple on 10 April 1912, RMS sizeable, the delight of the White big name fleet, was once the most important ocean liner on this planet. Deemed 'practically unsinkable' as a result of her double-bottomed hull and watertight booths, she carried over 2,000 passengers and staff, even if merely adequate lifeboats for simply over part that quantity.
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Additional info for And the Band Played On . . .: The Enthralling Account of What Happened After the Titanic Sank
Left arm tattooed all over; right arm, clasped hands and heart, breast, Japanese fans. ’ Women were not exempt from arbitrary disposal overboard either. Mary Mangan, thirty-two, from Carrowkehine, County Mayo, was buried at sea on the second night. The official record describes her simply as ‘Third Class, Embarked Queenstown’, suggesting that she was dismissed as another Irish immigrant. Yet she carried a gold watch with her name engraved on the back and could easily have been identified from the White Star Line passenger list.
When the bodies were brought aboard, each corpse would be given a sequential number, a label bearing the number tied to the body. A description of each person, and their identity if known, would be entered in a book against the number. Any possessions found on their body would then be put in a duck bag, numbered by stencil, so that personal effects could be returned to the correct next of kin. At least two crew members would help in this process, in the presence of either Mr Snow, the purser Mr Higginson, or the ship’s surgeon, Dr Thomas Armstrong, to prevent theft or other irregularities.
Disposing of bodies at sea thus became an expedient solution. ‘Hands sewed up 24 unidentified bodies and attached a 50lb weight to each,’ Capt Larnder noted in his log on Monday 22 April. This was to become a source of much grief later among relatives of the dead. Out of 306 bodies recovered by the Mackay-Bennett 116 were buried at sea, more than a third. All bodies brought on board were seen at once by Canon Hind and Mr Snow. Those that were to be buried at sea would be sewn up in canvas and stored separately on deck to await burial that night.