With the possible exception of Noah’s Ark, the RMS Titanic is without doubt the most famous ship in history. Her departure on the 10th of April 1912 from Southampton to New York and her subsequent sinking on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland just four days later are literarily the stuff that legends are made of.
Despite the passing of a century the fascination of the Titanic and what actually happened on her maiden voyage continues to cause debate and controversy with various groups and individuals all claiming to be able to tell the truth about what happened on that fateful April night in the North Atlantic. What does seem to have been forgotten by many in the euphoria is that Southampton, more than any other town or city, lost more of its inhabitants in the sinking than anywhere else and that nowhere else was the suffering and hardship caused by the loss more deeply felt. The RMS Titanic had a total crew of 891 of which 679 were lost and a great deal of these came from Southampton. The Southampton City Council organized a number of events to help mark the centenary, including, an event to mark the 100th anniversary of the departure of RMS Titanic from Southampton at the Ocean Terminal which was for relatives of passengers and crew of Titanic, a concert by the Southampton Symphony Orchestra at the QE2 terminal, various walks of the graves of Titanic and the Titanic Trail, several exhibitions at the Town Hall and Library and the annual commemorative service which took place at St Mary’s church close to where the ship sailed from. Perhaps the most interesting of all the commemorations was the night presentation by the Nuffield Theatre group called; Titanic – From Prow to Stern which took place in Andrews Park close to the Engineers Memorial (which is the City’s official Titanic memorial) and ran in real time from 11.42pm until 2.20am. Voice recordings from the archive of the City’s Oral History Unit, and the names of all those from Southampton who perished were read out as well as a timeline of events as they actually happened. The names of all those who perished along with commemorative flowers were tied to the lamp posts as distress flares were launched.