Halifax might seem an odd place to find the graves of many of those who perished when the RMS Titanic sank more than a century ago, but it was from this city that most of the rescue efforts went forth into that infamous night, and it was here that many of the drowned and frozen bodies were delivered. There are at least 150 Titanic graves in Halifax which can be found in the following cemeteries: Fairview (121), Mount Olivet (19) and Baron de Hirsch (10). Each cemetery has informational plaques indicating the location of the grave sites.
There’s still something compelling about the tragic story of the Titanic that resonates with people, and which continues to draw them to museums and in this case, a cemetery. I don’t usually think of a cemetery as a tourist attraction but as a place to pay respect and to remember. That’s what drew my brother and I to Fairview in the northern end of Halifax, as we were leaving to visit Peggy’s Cove. There are more Titanic graves in this cemetery than anywhere else in the world, so it’s a good place to remember that night of terrible loss.
The tombstones at Fairview follow the contour of a hill. Most of the victims of the tragedy are memorialized with small gray granite markers with their name and date of death. Some families paid for larger markers with more elaborate inscriptions, a sampling of which you can see at the bottom of this post. The occupants of about a third of the graves, however, have never been identified and their markers contain just the date of death and number.
One of the most moving graves is that of the ‘Unknown Child’. When no one came forward to claim the body of a small toddler the crew of the cable ship that found him, the Mackay-Bennett, took care of the funeral arrangements. Visitors still leave flowers and toys at the child’s gravesite.
It’s remarkable that 95 years after the disaster, DNA testing was able to identify the child as 19 month old Sidney Goodwin from Britain, whose parents and siblings all perished the same night.
Below are some more views of some of the Titanic graves:
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)