Today, 102 years ago, the RMS Titanic was heading for disaster and a date with destiny. That disaster would have repercussions that still reverberate today, and the influence of the sinking of that ship is one of the reasons why we have such strict laws about safety at sea. Last year I arrived in Southampton and spent almost 7 months in that historic city. I ran down as many of the monuments as I could, photographing them and realising a dream of mine from many years ago. The city does tend to be obsessed with the ship, much to the detriment of any other maritime history.
I did not however expect to end up searching for the graves of people who were family of those involved in the disaster, and I ended up doing exactly that in the cemeteries in the city. It was a fascinating bit of gravehunting, and one which I am glad I did. I think the grave of lookout Frederick Fleet is probably one of the most poignant as it connects directly to the man who first spotted the iceberg that would change so many lives.
I no longer have an active interest in the ship; that died when James Cameron made his epic movie and suddenly we were awash with so called “experts” who only knew the movie and nothing else. But being in Southampton meant that I was able to accomplish part of my dream from so long ago.
It is worthwhile remembering though that the story isn’t only about the people on the ship, but also about their families in their home towns; Southampton being particularly hard hit by the tragedy. Those days would be repeated during the world wars when whole communities lost their sons and fathers and brothers fighting in conflicts that should never have happened. Those that died in the conflicts are a part of what I photograph today.
102 years ago the world changed just a little bit, it was all due to a tragedy that happened far away in the Atlantic Ocean. The world would never be the same again, the old theory of ripples in water would hold true, and those ripples are still with us today. There are no more survivors left alive anymore, the physical link is now only found in graveyards and on memorials.
Remembering the Titanic and those affected by it. Long gone, but never forgotten
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