Titanic memorial service: Belfast remembers 107 years on

Remembering those who perished: Newtownabbey woman Marjorie Wilson (right) holding a photograph of her grandfather William McQuillan, who lost his life when the Titanic went down. Pic by Arthur Allison. Pacemaker.
Remembering those who perished: Newtownabbey woman Marjorie Wilson (right) holding a photograph of her grandfather William McQuillan, who lost his life when the Titanic went down. Pic by Arthur Allison. Pacemaker.

Relatives of those who perished in the Titanic disaster 107 years ago gathered in Belfast this morning for the annual commemoration service to remember the more than 1,500 people who lost their lives.

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Deirdre Hargey, welcomed people to the event in the Titanic Memorial Garden in the grounds of city hall.

White roses were laid in the memorial garden at city hall  in memory of the local men who lost their lives in the Titanic disaster. Pic by Arthur Allison, Pacemaker.

White roses were laid in the memorial garden at city hall in memory of the local men who lost their lives in the Titanic disaster. Pic by Arthur Allison, Pacemaker.

A short memorial service was conducted by Rev Karen Sethuraman, the Lord Mayor’s chaplain, and Rev Ian Gilpin from the Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church in Comber before Susie Millar, president of the Belfast Titanic Society, spoke about the loss of her great-grandfather, who was one of the many crew members who died when the Belfast-built ship sank on April 15, 1912.

Wreaths were placed at the Titanic Memorial and single white roses were laid by family members in memory of the local men who lost their lives in disaster.

One of those who laid a rose was Marjorie Wilson, 78, from Newtownabbey – the granddaughter of William McQuillan, who was as stoker on the ill-fated luxury liner.

“He wasn’t even supposed to be on the ship,” she told the News Letter. “He was off but his mate’s wife was about to have a baby so my grandfather took his place on the ship.”

Single white roses were laid by relatives of local men who lost their lives when the Titanic struck an iceberg and sunk in the Atlantic Ocean in April 1912. Arthur Allison, Pacemaker.

Single white roses were laid by relatives of local men who lost their lives when the Titanic struck an iceberg and sunk in the Atlantic Ocean in April 1912. Arthur Allison, Pacemaker.

Mr McQuillan’s body was washed ashore in Nova Scotia. He is buried alongside many other victims of the maritime disaster in Fairview Cemetery, Halifax.

“It was a terrible thing that happened, so many people lost their lives, and I think it is important that we remember them,” Mrs Wilson added.

Marjorie Wilson with a photograph of her grandfather William McQuillan, who lost his life when the Titanic went down.

Marjorie Wilson with a photograph of her grandfather William McQuillan, who lost his life when the Titanic went down.