They traveled from near and far to remember the Titanic dead in Ireland on the one hundredth anniversary of the liner’s sinking.
Belfast, the city that built the White Star’s pride and joy, paid its own tributes to the victims of the 1912 disaster as a new memorial garden was opened.
Relatives of those who perished attended a moving ceremony as the garden, less than a mile from the Harland and Wolff shipyard where the Titanic was built, was officially declared open.
Canadian Helen Frost travelled from Toronto with her six-year-old granddaughter Alex Aaronson to remember Artie Frost.
The 38-year-old Belfast engineer was part of the group sent on the ships maiden voyage by Harland and Wolff to record its performance.
“It is important to be here because we are very proud of Alex’s great, great grandfather Artie,” Helen Frost told reporters. “He was a brave, brave man and he went down with the ship.
“We felt it was important to be here. We are very proud, we have been very impressed, Belfast has done a wonderful job, it is just lovely.”
Distant relatives of William McReynolds, a 22-year-old electrical engineer who perished on Titanic on his first sea voyage, also attended the opening and memorial service in Belfast.
Cousin Alister McReynolds said: “They kept the lights on to the end so I like to think that he was part of that. He must have been a forward-looking person as there cannot have been that many of those electrical engineers in 1912.”
“The outlook in 1912, with disaster at sea and the Great War looming, must have appeared very bleak. So many people in Northern Ireland were biblical Christians, they must have thought that this was the end of the world.”
Young Jack Martin, a relation of ship’s doctor John Simpson, unveiled a bronze memorial at the Belfast garden which records the names of all the 1500 plus victims who died on Titanic.
Jack’s father John Martin, himself a retired doctor, confirmed that a letter penned by Dr Simpson to his mother from the ship, is to be presented to Belfast city for a Titanic exhibition.
“It is the last tangible object that we have from John Simpson, everything else that he had was lost,” said John Martin. “It is the last thing that we know he actually touched, that means a lot to the family.”