Nova Scotia

Titanic victims remembered at Halifax cemetery

Hundreds of people turned out for a service to remember the 121 Titanic victims buried at Fairview Lawn Cemetery in Halifax.

Ceremony also pays tribute to city residents affected by the tragedy

Children stand behind gravestones for each of the Titanic victims buried in Fairview Lawn Cemetery, Halifax. (Sabrina Fabian/CBC)

Halifax's Titanic commemoration events moved into the Fairview Lawn Cemetery on Sunday, where many of the victims are buried.

Small children held roses over 121 graves, each bearing the same date of death, April 15, 1912.

Hundreds of people turned out, not just to remember those lost, but to pay tribute to those who had the gruesome task of recovering bodies from the Atlantic Ocean.

One of those volunteers was a 24-year-old man named Cliff Grease, who is also buried in the cemetery.

His granddaughters, Rabia and Nadine Wilcox, told the crowd of his grim experience.

Grease was on board the Mackay-Bennett, which was one of the first ships that went to search for bodies.

"During this time, he gently lifted the unknown child out of the icy waters of the Atlantic into Mackay-Bennett's small cutter," Rabia Wilcox said.

His granddaughters said he visited the child's gravesite every year on the anniversary of the tragedy. But he didn't speak of the experience until a few years before his death.

"There [are] not a lot of emotional remembrances of the event. Many people kept quiet," Nadine Wilcox said.

Crowd came to remember

Cathy Langille came to watch the afternoon service.

She said it's important to remember not just the stories of people on the boat, but those who were affected in the city.

In all, 150 of those who perished in the disaster are buried in Halifax.

Sunday's ceremony followed events a day earlier that drew more than a thousand people to Halifax Grand Parade.

Jeff Gray, with the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, said the event was to have a sombre tone.

"It's really meant for people who have their own connections, and have their own personal moments at that site," he said.

A Canadian sugar maple tree was planted as part of the memorial service.

The tree symbolizes Nova Scotia and Canada's role in the Titanic tragedy.

Sunday marked the end of a week of events commemorating the journey of the ill-fated ship.