Picture This: The Titanic Cemetery

The Titanic Cemetery in Halifax, Nova Scotia

Halifax has a deep connection to the sea, including history’s worst maritime tragedy, the sinking of The Titanic.

When news of the disaster reached the mainland, three ships were sent out from to recover as many of the victims as possible.

Many Titanic victims were never spoken for and are buried in three of the city's cemeteries, most in Fairview Lawn in Halifax, Canada
It’s impossible to describe our feelings. So many headstones bearing the same date; April 15, 1912.

It is not certain that each victim died on April 15th, it is assumed that due to the freezing temperatures no one could have survived that kind of exposure to the elements. Therefore, each marker bears that date.

Elliot grave stone at the Titanic Cemetary in Halifax, Nova Scotia
Mr. Elliot was a member of the crew, a coal trimmer. His epitaph reads “Each man stood at his post while all the weaker ones went by and showed one more to all the world how Englishmen should die.”

In all, three hundred and twenty-eight bodies were found, and of those, two hundred and nine were brought to Halifax to be claimed by relatives, or buried should no one come forward.

Three quarters of those were never spoken for and are buried in three of the city’s cemeteries, most in Fairview Lawn.

The graveyard were the Titanic Victims are buried in Halifax, Nova Scotia

The company that owned the Titanic, The White Star Line, had land surveyor F.W. Christie design the full plot to fit into the slope of the hill.

The Titanic Cemetery in Halifax, Nova Scotia

Click here to see our full story on Halifax

John Law Hume, violinist in the orchestra that played as Titanic sank
John Law Hume, violinist in the orchestra that played as Titanic sank. All eight band members died, yet heroically continued their music until the end. Mr. Hume was 21 years old at the time of his death and was survived by his fiancée and his unborn baby.

Sadly, just a number. An unknown victim of the sinking of Titanic at Fairview Lawn Cemetery, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

With somber hearts we walked through the Fairview Lawn Cemetery to the gravesites of the one-hundred-twenty-one casualties and paid our respects.

Many of the headstones are marked only by numbers, as the identities of the victims remain unknown.

Ms. Henriksson was from Sweden, and was traveling with her cousin Ellen Petterson, who also perished.

If a person’s identity was discovered later their name was engraved on the side of the stone, rather than the top.

Jenny Lovisa Henriksson was simply “Number 3” until 1991. Then, through deduction and the careful notes taken at the time of the disaster, the initials on her clothing led investigators to match her name with the remaining unknown victims list.

Grave of the Unknown Child at the Titanic cemetery in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

The plaque of Sidney Leslie Goodwin in the Titantic cemetary in Halifax

Perhaps the most poignant was the unknown grave of a two-year-old child brought back aboard The MacKay-Bennett, one of ships sent out from Halifax to retrieve the deceased from the site of the disaster.

Just recently the boy was identified through DNA samples, but his family prefers that his gravestone remain nameless as a remembrance for all of the other unknown victims. Instead, a plaque was placed at the foot of little Sidney’s stone.

See little Sidney’s shoes at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

The grave of Ernest Edward Samuel at the Titanic cemetery in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Mr. Freeman was a chief deck steward and a secretary to White Star chairman Bruce Ismay. He was survived by his wife and daughter. His epitaph reads “He remained at his post of duty, seeking to save others. Regardless of his own life and went down with the ship.”
The grave of Alma Paulson and her four children at the Titanic cemetery in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Mrs. Paulson and her four children were traveling to unite with their husband and father, Nils, in Chicago. Mr. Paulson worked as a tram conductor and had saved for two years to bring his family over to join him.
The headstone of Ernest Waldron King in the Titanic Cemetery, Halifax, Nova Scotia
Mr. King was from Ireland and served as a clerk on the Titanic.
The grave of Alan Vincent Franklin, a victim in the Titanic sinking, Halifax, Nova Scotia
Mr. Franklin, from England, was a saloon steward aboard the ship. He married his wife, Blanche, the year before the sinking. They had a son, Alan, and their daughter was born was a few months after Mr. Franklin’s death.

Many of the victims of the 1917 Halifax Explosion are buried in Fairview Lawn as well. More about the Halifax Explosion here.

Click here to see our full story on Halifax

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

Delve Deeper:
The Victorian Public Gardens of Halifax

The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic
Our Full Halifax Adventure
Having a Merry Time in the Maritimes (Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick)
The Cajun, Canadian, Acadian Connection

Thanks to Road Scholar for providing this lifelong learning adventure through the Canadian Maritimes! As always, all opinions are our own.

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13 thoughts on “Picture This: The Titanic Cemetery”

  1. Great post. Halifax is such an interesting place historically with the Titanic dead being brought there, the Halifax Explosion and the numerous shipwrecks. I found the cemetery and the Museum so engaging.

  2. I never knew this place existed and I’m so glad that you’ve shared it with me as growing up I was a little bit nerdy about the Titanic and the tragedy of its sinking. In fact, instead of watching kids films, you’d most likely find me watching A Night To Remember.

    I only hope that I get to visit and pay my respects one day.

  3. I didn’t get a chance to visit the cemetery when I was in Halifax last week, but would consider it a must-see next time. I can understand how you must have felt among all those graves and memorials.

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