On April 30. 1912 the cable ship Mackay-Bennett along with RMS Olympic arrived at Halifax, Nova Scotia. 200 bodies of people who had died after Titanic sank. Mackay-Bennett recovered 306 bodies but 116 had to be buried at sea due to insufficient embalming fluid. Of those identified included John Astor and Isidor Straus. Minia, another cable ship, took over the duties of Mackay-Bennett
Most of the bodies were unloaded at the Coal or Flagship Wharf on the waterfront. Horse-drawn carriages brought the victims to the temporary morgue in the Mayflower Curling Rink. 59 bodies were shipped out by train to their families. The remaining bodies were interred in three Halifax cemeteries three Halifax cemeteries between May 3 and June 12. Burial services were conducted at various churches in Nova Scotia. Flowers and wreaths for victims were provided by local people and businesses. Coffins of the unidentified had lilies on them.
White Star Line paid for many of the tombstones in the cemeteries. Many of the plain block granite ones were replaced by family members and friends with more ornate tombstones.
Perhaps forgotten in the Titanic story are those that went out to recover Titanic’s dead.
Two cable ships out of Halifax–Mackay-Bennett and Minia–brought back most of the bodies. Four bodies were recovered in May 1912 by Montmagny, a government tender from Quebec. The last body was found by the cargo ship Algerine out of St. John’s Newfoundland. On Friday, a plaque remembering those from Halifax (called Halligonians) who went out to collect the bodies was unveiled at Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.
Retrieving the bodies was important and also haunting, reports The Chronicle Herald. Pat Teasdale’s grandfather Francis Dyke was second electrician on Minia and wrote to his mother about it. “I honestly hope I shall never have to come on another expedition like this. … The Dr. and I are sleeping in the middle of 14 coffins.” Yet he was glad they could retrieve the bodies and not leave them in the water. 150 victims are buried in Halifax in Fairview Lawn, Baron de Hirsch, and Mount Olivet Cemeteries.