SIR – The worldwide corona-virus pandemic curtailed the annual public ceremonies in Belfast, Southampton, Cherbourg, Cobh and New York to commemorate the 108th anniversary of the Titanic sinking on April 15th, 1912. A floral tribute wreath was laid at the Titanic memorial in Cobh.
In Ireland, we focus more on the Irish passengers. A passenger not well known now was British journalist William Stead. A newspaper editor aged 22 and later assistant editor of the predecessor of the London Evening Standard. He was a supporter of PM William Gladstone and his first big media campaign success was for the clearing of London slums.
A creator of ‘New Journalism,’ he was the first to put graphics and maps in a British newspaper. He saw journalism as a way to help end social inequalities and, as a result, was many times a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize.
In his final moments he helped women and children into lifeboats and was last seen in the sea holding on to debris with John Jacob Astor IV.
A memorial was erected to him in 1920 in New York: ‘W. Stead 1849-1912. The tribute to the memory of a journalist of worldwide renown is erected by American friends and admirers. He met death aboard the Titanic April 15, 1912, and is remembered amongst those, who, dying nobly, enabled others to live.’
The Covid-19 corona-virus is as unexpected in 2019/’20 as was the Titanic sinking by an iceberg in 1912. Many lives again are gone before their time.
I hope a Covid-19 vaccine will be discovered soon.