Lot 224: R.M.S. TITANIC

Henry Aldridge & Son

April 21, 2018
Devizes, United Kingdom

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Description: Important photographic archive belonging to R. D. "Westy" Legate 4th officer of the C.S. Mackay-Bennett, a cable laying ship that took part in the recovery of over 300 bodies of those lost on the Titanic, including that of bandleader Wallace Hartley. Material relating to the Mackay Bennett and this chapter in her history is extremely scarce. However this archive comes directly from an officer onboard during the Titanic recovery mission, making it exceptionally important. Principal an original photograph of Titanic victims onboard the deck of the Mackay-Bennett. Rev. Hind can clearly be seen in the foreground conducting a burial service and crewmen can be observed consigning a body into the ocean. A canvas bag for body number 177 can clearly be seen. This photo illustrates the horrific conditions that would have been experienced on deck. Handwritten notation to border. Reverend Hind presided over 166 bodies buried at sea aboard the Mackay-Bennett. He indicated that for each body, he would offer the same prayer: For as much as it has pleased Almighty God to take unto Himself the soul of our dear brother departed, we therefore commit his body to the deep to be turned to corruption; looking for the resurrection of the body (when the sea shall give up her dead) and the life of the world come, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who shall change our vile body, that it may be like unto His glorious body, according to the mighty working whereby He is able to subdue all things to Himself. Despite the number of bodies buried at sea, visual records of the burial and service, such as this photograph, are almost non-existent, even in period publications. Reverend Hind found it curious that White Star would have chartered the Mackay-Bennett to recover the bodies while not sending a company agent to accompany the vessel. This was the case for all the vessels chartered by the company for this purpose. Body No. 177, the number which can be seen stencilled onto the canvas bag in the image, pertained to crewman William Peter Mayo. 4½ins. x 4ins.The photograph is contained within a period album of personal and other marine images. The archive also includes a number of photographs of Legate. two in uniform (11). includes two albums full of photographs. A superb collection.
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