The repeat of inside the Titanic
Wednesday,3 pm and Saturday,11 am,Discovery Channel
A tiny pair of boots belonging to a three year old boy whose life was claimed by the Titanic on the fateful night of April 15,1913 lay unidentified as his body was put to rest in the cemetery with 100 others. And thats the lasting image that sticks with you long after the credits have rolled off Titanic: The Aftermath,a documentary that was part of a two-part series aired recently on Discovery Channel to commemorate the 100 years of one of the greatest human tragedies. Your heart also goes out to the 18 year old widow of John Jacob Astor,the richest man aboard the ship,whose son detested her and the baby in her womb. The boy baby came into the world long after his rich father was swallowed by the Atlantic Ocean but could never bridge the aristocratic gap between him and his older-by-a-generation half brother.Then there was Mary Costin,the fiancee of John Lock Hume,the 21 year old violinist of the band that continued to play as the ships inhabitants clung to a hope of returning alive! Humes body was later found as Body No. 193,though unidentified for a long time,by his disciplinarian father. Mary went on to fight for the rights of her baby girl born seven months after her father sank.
These and many more stories unfold in this 90 minute documentary based on Chris-topher Wards book And The Band Played On. Its a drama-tic,emotional recreation of the events that took place after the Titanic sank told through the stories of Hume by his grandson,Christopher Ward; John Barnstead,the descendant of the registrar at the Halifax,also called John Barnstead,who invented a new exhaustive methodology in Forensic Science,that of identification,numbering and effects…Interestingly,Barnstead who had no modern technology or any other scientific crutches to resort to,put together a system that is still used during mass disasters including 9/11. He would painstakingly record everything about the deceased right from the clothes they wore to the minutest of personal details. He also introduced the system of photographing dead bodies for families which couldnt afford to come down to identify their loved ones. These pictures would then be sent along with other details to their families. His sole purpose was closure for the families. Their loved ones deserved that respect.
The documentary,brilliantly researched and warmly shot,is a rich tribute to the 1500 passengers who were on board that fateful April night on the unsinkable ship.
The documentary is a cruel reminder of the three year old unidentified boy whose life was snuffed out that night. But its also a story of human compassion and grit,when the reward Astors young son announced to
whoever found his dead fathers body was evenly distributed by the rescue crew and later spent on the funeral of the three year old boy.