Lifeboat no. 2 - By Len Bourret
As we cruised on the Oceanic, suddenly and inexplicably, we found a deck chair floating in the water. Beside the deck chair, we retrieved the body of a young boy floating amongst the wreckage. The child was about two years of age. In the young boy's pocket, we found an unidentifiable note, simply stating: "No identification. No effects."
The little boy's hands seemed to frantically clutch a ship's plaque, which bore an inscription: Lifeboat #2. After our discovery, we were so shaken that we emotionally sobbed, audibly and visibly.
When we returned to port at Halifax, we did some extensive research at the maritime library and museum, only to discover a disconcerting report of an unidentified boy found floating in the icy waters of April, 1912.
On May 4th of 1912, a little boy found by the crewmembers of the Mackay-Bennett was laid to rest, and hundreds of mourners from Halifax and the surrounding area, filled St. George's Anglican Church. They wanted to pay their respects to the little, unidentified boy. People all around the globe, grieved for the lost soul of a little boy, whose life was cut short at such a young age.
Prior to the little boy's funeral, the White Star Line has been inundated by gracious offers to pay for the funeral costs. Captain Lardner, and six crew members from the Mackay-Bennett, were granted their offer to bury the little boy, who had so touched their hearts. They sadly carried the young child's tiny, white coffin. Emotionally sobbing, audibly and visibly, they transported the little boy from his watery grave. The coffin, covered with flowers, was laid to rest in Fairview Cemetery, along with other victims from the Titanic. The little boy's tombstone, made of granite, bears this inscription: "Erected to the memory of an unknown child, whose remains were discovered after the disaster to the Titanic, April 15th, 1912".
Six weeks of searching, by four different ships, resulted in the recovering of 325 dead. Out of that number 116 -- including the little boy's mother --, were buried at sea. Of the 209 victims brought back to Halifax, only 59 were claimed, and to this day,128 remain unidentified.
What was the connection between the little boy and lifeboat #2? It appears that the little boy and his mother were aboard the lifeboat. But what happened to lifeboat #2? This will probably remain, forever, a mystery unsolved.
Could this have been a little boy's spirit returning from the grave, and searching for his long-lost mother? Although uncertain, the little boy was found floating, where best accounts indicate his mother has been buried at sea. We felt compelled, then, to return the little boy to the sea. And, we could see the little boy's face smiling, as his body slowly slipped into the ocean, and was re-united in his loving mother's arms.
The little boy's tombstone is still at Fairview Cemetery, but one thing is certain: a young child has been returned to his loving mother's arms. We are confident that the little boy's soul and spirit have returned to the sea.
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