Captain Richard Woodman laying a wreath
Captain Richard Woodman laying a wreath

Thousands of people across Lichfield have marked the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic.

The events culminated on Sunday (April 15) with a memorial service held in Lichfield’s Museum Gardens at the foot of the statue of Edward John Smith, captain of the Titanic.

The Revd Dr Pete Wilcox, Canon Chancellor of Lichfield Cathedral, led the service that was attended by more than 500 people. It featured prayers, music from Staffordshire Young Musicians, and poetry read by Lichfield City Council’s Town Clerk, Peter Young.

Captain Richard Woodman laying a wreath
Captain Richard Woodman laying a wreath

During the service, wreaths were laid by Lichfield District Council, the British Titanic Society, the Corporation of Trinity House, and the Titanic Heritage Trust.

Councillor Louise Flowithsaid: “As the home of a statue of Captain Smith, It was fitting that Lichfield District honoured the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic and the tragic loss of so many lives.

“The service was a time to reflect on how terrible it must have been to be aboard the ship, and know there was nothing you could do to save yourself or your family. The ceremony was both moving and poignant, and I was proud we could help to organise it.”

Mary Hutchinson, from the Lichfield Titanic Commemoration Group, added: “Among the wreaths, two were laid in memory of two divers, Carl Spencer and Andrew Wight, whose invaluable work diving on the Titanic for filming and research purposes has told us much of what we know about the stricken ship.”

Earlier in the weekend, more than 300 people gathered to watch a ship’s flare being released from behind the statue of Captain Smith.

In a short service, 1,523 tea lights were also laid at the foot of the statue by Stafford and Rugeley Sea Cadets, while music from the time was played by a lone violinist, Jordan Taylor. The event was organised by Muddled Up Events, in partnership with Lichfield District Council.

Steve Golby, from Muddled Up events, said: “We were really pleased to arrange the event and touched by the hundreds of people who turned up to remember the Titanic and all those who died in the disaster 100 years ago.”

Other events that took place included an evening of lively dance and song to honour the passengers in steerage, a screening of a Night to Remember, a first class dinner and dance at Swinfen Hall Hotel. Events also took place at Lichfield Library, Lichfield Heritage Centre and Beacon Park.

“I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who came to help commemorate the Titanic anniversary,” said Cllr Flowith. “I think Lichfield district has paid a proud and fitting salute to RMS Titanic and everyone who sailed with her.”