OTD: Last body recovered from RMS Titanic

On today’s date in 1912, the body of James McGrady, a saloon steward aboard the RMS Titanic, was interred in Halifax, N.S., where he’s buried at Fairview Lawn Cemetery.

Recovered in the preceding weeks, McGrady’s body would be the last body recovered from the tragic sinking that had taken place about two months prior.

According to Premier Exhibitions’ Titanic artifact exhibition, the Algerine arrived back in St. John’s, N.L. earlier in the week, on June 6, 1912, when it transferred McGrady’s remains to the steamer Florizel to be transferred to Halifax. The Algerine spent about three weeks at the site of the sinking.

McGrady, 27, was born around 1895 to parents James Sr., a railway worker, and Ann Higgins. The elder McGrady died before his son was born, and Higgins later remarried to a local farmer named Tom Savage.

When he was 16 years old, the younger McGrady went to sea. When he boarded the Titanic on April 6, 1912, he gave his address as the Platform Tavern in Southampton, England. His last ship had been the Oceanic, for which he worked as a first class steward and received a monthly wage of £3 and 15 schillings.

McGrady’s body was the last to be recovered and was listed as #330; however, only 328 bodies were ever recovered by Canadian ships (and five additional bodies by passing North Atlantic steamships, according to Jürgen Prommersberger and Morgan Robertson’s recent book, The Wreck of the Titan & The Titanic Disaster April 15, 1912).

This 50-cent coin is colourized and plated in silver.

2012 TITANIC COIN

In 2012, to mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the TitanicRoyal Canadian Mint featured the colossal vessel on three commemorative coins.

$10 Fine silver coin designed by Yves Bérubé depicts the vessel travelling westward on its doomed maiden voyage alongside the iceberg that sealed its fate and with the Atlantic Ocean in its wake. Inscriptions on the coin include “CANADA,” the face value, the year-date, the words “RMS TITANIC” and the nautical coordinates at which Titanic sank, “41°44, 49°57.” With a mintage of 20,000 pieces, this hand-polished coin has a mirror-like Proof finish, a weight of 15.87 grams and a diameter of 34 mm.

Also designed by Yves Bérubé, the second coin—a colourized and silver-plated 50-cent Proof piece—depicts a different view of the Titanic with the Atlantic below in shades of blue and yellow. Inscribed is “CANADA,” the face value, the year-date, and “RMS TITANIC.” This coin has a weight of 32.82 grams, a 42-mm diameter and a mintage of 15,000 pieces.

This 25-cent coin shows both a nighttime scene (top) as well as a daytime (bottom) scene, both featuring the Titanic.

The third piece is a colourized 25-cent Specimen coin designed by Three Degrees Creative Group. It features two contrasting scenes of the legendary vessel—one with day-time colours and the other a night scene. Inscriptions include “CANADA,” the face value and the years “1912-2012.” The Mint didn’t set an official mintage limit for this coin, instead offering it “while supplies last.” This coin has a weight of 12.51 grams and a 35-mm diameter.

“The Royal Canadian Mint is proud to commemorate Canada’s history, culture and values with special collector coins. Canada is forever linked with the story of the RMS Titanic through the efforts of Canadian ships that took part in recovery operations and by the memory of the lives lost that rest peacefully in Halifax cemeteries,” said Ian Bennett, then Mint president and CEO, upon unveiling the coins coins at Halifax’s Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in 2012.

The obverse of each coin depicts Susanna Blunt effigy of Queen Elizabeth II.

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