Once the massive loss of life became known, White Star Line chartered the cable ship CS Mackay-Bennett from Halifax Nova Scotia to retrieve bodies. Three other Canadian ships followed in the search: the cable ship Minia,lighthouse supply ship Montmagny
and sealing vessel Algerine
. Each ship left with embalming supplies, undertakers, and clergy. Of the 333 victims that were eventually recovered, 328 were retrieved by the Canadian ships and five more by passing North Atlantic steamships. The first body recovery ship to reach the site of the sinking, the cable ship CS Mackay-Bennett
found so many bodies that the embalming supplies aboard were quickly exhausted, and health regulations required that only embalmed bodies could be returned to port. Captain Larnder of the Mackay-Bennett
and undertakers aboard decided to preserve only the bodies of first class passengers, justifying their decision by the need to visually identify wealthy men to resolve any disputes over large estates. As a result, third class passengers and crew were buried at sea other then the Unknown Child. Bodies recovered were preserved for transport to Halifax, the closest city to the sinking with direct rail and steamship connections. The Halifax coroner, John Henry Barnstead, developed a detailed system to identify bodies and safeguard personal possessions. Relatives from across North America came to identify and claim bodies. A large temporary morgue was set up at MayFlower Curling Rink and undertakers were called in from all across Eastern Canada to assist.Some bodies were shipped to be buried in their home towns across North America and Europe. About two-thirds of the bodies were identified. Unidentified victims were buried with simple numbers based on the order in which their bodies were discovered. The majority of recovered victims, 150 bodies, were buried in three Halifax cemeteries, the largest being Fairview Lawn Cemetery (121) followed by the nearby Mount Olivet (19)and Baron de Hirsch (10) cemeteries..... And that's just the Tip of the Iceburg on the History and Stories of Historic Halifax,Nova Scotia.