The sinking of the RMS Titanic on April 14, 1912 cost 1,514 lives. CS Mackay-Bennett’s mission was to recover the bodies of the victims. Of the 1,514 casualties, only 337 bodies were found, and the Mackay-Bennett was responsible for 306 of them. However, this number was still too high and the Mackay-Bennett soon did not have enough embalming equipment. It was a huge problem for the crew, because under current health legislation, only embalmed bodies could be sent back to shore … which meant that, unless a solution was found, the Mackay-Bennett could not return to the port.
Captain F.W. Lardner made a decision based on a very cold logic and decreed that only the bodies of first and second class passengers (identified by their clothing) would be embalmed. Third-class passengers and the ship’s crew would be buried at sea.
Of the 306 people recovered, 97 third-class passengers and crews were sent to the depths, while 209 first- and first-class passengers were brought back to Halifax and bereaved by their families. When asked why only the richest passengers had been brought back, especially since it might have been decided by a blind lottery, Captain Lardner replied that they were given priority because their may be necessary to settle disputes over estates:
“No major men were rehired to the depths, it seemed better to embalm as quickly as possible in cases where large properties could be involved.” It seemed better to be sure to bring the dead or dead back to earth. could give rise to such issues as large insurance and estates and all disputes. ”