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Saturday, 01 November 2014

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Workington man welcomes Titanic replica plan

A west Cumbrian relative of the Titanic founder has welcomed news that a replica of the doomed ship will be built.

Thomas Henry Ismay  photo
Thomas Henry Ismay

Australian billionaire Clive Palmer has unveiled controversial plans for a “full-scale re-creation” of the ill-fated cruise ship which sank a century ago.

Cliff Ismay, 56, of Crosthwaite Court, Workington, believes he is a “most likely” a fifth cousin of the Maryport born Thomas Henry Ismay who founded the White Star Line.

Thomas Henry’s son – the director of the company – also survived the Titanic’s fateful maiden voyage.

Titanic II, which could sail as early as 2016, has been criticised, with a relative of the ship’s captain saying it was in “poor taste”.

Mr Ismay, a semi-retired electrician, originally had “mixed feelings” about the plans but has since come around to the idea.

He said: “I first heard about it almost a year ago. Being in Titanic circles I heard about it early on.

“Considering over 1,500 lives were lost on that fateful day I was quite disturbed by the idea.

“But many months later I have considered it and think it’s a good one – so long as proper respect is given to those who lost their lives.

“It would be nice to see it reborn and sailing the seas once again.”

He added: “I would love to be given the opportunity to board the Titanic II on its maiden voyage but I haven’t been invited.”

John Whitwell, the Maryport Maritime Museum historian, also welcomed the plans on the proviso that it was done sensitively.

He said: “I think it would be a very good idea, and will attract a lot of customers. People will be curious.”

Mr Whitwell, 70, added that he regularly fielded calls from all over the world from people who were interested in the Titanic and the maritime history of Maryport.

More than 1,500 people died when the Titanic hit an iceberg on 14 April 1912 and sank the following morning.

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