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By Michelle Durham

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Quite a few of the victims of the RMS Titanic disaster, 100 years ago this week, are buried in a Philadelphia cemetery.

Gwen Kaminski, of Laurel Hill Cemetery, says the number of graves there underscores just how horrendous the event was.

“Because it happened so long ago, a lot people forget that this was not just a movie we see. This was a terrible tragedy,” she tells KYW Newsradio.

Kaminski says the names represented a “who’s who” of Philadelphia society at that time.

In the end, the recovered bodies each got an index card attached to it.  One was Philadelphia lawyer William Crothers Dulles.

“They noted what type of clothing he wore,” Kaminski says, “and also his personal effects — the gold watch and chain.  And on the clip was his initials, ‘WCD,’ and that is how they were able to identify him.”

dulles wm titanic durham Titantic at 100: Part 3 – Philadelphia Victims Laid To Rest

(Credit: Michelle Durham)


Kaminski says her heart goes out to Mrs. Eleanor Widener, who got into a lifeboat but had to leave her husband and son behind on the ship because it was women and children first (see related story).

“Knowing that this was possibly the last time you were going to see your loved one — if you weren’t going to die yourself,” she adds.

The bodies of her Mrs. Widener’s son and husband were never recovered, but they are memorialized with plaques inside the Widener mausoleum at Laurel Hill.

Read Part 1: “The Philadelphia Connections”

Read Part 2: “Philadelphia Survivors”

Listen to KYW Newsradio 1060 all week long for Michelle Durham’s entire series, highlighting the Philadelphia links with the RMS Titanic as we mark 100 years since that historic disaster.

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