At the shrill sound of a ship's whistle in the North Atlantic, relatives of some of the more than 1,500 people who died when the Titanic sank after hitting an iceberg remembered their ancestors in a poignant ceremony a century later.

poignant: 辛酸的;惨痛的

On a still, starry night and with little glare from the moon, the memorial cruise ship MS Balmoral floated above the wreckage of the famous 'unsinkable' luxury liner precisely 100 years to the day it foundered.

"At 2:20 am all was quiet, as it would have been 100 years ago when it went deathly quiet, when the screaming stopped," British Titanic historian Philip Littlejohn told the reporters on Sunday. Littlejohn's grandfather, Alexander Littlejohn, was a 1st class steward in charge of lifeboat 13 when the ship began to go down.

About 700 people were rescued that night, including his grandfather, but there were too few lifeboats to save the rest.

David Haisman, 74, a retired seaman from the English port town of Southampton, mourned the loss of his grandfather who had been on his way to Seattle to start a new life in the United States with his wife and daughter.

"I've been brought up with the story but now I could feel it," he said.

bring up:教育;养育

"My mother used to tell me how she got into lifeboat 14 and her feet became soaked with the 3 to 4 inches of water that remained in the bottom despite bailing."
The last time she saw her father was when he cupped his hands and shouted "I'll see you in New York".

The story of the world's most famous maritime disaster has gripped the world's imagination, inspiring Hollywood films.

maritime disaster:海上灾难

While some of those on board the memorial cruise were relatives of the victims, others had paid thousands of pounds in order to retrace the vessel's fateful journey from Southampton to New York.

The ship, the biggest in the world at the time, foundered in frigid Atlantic waters off Newfoundland on April 15, 1912.

On Saturday, Balmoral's ship's whistle pierced the air at 11.40 pm, the exact time the Titanic hit the iceberg, followed by a two-minute silence.

Most of Balmoral's 1,300 passengers then squeezed onto the deck for a service and hymns, and to watch three wreaths be thrown into the calm waters at 2.20am Sunday morning, the moment she sank.