Plans for a memorial to local Titanic victim

Local Historian David Scott, with a copy of  The Belfast Newsletter dated 1828, with a tale of Rathfriland included.  Photo: Gary Gardiner.
Local Historian David Scott, with a copy of The Belfast Newsletter dated 1828, with a tale of Rathfriland included. Photo: Gary Gardiner.

THE Drumlough man who boarded the ill-fated Titanic and died in the Atlantic Ocean should never be forgotten, local representatives have said.

While the main events marking the ship’s construction, maiden voyage and eventual sinking will take place in Belfast, it is hoped Rathfriland will also feature among the commemmorations.

It is understood the council may get behind some kind of permanent memorial to Thomas Morrow, while his former Orange Lodge will mark the one hundredth anniversary of his death by unveiling a portrait of the past Worshipful Grand Master.

A member of the lodge said either a portrait or bannerette will be created not only to commemmorate Thomas and his Drumlough heritage but also to educate those in the local area.

“Thomas was probably the only Orangeman on board,” said the member. “We plan to dedicate a small bannerette or a portrait of Thomas which will be of great educational value for future generations and new members of the lodge.

“We want to ensure this man is not forgotten, having lived in this area for his young adult life. There are still some Bells in the lodge but we have lost the Morrow connection as it seems most of the family have died out. Hopefully this will ensure we never forget Thomas.”

Local UUP councillor Glenn Barr, a Rathfriland resident himself, said local people can help to ensure Thomas is remembered throughout the area.

“I want to do something to ensure this local man is remembered, and this year is especially important as it is the centenary of the Titanic’s sinking. It was the largest maritime disaster in peacetime and it is something which has since been made into a movie, numerous books have been written and there remains a real fascination into the ship’s sinking.

“For us to have had a local man aboard the ship is something we should be seeking to commemmorate and I will be bringing this to the next meeting of the council.

“So far the idea of a memorial bench has been put forward but nothing has been decided and I would welcome members of the public to bring forward any ideas they have for things we can do to mark 100 year’s since Thomas death on the ship.”

Mr Barr said there is also potential for tourism this year and in the future. “There will be people coming to Northern Ireland and we want them to come outside of Belfast and visit places like Rathfriland and hear stories like Thomas’.”