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On the April morning that the Titanic sailed from Southampton back in 1912, the Mission to Seafarers' Southampton chaplain was one of the last to leave the vessel, having been invited aboard to spend time with the crew. The Mission's report from 1912 observes that its Committee is " ...glad that one of the last to come ashore from the big ship as she cast off from Southampton on her ill-fated voyage was the chaplain of the Mission, who, with the lay reader, had visited all parts of the vessel and had had quiet talks and readings and prayer with men of all grades, in cabins and foc's'les, and they cannot but believe that the message delivered that morning ere the ship sailed, was a source of consolation and comfort and courage to some of those men and lads when they were called upon to face the dread ordeal of the last hour on that sinking ship. The noble tradition of the sea, that the helpless should first be saved, was splendidly upheld. The captain, the officers, the engineers and the crew, showed the chivalrous heroism and splendid discipline of their profession, and sad indeed as the catastrophe was, the spirit in which it was met makes us proud of our sailors, and makes us feel thast they are worthy of the best that we can give them "
Shipwreck, piracy, storms...today's 1.2 million sailors, many of them from the poorer nations, still have one of the loneliest and most dangerous jobs on the planet, and the Mission operates in some 230 ports around the globe to give them support, practical and emergency assistance, and to take up their justice and welfare causes. It seems fitting that the memorial voyage will help the Mission, which was there for the crew of the Titanic, to be there for other crews a hundred years on.