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Saturday, 22 June, 2002, 15:32 GMT 16:32 UK
Titanic's 'last hero' laid to rest
The ship sank on 15 April 1912
Mr Johnston helped rescue Titanic survivors

The ashes of a South African man considered to be the last surviving hero of the rescue operation following the Titanic disaster will be scattered in the Indian Ocean on Saturday.

Herbert Johnston, who died last month aged 104, was an apprentice aboard the Carpathia, the ship which answered the distress call of the Titanic when it sunk after hitting an iceberg in 1912.

Although Mr Johnston's life spanned three centuries, he never shook off the memories of that terrible night in the North Atlantic.

As a 15-year-old apprentice aboard the Carpathia, he pulled survivors from lifeboats in freezing temperatures, and carried them onto the ship, which became a makeshift hospital.

Haunted

He said he would always be haunted by the sight of dozens of bodies, frozen solid but still floating in the sea.

Titanic
The Titanic now rests on the seabed
Herbert Johnston was born in London, but made South Africa his home after jumping ship from the Carpathia when it berthed in Cape Town.

He served in both world wars and outlived all the other crew members of the Carpathia.

His last wish was that his ashes be scattered at sea over the "sardine run", a dramatic migration of fish off the South African coast, which attracts huge numbers of sharks and dolphins, and takes place at this time of year.

See also:

15 Apr 02 | England
14 Apr 02 | UK
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