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A gravestone that tells a bigger story

I have recently had the exciting opportunity to mix new technology with an old grave, in the form of a QR Code (quick response). This is a small square made up of little dots that works in a similar way to a barcode. When the code is scanned by a mobile phone, it will link up with a web page that gives further details. Anyone with a modern mobile phone can download a free 'app' for their phone, which will connect you to the information with one click.

I have had the code fitted to a simple granite flower vase on the family grave of the Witt and White families of Southampton, Hampshire. The grave contains the bodies of Ellen Witt (née Sillence), who died in 1911 and one of her daughters—Nellie Elizabeth Mary White (née Witt) who died in 1929 and Nellie's husband James Albert White, who died in 1928.

On the original stones, the family had also placed a small steel plaque to commemorate the loss of Ellen's son, Henry Dennis Win (known as Harry), on RIVIS Titanic. He was a crew member who worked as a fireman/stoker and his body was never recovered after the vessel sank on 15 April, 1912.

Some time before the 100th year commemorations last April, vandals struck in Southampton Old Cemetery and the plaque to Harry was removed, so I had a replacement steel plaque engraved and added to a granite flower vase to be placed on the burial plot, rather than have it re-attached to the original stones whirls are quite fragile now.

The QR code was provided by Chester-Pearce Funeral Directors. It is around two inches square and is engraved onto a small steel plaque. It is quite discrete, but when scanned it takes you to a web page giving lots of further information on Henry's life and ultimate death on Titanic. Obviously, with a whole page dedicated to his life there is the potential to give so much more information than is possible to fir onto a gravestone or plaque. And there's plenty of scope for family historians to give and gain lots of information, including photographs and family trees. I am excited to be a part of helping the memory of an otherwise forgotten Titanicvictim to remain alive and this new technology has helped me to do this in the most modern of ways as far as technology is concerned.