Nova Scotia Archives

RMS Titanic Resource Guide

Diary of Clifford Crease, mechanic on CS Mackay-Bennett

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Clifford "Cliff" Crease (1888-1961) was born in Halifax and, along with his nine siblings, grew up working in his father's Argyle Street grocery. After completing his schooling Crease became an artificer — a craftsman-in-training — at the Commercial Cable Company. He was placed as a crewman aboard the company’s Halifax-based ship, the CS Mackay-Bennett, a vessel designed to lay and repair telegraph cables under the Atlantic Ocean. The underwater cable system was the major communication link between Europe and North America.

On April 5, 1912, Crease celebrated his 24th birthday. Only a few weeks later he and the Mackay-Bennett crew were tasked with the recovery of bodies from the sinking of the RMS Titanic. His memories of this gruesome task are recorded in this seven-page diary. Crease was a pallbearer for the "Unknown Child" at St. George's Church in Halifax.

Crease received his nautical engineer’s certification in 1914 and served in the First World War with honour as a volunteer with the Royal Canadian Artillery where he traveled with campaigns through France and Belgium as Sergeant of Canada’s #1 Siege Battery. In his civilian career he served as stationery engineer with the Oland and Keith breweries. Following his death in 1961, Crease was laid to rest in Fairview Cemetery — only a few hundred feet away from 150 graves of Titanic victims.

Date: 17 April - 30 April 1912

Reference no.: Wilcox Family Nova Scotia Archives MG 1 vol. 2605 no. 4