A PRIEST who stood on the deck of the Titanic taking confessions and offering absolution as the liner sank, is being remembered at an Ongar church.

Father Thomas Byles left St Helen’s Church in Ongar High Street to board the Titanic to New York where he was due to officiate at his brother’s wedding.

After the ship struck an iceberg, he helped passengers into lifeboats and, according to eyewitnesses, twice refused to leave the sinking vessel.

The Staffordshire born cleric had been in Ongar for seven years where he humbly devoted himself to the congregation, even teaching boxing to local boys.

His body was never found, and a stained glass window in St Helen’s Church describes how he ‘earnestly devoted his last moments to the religious consolation of his fellow passengers'.

Today (April 15) as the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic is commemorated, a talk will be held about his life at St Helen’s.

The event which starts at 3pm will also include a short film.