Image, courtesy Henry Aldridge and Son

The image has been plucked from an archive belonging to R D ‘Westy’ Legate, an officer on a cable-laying ship that was involved in the recovery of hundreds of bodies following the tragedy in April 1912 that claimed the lives of more than 1,500.

A spokesman for auctioneers Henry Aldridge and Son in Wiltshire, where the photo is expected to fetch £3,000-£5,000 on 19 October, said: ‘It’s a rare image, as it not only gives us a snapshot into one of the less well known chapters of the story but it also dispels the myth of the process being an ordered one – with bodies piled two or three high, in sacks on deck…

‘Reverend Hind can be clearly seen clearly in the foreground conducting a burial service and crewmen can be observed consigning a body to the ocean.’

The Devizes auction house added: ‘Despite the number of bodies buried at sea, visual records of the burial and service, such as this photograph, are almost non-existent, even in period publications.’