The bravery of Wallace from my home town

Wallace Hartley, who led the musicians  on Titanic as the ship went down
Wallace Hartley, who led the musicians on Titanic as the ship went down
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I KNOW some people thought the amount of news coverage, docu-dramas, radio programmes etc relating to the 100th anniversary of Titanic’s sinking was over-kill but for me personally, I couldn’t get enough of it.

The more I watched, the more I wanted to know about the tragedy in which so many lives were so tragically lost.

And there was one particular story which touched me more than others - that of band leader Wallace Hartley.

His story is well documented. The 33-year-old was a talented violinist and the legend goes that when he realised Titanic would flounder, he instructed his little band of musicians to play on to try and calm the panic-stricken passengers fighting for the life-boats.

So they took their positions on the deck and went through a variety of tunes and melodies, and even as the stricken vessel broke in two and began to sink to the depths of the Atlantic Ocean, they played on.

Some reports say their final piece was Autumn (a tune requested by one of the passengers) or Nearer My God To Thee, a moving hymn, which was to played at Wallace’s own funeral.

The musicians held a joint ticket with their bunks being on E Deck, with a separate room for their instruments. There were eight of them altogether and they would usually split into a trio and a quintet (led by Wallace) which would play primarily in the First Class entrance on the Boat Deck or the First Class Lounge. All the musicians perished in the disaster, playing until the very end.

Maybe it’s because Wallace was a resident of my home town, Dewsbury, that I feel so moved by his story. But for me he was a real hero.