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WALLACE HENRY HARTLEY


Information taken from Wikipedia - view license

Wallace Henry Hartley (2 June 1878  – 15 April 1912) was an English violinist and bandleader on the RMS Titanic on its maiden voyage. He became famous for leading the eight member band as the ship sank on 15 April 1912.

[edit] Life and career

Wallace Hartley was born in Colne, Lancashire, and later moved to Dewsbury, West Yorkshire. In school he learned to play the violin and in 1909 began working on Cunard Line ocean liners, primarily on the RMS Mauretania. In 1912 Hartley worked for the music agency C.W. & F.N. Black, which supplied musicians for Cunard and the White Star Line.

In April of that year Hartley was assigned to be the bandmaster for the White Star Line ship RMS Titanic. He was at first hesitant to again leave his fiancée, Maria Robinson, to whom he had recently proposed, but Hartley decided that working on the maiden voyage of the Titanic would give him possible contacts for future work.

[edit] Sinking of the Titanic

After the Titanic hit an iceberg and began to sink, Hartley and his fellow band members started playing music to help keep the passengers calm as the crew loaded the lifeboats. Many of the survivors said that he and the band continued to play until the very end. None of the band members survived the sinking and the story of them playing to the end became a popular legend (but sometimes mocked in popular culture). One survivor who clambered aboard Collapsible A claimed to have seen Hartley and his band standing just behind the first funnel, by the Grand Staircase. He went on to say that he saw three of them washed off while the other two held on to the railing on top the Grand Staircase's deckhouse, only to be dragged down with the bow, just before Hartley exclaimed, "Gentlemen, I bid you farewell!" A newspaper at the time reported "the part played by the orchestra on board the Titanic in her last dreadful moments will rank among the noblest in the annals of heroism at sea."

A memorial to the Titanic's musicians in Southampton, featuring Wallace Hartley's name

While the final song played by the band is unknown, "Nearer, My God, to Thee" has gained popular acceptance. Former bandmates claimed that Hartley said he would either play "Nearer, My God, to Thee" or "O God, Our Help in Ages Past" if he was ever on a sinking ship, but Walter Lord's book A Night to Remember popularized wireless officer Harold Bride's account of hearing the song "Autumn". It is believed Bride meant either the hymn called "Autumn" or "Songe d'Automne," a popular song at the time.

Hartley's body was recovered by the Mackay–Bennet as body number 224 almost two weeks after the sinking. He was transferred to the Arabic and sent to England. One thousand people attended his funeral, while 40,000 lined the route of his funeral procession. He is buried in Colne where a 10-foot monument, containing a carved violin at its base, was erected in his honour. Hartley's large Victorian terraced house in West Park Street, Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, bears a blue plaque to remind passers-by that this was the bandleader's home. As of 2001, Hartley's name was still being used when naming new streets and housing in the town of Colne.

Hartley was portrayed by Jonathan Evans-Jones in the 1997 blockbuster Titanic.

[edit] External links



Information taken from Wikipedia - view license

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wallace_Hartley

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