Sunday, April 15, 2012

And the band played on...Remembering one of the true heroes of the Titanic...

He left Southampton on 10 April 1912 as the owner of second classed ticket No 250654, courtesy of his employment for the music agency C.W. & F.N. Black, an organization that specialized in supplying entertainers for ocean liners. The return journey was of an entirely different nature, identified as Body no 224, described as a brown-haired male wearing a green-facing uniform, brown overcoat, black boots and green socks. Recovered by the Mackay-Bennett, Body no 224 travelled from Halifax to Boston, crossing the Atlantic, this time aboard the 'Arabic' to reach a final resting place in Colne, Lancashire. In between, he had been the Head Bandmaster aboard the Titanic. A veteran of some 80 Atlantic crossings, Wallace Henry Hartley's most prestigious assignment before the Titanic had been aboard the Mauretania, a vessel that returned to Liverpool mere days before the Titanic's maiden voyage. There were two separate musical units aboard the luxury ship, a trio comprising cello, violin and piano, and a larger quintet with which Hartley performed. Under normal circumstances, the two groupings had different duties, but on the night the Titanic hit the iceberg, bandmaster Wallace Henry Hartley assembled them to play, first in the First Class Lounge and later on the Boat Deck close to the Grand Staircase. It was the first and only occasion of the trip where the eight of them played together. Many agreed that their selfless act played a huge role in maintaining calm and order as the emergency evacuation of the Titanic took place and at least some of the passengers who did make it, owed their lives to the band who just kept playing. According to witnesses, Hartley's last words were "Gentlemen, I bid you farewell!" None of the musicians aboard the Titanic survived the voyage... In Hartley's home town of Colne, a plaque marks the house he grew up in and there is a 10 foot high monument featuring a carved violin - his instrument of choice. Over one thousand mourners attended his memorial service, and 40,000 more lined the route of the funeral procession, which featured seven bands. Today there are streets named after him and proud Colne residents continue to maintain his gravesite.

Do also visit this webpage dedicated to his memory for more info

(for anyone sharp enough to notice, i AM plagiarizing myself with this blogpost. I originally posted it almost a year ago on my Xomba profile)

Tribute videos:

No comments:

Post a Comment