The Titanic was one of the largest passenger ships at its time in 1912. It was captained by Edward John Smith.
After leaving Southampton on 10 April 1912, Titanic called at Cherbourg in France and Queenstown (now Cobh) in Ireland before heading westwards towards New York. There were many immigrants from Ireland on the ship.
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. Only to be dragged down with the bow, just before Hartley exclaimed : "Gentlemen, I bid you farewell!“
Today, April 15, 2013 is the centennial, the 101-year anniversary, of the sinking of the Titanic. A century has passed since one of history’s great last song was a hymn, “Nearer, My God to Thee”
…. … The violin used by Wallace Hartley as the band famously played 'Nearer, My God to Thee' as the Titanic sank was thought to have been lost in the 1912 disaster. After his body was recovered by the ship Mackay Bennett 10 days later, the violin wasn't listed by officials among the inventory of items found in his possession. A newspaper report later stated that Hartley was found fully dressed and with the instrument strapped to his body.
Their research appears to show that Hartley actually strapped around him his large leather valise - luggage case - in which he placed his violin moments before the sinking. On the silver pieces mounted upon the body of the violin are engraved the words : “For Wallace, on the day of our engagement - From Maria"
Miss Robinson had given it to Hartley in 1910 to mark their engagement and had it engraved accordingly. She had requested its return because of the emotional connection with him. Hartley's personal effects including his silver cigarette case and a gold signet ring were returned to his father, Albion Hartley. Mr Hartley Snr later gave these items to Miss Robinson, who never married.
One theory is that the bag and wooden item would have aided his buoyancy in the water. They also found the transcript of a telegram dated July 19, 1912 in the diary of Hartley's grieving fiancé, Maria Robinson, to the Provincial Secretary of Nova Scotia. It reads: "I would be most grateful if you could convey my heartfelt thanks to all who have made possible the return of my late fiancé's violin."
" We now know that minutes before the end he placed his beloved violin in this hard-wearing travelling case”.