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Thread: Heroism At Sea

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

    In April 1912, Hartley was assigned to be the bandmaster for the White Star Line ship RMS Titanic.

    After the Titanic hit an iceberg and began to sink on April 14, 1912, the 34-year-old was instructed to assemble the band and play music in order to maintain calm. The eight musicians gallantly performed on the deck while passengers lined up for 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. One survivor who clambered aboard 'Collapsible A' claimed to have seen Hartley and his band standing on the boat deck, near the entrance to the grand staircase, near the base of the second funnel. He went on to say that he saw three of them washed off while the other five held on to the railing on top the Grand Staircase's deckhouse, only to be dragged down with the bow, as 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."


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