Small Lancashire cemetery which serves as the final resting place of the violinist who played during the sinking of the Titanic

There’s dedication to your profession, and then there’s Wallace Henry Hartley’s extreme level of professionalism as he died for his. The violinist is renowned for continuing to play his beloved instrument despite the panic and distress surrounding him as thousands of passengers realized the ‘unsinkable’ Titanic cruise ship was in fact sinking after hitting an iceberg that fateful night in 1912.

The Colne-born musician is depicted in the film version of the infamous 1997 tragedy as the conductor and utters the solemn words ‘gentlemen, it was a privilege to perform with you tonight’. But Wallace kept going and eventually the rest of the band didn’t stop playing either.

All eight members died doing what they loved, when the ship sank in freezing waters. Wallace was played by Jonathan Evans-Jones in the hit film, which starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.

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After getting into music thanks to his choirmaster father, at 33, Wallace signed on as bandleader on RMS Titanic for its maiden voyage across the Atlantic. According to Travel Atlas Obscura, which lists unusual and interesting landmarks and sights around the world, he left his fiancée Maria Robinson behind and will never see her again.

Her body was discovered two weeks after the sinking and surprisingly, her violin was found attached to her, according to Maria’s diary entries. It is understood that the band’s last song when the ship sank was “Nearer, My God, to Thee” and the anthem was later played at Wallace’s funeral in his home town and he was buried in Colne Cemetery .



The first bars of “Closer, my God, to you” are engraved on the tombstone

The first bars of the melody are carved into the base of his tombstone, along with the outline of a violin. Wallace’s violin sold for £1.29 million in 2013 by auctioneers Henry Aldridge & Son, who specialize in Titanic artefacts, collectibles and memorabilia.



File photo dated 01/01/1912 showing the Titanic.  A treaty between the UK and the US, announced today, gives countries the power to grant or deny licenses to enter sections of the sunken ship's hull and remove objects, the minister says maritime Nusrat Ghani.  PA photo.  Release date: January 20, 2020. See PA story SEA Titanic.  Photo credit should read: /PA Wire
The Titanic

You can visit the tombstone and find it by crossing the arch of the chapel, continue straight until the end of the road. Wallace’s instantly recognizable headstone will be on the left in the second row from the back.

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