Wallace Hartley: Titanic bandmaster letter at auction

Wallace Hartley's letter
Image caption Experts estimate the letter will fetch between £50,000 and £60,000

A letter written by the bandmaster of the Titanic who played as the doomed ship sank is to be sold at auction.

Wallace Hartley, 33, from Colne in Lancashire, is famous for playing on with his band as the ship sank in an effort to keep the passengers calm.

A letter he wrote to his parents on the day the Titanic set sail on its maiden voyage from Southampton will go under the hammer on 20 April.

Experts estimate the letter will fetch between £50,000 and £60,000.

The letter, to be auctioned at Henry Aldridge and Son in Devizes, Wiltshire, is written on White Star Line headed paper, the on-board Titanic stationery.

It reads: "Just a line to say we have got away all right. It's been a bit of a rush but I am just getting a little settled.

Image caption Wallace Hartley was born in Colne, Lancashire

"This is a fine ship & there ought to be plenty of money on her.

"I've missed coming home very much & it would have been nice to have seen you all if only for an hour or two, but I couldn't manage it.

"We have a fine band & the boys seem very nice.

"I have had to buy some linen & I sent my washing home today by post.

"I shall probably arrive home on the Sunday morning. We are due here on the Saturday. I'm glad mother's foot is better.

"With love to all, Wallace."

Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge said: "We are unaware of any other surviving letter written by Hartley on board the ship.

"This letter which mentions the band and alludes to the wealth on-board the ship - implying that some of it would make its way to the band in the form of gratuities."

The Titanic luxury passenger liner left Southampton on 10 April 1912 on the start of a journey that ended in tragedy in the cold North Atlantic on the 14 -15 April, later with the loss of more than 1,500 lives.

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