Titanic's Bandmaster. Born in Colne, Lancashire, the son of Elizabeth and Albion Hartley, the choirmaster at Bethel Independent Methodist Chapel. He attended the Methodist day school, and took violin lessons from a member of the congregation. After leaving school, he took a job with Craven & Union Bank in Colne. He later joined the Huddersfield Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1903, joined the municipal orchestra in Bridlington. In 1909, he joined the Cunard Line as a musician, serving on the ocean liners RMS Lucania, RMS Lusitania and RMS Mauretania. In April 1912, he was assigned as bandmaster for the White Star Line ship RMS Titanic. On the night of April 14, as the Titanic was being abandoned, he and his fellow musicians were reported by witnesses to have taken up their instruments and stood on the boat deck, near the entrance to the grand staircase, by the base of the second funnel and performed as the life boats were loaded. Many survivors related that he and the band continued to play until the very end. Although their final number has never been confirmed, many reported is was “Nearer, My God, to Thee,” while wireless officer, Harold Bride, reported hearing the song “Autumn.” The band members were then swept away as the ship sank, none survived. Hartley’s body was recovered by the search ship Mackay-Bennett two weeks after the sinking, and returned to England. The subsequent funeral took place on 18 May 1912, when an estimated 30,000 people lined the route of the funeral procession. The following year, a memorial, which included a bust of the man, was erected in front of the Colne library, and was inscribed: Bandmaster of the RMS Titanic who perished in the foundering of that vessel, April 15th 1912. Erected by voluntary contributions to commemorate the heroism of a native of this town.
Bio by: Iola
"WALLACE HARTLEY- BANDMASTER OF THE R.M.S. TITANIC WHO PERISHED IN THE FOUNDERING OF THE VESSEL- APRIL 15TH 1912. ERECTED BY VOLUNTARY CONTRIBUTIONS TO COMMEMORATE THE HEROISM OF A NATIVE OF THIS TOWN.""IN LOVING MEMORY OF WALLACE HARTLEY, THE BELOVED SON OF ALBION AND ELIZABETH HARTLEY, FORMERLY OF COLNE, WHO LOST HIS LIFE IN THE S.S. TITANIC DISASTER OF APRIL 15TH 1912 AGED 33 YEARS AND WAS INTERRED ON MAY 18TH 1912."