Wallace Hartleys Titanic letter back for sale

Issue 579

A LETTER by Dewsbury’s famous Titanic hero is up for sale again just a year after making £100,000.

The two-page document from Wallace Hartley to his parents is due to be sold tomorrow (Sat) by auctioneers in Wiltshire. It was bought only last April by an unnamed private investment consortium at an auction in the USA.

They could be set for a loss as the letter, written on Mr Hartley’s first day on the ill-fated voyage, is listed as worth up to £60,000.

Lancastrian Mr Hartley, of West Park Street, Dewsbury, was a Huddersfield Philharmonic star and the Titanic’s bandleader.

He and his troop of seven musicians carried on playing as the ship went down to keep passengers calm as they got into lifeboats.

They were swept under with the Titanic while reputedly playing the hymn Nearer My God to Thee.

Mr Hartley’s letter to his parents is dated April 10 1912, the voyage’s first day. He wrote: “We have a fine band and the boys seem very nice ... I shall probably arrive home on the Sunday morning.”

Another letter to his parents, recovered from Mr Hartley’s body and dated April 14, the day before the ship sank, is also up sale in Wiltshire. Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge, of Devizes-based Henry Aldridge and Sons, said the earlier letter is particularly important.

He said: “It mentions the band and alludes to the wealth on board – implying some of it would make its way to the band in the form of gratuities.

“This elevates the letter into perhaps the most desirable and important on-board Titanic letter in existence.”

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