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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Apr 2014

World

Violin played on sinking Titanic found
PTI
London, March 15, 2013
First Published: 19:30 IST(15/3/2013)
Last Updated: 19:32 IST(15/3/2013)
This handout picture received from Auctioneers, Henry Aldridge and Son shows the violin played during the final moments before the Titanic sank, displayed at the company's premises in Devizes ahead of its auction. AFP photo/Henry Aldridge and Son

The violin played on board the Titanic, as the doomed liner sank in the north Atlantic, has been found in an attic in the UK, and is set to fetch more than 400,000 pounds at an auction.

The wooden instrument, now unplayable, was used by leader of the band Wallace Hartley as it famously played on while the liner sank. It was thought to have been lost in the Atlantic in the 1912 disaster.

It wasn't until 2006 when the son of an amateur musician who had been casually given the instrument by her violin teacher unearthed it in the attic of her home in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

After seven years of testing by experts the water-stained violin has been proven to be the one played by Hartley on the night of the tragedy, The Telegraph reported.

There are two long cracks on its body that are said to have been opened up by moisture damage.

The corroded engraved silver plate screwed onto the base of the fiddle provided scientists with the key proof of its authenticity.

The historic violin, will go on public display at the Belfast City Hall, where Titanic was built, at the end of this month.

The instrument is also set to fetch more than 400,000 pounds at auction later this year, The Mirror reported.

Within minutes of Titanic striking an iceberg on April 14, 1912, Hartley was instructed to assemble the band and play music in order to maintain calm.

The eight musicians gallantly performed on the chilly boat deck of the Titanic while the passengers lined up for the lifeboats.

The band carried on until the bitter end, famously playing a final hymn of 'Nearer, My God, To Thee.'

Hartley, and the other seven band members, perished along with 1,500 passengers and crew when the luxurious vessel sank on April 15.

After his body was recovered by the ship the Mackay Bennett 10 days later, the violin wasn't listed by officials among the inventory of items found in his possession.

But in 2006 an un-named man unearthed the instrument which was contained in a leather suitcase in the attic of his mother's home.

It emerged that it had been passed down to his amateur musician mother via her violin teacher who herself was given it by the Salvation Army in Bridlington, East Yorks.

Experts discovered the sister of Hartley's fiancee Maria Robinson had donated the battered valise and violin to the Salvation Army following her death in 1939.


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