The Musicians of the RMS Titanic all perished with the ship when it sank in 1912. They played music, intending to calm the passengers, for as long as they possibly could and all went down with the ship. All were recognized for their heroism.
The ship's eight-member orchestra boarded at Southampton and travelled as Second Class passengers. They were not on the payroll of the White Star Line, but were contracted to White Star by the Liverpool firm of C.W. & F.N. Black, who placed musicians on almost all British liners. Until the night of the sinking, the orchestra performed as two separate entities: a quintet led by violinist and official bandleader Wallace Hartley, that played at teatime, after-dinner concerts, and Sunday services, among other occasions; and the violin, cello and piano trio of Roger Bricoux, George Krins and Theodore Brailey, that played at the À La Carte Restaurant and the Café Parisien.
They stayed in the 2nd class area of the ship on E Deck. Their cabin was close to the aft 2nd class staircase.
The story of the musicians is one of the most famous stories of Titanic. On April 15th, Titanic's eight-member band, led by Wallace Hartley, had assembled in the First Class Lounge in an effort to keep passengers calm and upbeat. Later they would move on to the forward half of the boat deck. Band members had played during Sunday worship services the previous morning, and the band continued playing music even when it became apparent the ship was going to sink. None of the band members survived the sinking, and there has been much speculation about what their last song was. Some witnesses said the final song played was the hymn Nearer, my God, to Thee. However, there are three versions of this song in existence. It is notable however that its most probable the British version was played (as in the film, A Night To Remember), causing a young Eva Hart to run out of church some months after the sinking, when she recognized the same version of the hymn from that night. Hartley reportedly said to a friend if he was on a sinking ship "Nearer, My God, to Thee" would be one of the songs he would play. Walter Lord's book popularized wireless operator Harold Bride’s account that before the ship sank, he heard the song Autumn (a hymn similar to the former but contains the maritime line about "mighty waters"). It is considered Bride either meant the hymn called Autumn or Songe d'Automne, a popular ragtime song of the time. Others claimed they heard Roll out the Barrel.
Hartley's body was one of those recovered and identified. Considered a hero, his funeral in England was attended by thousands.
List of musicians
|Brailey, Mr. W. Theodore Ronald||24||London, England||Pianist||–|
|Krins, Mr. Georges Alexandre||23||Spa, Belgium||Violinist||–|
|Bricoux, Mr. Roger Marie||20||Cosne-sur-Loire, France||Cellist||–|
|Clarke, Mr. John Frederick Preston||30||Liverpool, Lancashire, England||Bassist||202MB|
|Hartley, Mr. Wallace Henry||33||Colne, Lancashire, England||Bandmaster||224MB|
|Hume, Mr. John Law "Jock"||21||Dumfries, Scotland||Violinist||193MB|
|Taylor, Mr. Percy Cornelius||32||London, England||Cellist||–|
|Woodward, Mr. John Wesley||32||Oxford, England||Cellist||–|
The eight musicians all collected together in the First Class Lounge to play ragtime, in an attempt to prevent panic. It worked out too well: many passengers refused to board the lifeboats.
- "Titanic's Band or Orchestra". Titanic-Titanic.com. http://www.titanic-titanic.com/titanic_band.shtml/. Retrieved 31 July 2007.
- "Gospel Song Lyrics" (with hymn "Autumn"), Events-in-Music.com, webpage: EIMcom-hymn: hymn "Autumn" contains lines "Hold me up in mighty waters, Keep my eyes on things above..."