I WAS pleased to read recently that the composer Peter Young has written a new violin concerto on the life of Wallace Hartley, leader of the band on the Titanic.
Hartley was born in Colne, Lancashire, but also lived in Hudersfield, Leeds and Dewsbury.
It is said that the band played the hymn Nearer My God To Thee as the Titanic sank, and that his body was found holding on to his violin.
In her book, The Story of Wallace Hartley, Yvonne Carroll quotes a tribute to him from the Dewsbury Reporter: “His courage and calmness have touched the imagination of men and women in all parts of the world.”
On May 12 and 19 1912, two concerts were held at Dewsbury Town Hall to raise money for a memorial.
Also in Dewsbury, a memorial service was held at St Mark’s Church, which stood on the main road at the corner of West Park Street, where the Hartley family lived.
A bronze plaque was placed on the wall at St Mark’s Church with the names of the bandsmen and the words, ‘Greater love hath no man that lay down his life for his friends.’
This year is the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. It seems quite apt that the people of Dewsbury should remember Wallace Hartley and his band.