Titanic's Famous Musicians
The seven members shown above (band member Roger Bricoux is missing), are the band members of the Titanic. The members were: (Left to Right):
Fred Clarke of Liverpool
All eight of these men perished when the Titanic sank. They will be forever remembered by their acts of courage that fateful night.
The music was cheerful and gay. The selections were mostly ragtime and gave the impression to the passengers on deck that all was under control, there was no need to panic. Many of the survivors expressed their gratitude to the Titanic band for helping to maintain an air of decorum during the scramble for the lifeboats. Others have criticized the band for playing. Some felt that having the band on deck gave people a false impression that things weren't that bad and it caused many to take the situation lightly, thus preventing many from entering the life boats. This argument is left to conjecture, but what is known is that the band's music did help to soothe the passengers and most likely prevented panic as the last of the boats were leaving.
At 2:00 A.M. the last boat, Collapsible D, left the ship. It was now 2:05 A.M. more than 1,500 people were still aboard. The Titanic sank lower and lower at the bow, and stern began to rise out of the water. There was little time now. The band continued to play. The deck became so steep that bandmaster Hartley released the musicians from duty. Alone, he began the first notes of a simple hymn. One by one the bandsmen, choosing not to leave joined in. It was the last song the band would play and the last song survivors heard before the boat broke into two pieces. Minutes later the entire band was washed away by a sudden wave as the Titanic made it's last plunge.
On May 18, 1912, the body of bandmaster Wallace Hartley was laid to rest in what some called "pageantry beyond belief." 30,000 mourners packed the streets of Colne, Hartley's birthplace in the hills of Lancashire. Seven bands played as his rosewood casket was carried throughout the streets. Musicians, Aldermen, police, clergy, miners and the curious were all there to pay their respects to this Titanic hero. The world came to thank Hartley for his courage and for the courage of the other band members for their willingness to stay on deck and play, even while the Titanic was taking her last dive. Their courage and bravery was not in vain. The world that day said thank you.
Copyright 2001 WebTitanic
WebTitanic Editor | Karl Metelko