A VIOLIN from the band which famously played on as the Titanic sank is to go on public display, having been discovered in an East Yorkshire attic.

The instrument was used by Wallace Hartley as the famous liner went down in 1912, but was returned to his fiancée. It was discovered in Bridlington and has now been verified as authentic.

The fiddle was thought to have been lost in the Atlantic in the disaster, but resurfaced in Bridlington after the sister of Mr Hartley’s fiancé Maria Robinson, who lived in the town, donated it along with its leather case to the Salvation Army on Miss Robinson’s death.

She told the Bridlington Salvation Army leader, a Major Renwick, about the instrument’s association with Titanic. He in turn gave it to one of his members, a local music and violin teacher. In the early 1940s, the current owner’s mother was a member of the Womens’ Auxiliary Air Force stationed at Bridlington where she met the music teacher who later gave it to her.

The unnamed owner inherited the violin and jewellery years later and contacted specialist Titanic auctioneers, Henry Aldridge and Son of Devizes, Wiltshire.

Mr Hartley and the other seven band members perished along with 1,500 passengers and crew when the ocean liner sank. He was only 34.
A newspaper report at the time said Mr Hartley was found fully dressed and with the instrument strapped to his body.

Some items of Mr Hartley’s jewellery, including the cigarette case, will be sold at auction in Devizes next month while the violin, said to be worth a six-figure sum, will go on public display at the Belfast City Hall, where Titanic was built, at the end of this month.