The story of the Titanic is well known, how the “unsinkable” ship sank on her maiden voyage after hitting an iceberg. Many acts of heroism were performed that day, as the men gave up their seats for women and children in the boats, but no action is more famous than that of the band. They famously played on as the ship sank, encouraging the passengers and crew reportedly with the song Nearer by God to Thee. When the ship finally sank, not one of the band survived the icy waters. However, a violin was pulled from those icy waters, and it was recently proved to be the violin of the bandmaster, Wallace Henry Hartley.
Hartley was only 33 when he died on the Titanic. He was from England, and had been raised in the church and had followed his father into music. He had served on several ships before being assigned as bandmaster for the eight musicians aboard the Titanic. Hartley was engaged to Maria Robinson, and she had given him the violin. When Hartley and the other musicians could no longer play because of the rising water, he jumped into the water using the violin and it’s leather case as a life jacket. When his body was recovered from the frigid water, his violin was forwarded to his fiancée.
Scientists examining the violin have recently confirmed after years of study that they believe it to be genuine. You can see more pictures at The Daily Mail.