Titanic Passengers

Information regarding Titanic's passengers and Crew.

Wallace Hartley

Wallace Henry Hartley was born on June 2, 1878 at 92 Greenfield Road, Colne, Lancashire, England.


Name: Wallace Henry Hartley
Year of Registration: 1878 
Quarter of Registration: Jul-Aug-Sep 
District: Burnley 
County: Lancashire, West Riding Of Yorkshire 
Volume: 8e 
Page: 294

He was the son of Albion Hartley and Elizabeth Foulds. Albion and Elizabeth had married in the summer of 1874.

Wallace was introduced to music at an early age, his father was choir master at the local Methodist chapel. By the time Wallace was 15 he was already used to giving solo performances on the violin.

He did have a brief career as a bank clerk, but soon the calling of a musician occurred and he found himself playing on board a transatlantic liner.

The year of 1912 found him being headhunted by the White Star Line to be band leader on Titanic.

On the night of the sinking, April 14-15, 1912, Wallace and band members formed up on deck near the entrance to the first class grand staircase. It would seem that they wanted to help keep things calm by playing a mixture of lively tunes for the passengers. By many accounts they were certainly well received and after the event, their bravery in continuing to play despite the danger was very much appreciated.

Shortly before the end of the ship came many of those still on board and many afloat in the life-boats said that they heard the piece of music ‘Nearer, my God, to thee’.

However the debate regarding this has carried on since that fateful night, some believed that the tune was ‘Song d’automme’, the second wireless operator, Harold Bride, was one of those who thought so for example. Where as Titanic first class passenger, May Futrelle, thought neither was played.

Personally, I feel one of those two pieces was played, there seems to be too many witnesses to point to otherwise. But which piece?

As none of the band members survived we will never know. But to keep the debate alive I think it is worth noting that in an edition of the Colne and Nelson Times, published at the time of Walace Hartley’s funeral, an "old Colne Lad" reported that he had at one time been in conversation with Wallace during which Mr. Hartley had told him that if he ever found himself on a sinking ship he would play ‘Nearer, my God, to thee’.

Wallace Henry Hartley and his entire band, were lost that night, many have hailed them heroes for bravely playing until the end, in order to keep everyone’s spirits up.

Two weeks after the sinking, Wallace’s body was recovered by the Mackay-Bennett cable ship, pressed into service by the White Star Line, in order to search for bodies. From the MANITOBA FREE PRESS 3 MAY, 1912;

The identification of Frederick H,
Hartley, the Titanic’s band-master
was verified last night. Among his
effects was found his music-case. This
with his uniform, will be forwarded
to New York

On the18 May, 1912 he was buried in home town of Colne, Lancashire, he was 33.

Wallace’s death hit his family and community hard, I wish to leave the final word regarding this and his funeral to two press reports from 1912.

In 1915 the people of Colne erected a statue of Wallace Hartley near the rectory on Albert Road. The inscription reads;

Bandmaster of the RMS Titanic who perished in the foundering of that vessel April 15th 1912

 Erected by voluntary contributions to commemorate the heroism of a native of this town.

Other items of real interest are below.

These are two entries in the Ellis Island ships manifest records from 1912. They are interesting for a number of reasons, not least of which is the fact that they give a physical description of Wallace Henry, which I have shown below the two reports;

First Name: Wallace H.
Last Name: Hartley
Ethnicity: England, English
Last Place of Residence: Dewsbury, England
Date of Arrival: Mar 08, 1912
Age at Arrival:  32y    Gender:  M    Marital Status:  S  
Ship of Travel: Mauretania
Port of Departure: Liverpool
Manifest Line Number: 0014


First Name: Wallace
Last Name: Hartley
Ethnicity: Eng., English
Last Place of Residence: Dewsbury, Eng.
Date of Arrival: Mar 29, 1912
Age at Arrival:  32y    Gender:  M    Marital Status:  S  
Ship of Travel: Mauretania
Port of Departure: Liverpool
Manifest Line Number: 0006


According to the above named manifest, Wallace was 5ft 6" with a dark Complexion, dark hair and brown eyes. His destination was given as c/o Cunard S.S Gold, New York .His occupation given as "musician" address given as "mother Mrs. A. Hartley Surreyside, West Park, Dewesbury."

Below are two census returns from the 1881 census of England and the 1901 census of England, showing the Hartley family.


91 Grenfield Road

(Name, Relation, Age, Occupation, Birth Place.)

Albion Hartley, Head, 30, Manager (cotton Mill), Colne Lancashire
Elizabeth Hartley, Wife, 29, Worsled Weaver, Colne Lancashire
Mary E Hartley, Daur, 3, Colne Lancashire
Wallace H Hartley, Son, 2, Colne Lancashire



90 Albert Road

(Name, Relation, Age, Occupation, Birth Place.)

Albion Hartley, Head, 40, Insurance Agent, Colne Lancashire
Elizabeth Hartley, Wife, 40, Colne Lancashire
Mary E Hartley, Daur, 14, Dress maker's apprentice, Colne Lancashire
Walter Hartley, Son, 12, Scholar, Colne Lancashire
Elizabeth Hartley, Daur, 4, Colne Lancashire
Conrad Hartley, Son, 1, Colne Lancashire



35 Somerset Road

(Name, Relation, Age, Occupation, Birth Place.)

Albion Hartley, Head, 50, Insurance Clerk, Colne Lancashire
Elizabeth Hartley, Wife, 49, Colne Lancashire
Wallace H Hartley, Son, 22, Professional Musician, Colne Lancashire
Elizth G Hartley, Daur, 14, Colne Lancashire
Hilda M Hartley, Daur, 6, Colne Lancashire
Herbert N Stubley, Visitor, 22, Professional Musician, Hastings Sussex

This biography and genealogy record will be added to as and when new information comes to light, or if it is felt items need to be included.

Graham Fox June 13, 2006.

References and Sources

Kansas City Star 7 August 1912

Colne and Nelson Times. The final tune played.

Contemporary news reports.

A Night To Remember Walter Lord

England and Wales Birth index 1878

1881,1891,1901 United Kingdom Census