Bid to buy Titanic bandleader Wallace Hartley's letter at auction

Wallace Hartley's letter
Image caption The letter is written on White Star Line headed paper

A small museum in Lancashire is hoping to buy what is believed to be the last letter written by the bandleader of the Titanic, Wallace Hartley.

The Titanic in Lancashire Museum, based in Hartley's home town of Colne, has raised £5,000 to bid for the letter, written to the violinist's parents.

It says: "This is a fine ship... We have a fine band... I shall probably arrive home on the Sunday morning."

Museum curator Nigel Hampson said he was worried he would be outbid.

"There's a lot of interest in it, unfortunately," he said.

"It's not one of these items that will go for a small amount and not attract a lot of interest.

"Realistically, I think we need to triple [the money raised] to be in with a chance. It's going to go for big bucks."

The letter is up for auction at RR Auction House in New Hampshire in the US.

Written on White Star Line headed paper, it reads: "Just a line to say we have got away all right. It's been a bit of a rush but I am just getting a little settled.

"This is a fine ship & there ought to be plenty of money on her.

"I've missed coming home very much & it would have been nice to have seen you all if only for an hour or two, but I couldn't manage it.

"We have a fine band & the boys seem very nice.

"I have had to buy some linen & I sent my washing home today by post.

"I shall probably arrive home on the Sunday morning. We are due here on the Saturday. I'm glad mother's foot is better.

"With love to all, Wallace."

Hartley, who died in the tragedy aged 33, is famous for playing on with his band as the ship sank in an effort to keep the passengers calm.

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