Violinist Wallace Hartley was the leader of the band that performed on the RMS Titanic on its tragic voyage in 1912. The band famously played music to sooth the passengers as the ship went down. After years of research, a violin found in 2006 has now been authenticated as the instrument Hartley played aboard ship. Hartley's personal effects that were salvaged from the site were returned to his father, who gave them to Hartley's fiancee, Maria Robinson. Robinson had given Hartley the violin, inscribed for their engagement in 1910.
She kept the jewellery and violin in the leather case as a shrine to her late fiance. She died from stomach cancer in 1939 aged 59 at her home in Bridlington, East Yorkshire.
In dealing with her estate, her sister, Margaret, found Hartley's leather valise that had his initials of 'WHH' on and the violin inside.
She gave the bag to the Bridlington Salvation Army and told its leader, a Major Renwick, about the instrument's association with Titanic.
The research shows Maj Renwick in turn gave the valise 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.
She met the music teacher who later dispatched the valise and violin to her.
A covering letter that has been found states: 'Major Renwick thought I would be best placed to make use of the violin but I found it virtually unplayable, doubtless due to its eventful life.'
The unnamed owner inherited the valise and its contents, including the violin and jewellery, years later and contacted Henry Aldridge and Son of Devizes, Wilts.