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  1. Mike Pearse, Transport Correspondent

Was this the violin played by the band as Titanic sank in 1912?

The violin that auctioneers say was played on the Titanic. Credit: Mike Pearse/ITV Meridian

According to auctioneers Henry Aldridge and Son, from Wiltshire, the instrument is made of maple and spruce wood and belonged to Wallace Hartley, the leader of the orchestra on the ill-fated ship.

They have spent six years researching the object and even enlisted world leading forensic scientist in Oxford and used a CT scanner in Swindon to prove it was authentic.

But as the violin is about to go on public view at the visitor attraction, Titanic Belfast, the relative of another band member says he simply "does not believe" it is genuine.

The RMS Titanic sailed from Southampton in April 1912 Credit: PA

Christopher Ward lost his grandfather, Jock Hume, in the tragedy. He was 21 years-old and himself played the violin. Mr Ward has spent years researching the subject for a book, And the Band Played On.

He told ITV News the way violins were made a century ago meant is was unlikely it could have survived for several days in the water after the Titanic went down. "It would have broken up" he believes.

But the auctioneers disagree. They say they "wanted proof beyond doubt" it was genuine before they sold it. They have spent six years and many thousands of pounds on world forensic experts and historians to discover if it is the real thing.

They say the inscriptions on the violin itself and the case that was with it prove beyond doubt it is genuine.


  1. Mike Pearse

'Baby Titanic' restoration complete after 7 years of work

The restoration of the ship they call the baby Titanic is finally complete, after seven years of hard work.

The Nomadic was built to ferry up to 1,000 passengers out to the Titanic - as she was often too big to get into individual ports.

Now the Nomadic been returned to her original state, thanks to a major fundraising campaign and a Heritage Lottery grant. Our Transport Correspondent Mike Pearse spoke to Denis Rooney from the Nomadic Trust in this report.

  1. Mike Pearse

Plans for 'Titanic II' move forward

Artists impression of the Titanic II Credit: Blue Star Line

Plans for a second Titanic have today come a major step nearer with the awarding of the first major contract for the new ship.

The Australian businessman behind the controversial scheme, Clive Palmer, has announced one of the leading marine companies in the world, Delatamrin, will manage the design and construction of the vessel.

Some have remained sceptical if the ship would ever be built but the awarding of the contract does indicate she may eventually be built.

Many people in Southampton have criticised the plan as insensitive to those who died on board. 550 came from the city.

But others say it will be a tribute to those who died and 'can't wait' to get on board.The ship is due to sail from Southampton to New York from 2016.


Recorded message for guests

He may not have been there in person, but Clive Palmer still had a message for guests at the launch of plans to build a replica of Titanic.

In a recorded message, he told guests: "Why build Titanic? Because we can. Titanic will bring the ship back to life. It will be a tribute to those who died."

We will complete the journey. The ship will be a ship of peace carrying the hopes and dreams of people everywhere. By learning from the lessons of the past this is our moment. Titanic was the ship of dreams Titanic 2 will be a ship where dreams come true."

– Clive Palmer, on his plans to build a second Titanic
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