New York, US (BBN)-The last survivors had left the Titanic in lifeboats an hour earlier.
On the sloping deck, as the water edged ever closer to their feet, eight musicians played on, completing all five verses of Nearer, My God, To Thee, reports the Daily Mail.
The hymn, they hoped, would offer some comfort to the 1,500 remaining men, women and children who would soon join them in the icy Atlantic.
They could hardly hear their instruments above the sound of the ship’s death throes as tables and chairs smashed through the windows of the saloons, showering them with glass.
Finally, the bandmaster nodded at his colleagues, gave his customary bow and said: ‘Gentlemen, thank you all. A most commendable performance. Good night and good luck.’ Witnesses saw the bandsmen shake hands.
Then they plunged into the frozen depths — and certain death.
One of those musicians was my grandfather, Jock Hume, aged just 21.
As he played the last notes on his violin, he must have known that he’d never again see his sweetheart, Mary Costin, the girl he’d planned to marry on his return home. Back in Dumfries, she was devastated when she learned that Jock’s name was not on the list of survivors arriving in New York.
She was pregnant with his child — my mother.
The story of my young grandfather has long fascinated me and I thought I had found out just about all there was to know about Jock, who had been playing on passenger liners since he was 15. But I was wrong.
Earlier this year, I’d heard that a collector of Titanic memorabilia had acquired a few pages from some old ledgers.
These recorded the names of those who had benefited from the Titanic’s hardship fund, set up to help poverty-stricken dependants.