THE violin played by Colne’s Titanic bandmaster Wallace Hartley is to go on display in Belfast today.

The instrument was found strapped to Wallace’s body after he died in the disaster in 1912, which killed 1,517 people.

It has an inscription on the back from the 34-year-old’s fiancee to mark their engagement.

The violin was always believed to have been lost, but turned up in an attic of a house in 2006 and tests have since proved it to be genuine.

It will be displayed at the Titanic Belfast exhibition from today until October 13, before it is auctioned off in Wiltshire on October 19.

Tim Husbands, the museum’s chief executive, said: “We are honoured and excited that Titanic Belfast has been chosen to display Wallace Hartley’s violin which he played on RMS Titanic.

“This could very well be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for visitors to see one of the world’s most famous and most valuable Titanic artefacts before it goes to auction.”

The band played the hymn Nearer, My God, To Thee to calm passengers as they climbed into lifeboats as the Titanic sank beneath the icy waves after hitting an iceberg.