Found among a pile of sheet music 3 Titanic items. They incorporate several mythic (but not necessarily untrue) stories around the disaster-- Captain Smith is said to have spoken the words 'Be British' (possibly his last) to his men and the 8 members of the ship's band carried on playing as the ship sank (possibly there last number was Nearer My God to Thee.) Some accounts say that the band played on until they were waist high in water. The sheet music for Be British came with a set of illustrative coloured lantern slides that could be bought or hired from the publisher. The lyrics include these lines, worthy of poet laureate Alfred Austin himself:
All went well, and the laugh and jest
And the dance went gaily on,
Till they met the ice, and a rasp and a jar,
Told there was something wrong.
'Be British' was the cry as the ship went down.
Every man at his post
Captain and crew when they knew the worst
Saving the women and children first...
The face on the cover of The Band was Playing as the Ship Went Down is the leader of the band Wallace Hartley, whose body was recovered from the sea and was buried at Colne Lancashire in May 1912 in a magnificent grave that features an open hymn book with the refrain 'Nearer My God to Thee...'