Christopher’s Titanic talk

ALMOST 100 years after it disappeared below the freezing waves of the North Atlantic, the Titanic continues to grip imaginations.

A total of 1,517 people died after the pride of the White Star Line hit an iceberg on the night of April 14, 1912.

The events of the sinking have been well documented in literature and on the big screen, but what happened in the days, weeks, months and years after the tragedy have been overlooked to a great extent.

A book by Jedburgh author Christopher Ward has shed new light on the impact the sinking was to have for decades afterwards.

What makes his story – published last week – so fascinating is that he is the grandson of a member of the famous band which continued playing in an effort to keep passengers from panicking as the ship went down.

A journalist by training and now head of his own international magazine firm, Christopher is the grandson of violinist Jock Hume, a native of Dumfries, who was 21 when he perished with the rest of the band’s members.

Entitled And the Band Played On, the book is the story of Jock and how the disaster cast a pall over the lives of his family and countless others for decades.

To highlight how rigid the social class system was before the First World War, Christopher contrasts the way Jock and American millionnaire, Col J.J. Astor, who also perished, were treated in death.

He uncovers uncomfortable truths about his own family along the way, including the bitter court battle over the paternity of Jock’s daughter – Christopher’s mother.

Christopher will speak about And the Band Played On at Mainstreet Trading bookshop in St Boswells tonight at 7.30pm (booking advisable) and at this month’s Borders Book Festival in Melrose.

Readers can also explore this story further at the website