A letter written home by the band leader aboard the doomed ocean liner Titanic is expected to fetch up to £60,000 at the next sale at Devizes auctioneers Henry Aldridge & Son.

Wallace Hartley and his colleagues in the orchestra went down with the ship in April 1912, reputedly playing the hymn Nearer My God to Thee as the waves lapped around the stricken vessel.

A letter written by Hartley to his mother in Colne, Lancashire, is mentioned in an interview with her to the local paper on April 27, 1912. It is this letter that is up for sale on April 20.

The letter says: “Just a line to say we have got away all right. It’s been a bit of a rush but I am just getting a little settled. This is a fine ship and there ought to be plenty of money on her.

“I’ve missed coming home very much and it would have been nice to have seen you all if only for an hour or two, but I couldn’t imagine it. We have a fine band and the boys seem very nice.

“I have had to buy some linen and I sent my washing home today by post. I shall probably arrive home on the Sunday morning. We are due here on the Saturday.”

Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge, a recognised expert in Titanic memorabilia, said: “We are unaware of any other surviving letter written by Hartley on board the ship. Clearly, this letter, which mentions the band and alludes to the wealth on board – implying that some of it would make its way to the band in the form of gratuities – elevates this letter to perhaps the most desirable and important on-board Titanic letter extant.

“It is estimated to fetch between £50,000 and £60,000 in the auction.”

Hartley was born on June 1878, making him 33 at the time of the disaster. As a musician, he travelled as a second-class passenger.

He did not survive the sinking and his body was recovered by the cable ship Mackay-Bennett and assigned the designation Body No 224.

His body was returned to his home town of Colne, Lancashire, where Hartley received a very well- attended funeral.