Home From The Sea by A Rostron

Inger Sheil

That's an intersting one...Brian Ticehurst actually edited a piece I wrote for the BTS magazine to include Lord when I mentioned only Rostron and Moody! I've also had two other individuals more versed in Lord than I am who have corrected me when I've mentioned Moody and Rostron as Old Boys but failed to mention Lord. I'll write off to my contacts in the Conway Association to ask them to clear up the matter once and for all. While the subject of Lord has come up when I've been with them on a couple of occasions, I don't recall whether they ever mentioned he was an old boy himself.

The other way to settle it would be to check his BoT applications, but I'm too cheap to do that ;-)
In his 1959 affidavit Lord only mentions that he went to sea in 1891 as a cadet on Naiad. He was aged about 14 at the time, which was a common age at which to begin. I can't see that he would have been to Conway first.

Inger, I've asked the folk at the Conway site to put in a link to your page about Moody, and it will be done. Can't have them getting fairy tales!

Tracy Smith

Captain Lord's father signed the indenture papers for his apprenticeship on the Naiad in 1891, when Lord was 13 and a half, as Dave said. He served on this ship, and later the Lurlei, during his apprenticeship, and I haven't read of him being on any other ship.

Captain Lord's father only reluctantly signed Lord's papers, as he did not entirely approve of his son's choice of career.

Right now, I'm too poor to check his BoT applications, but want to do so in the future.

Inger Sheil

The dates on his indenture would tend to preclude Lord from having done his two years on the Conway, but will let you know when I receive confirmation from the Conways.

Ta, David! I've been slow in promoting the new site, as we managed to launch it at a rather hectic personal time (why battle bushfires on two fronts when you can battle them on three?).

Was flipping through a Conway history looking for something and found the following which is utterly irrelevant but rather gorgeous:

One of the most hated institutions of the ship was an invention of Captain MIller's - the League. Every new boy was invited to become a member of the League, by taking a solemn pledge to 'avoid all drinking, smoking, swearing and impurity while he remained on board.' Most boys joined this League in order to avoid giving offence or making a bad impression at the commencement of their careers. Some, who had the strength of mind to refuse to join, felt that they were marked men from that moment. From time to time, generally once or twice in a term, the members of the league were piped to muster in the forward hospital to listen to an exhortation to remember the solemnity of their promises. On being dismissed from one of these dreadful gatherings all who could, smoked, swore and were impure.

There's a wonderful photo in a private collection of the cadets of James Moody's watch lined up on the Conway's deck. They tend to go in two even rows, until you reach Moody - who stands head and shoulders above his peers already!

Inger Sheil

Here's the response from one of the men most well acquainted with the Conway's history, David Fletcher-Rogers:

No Lord was not a Conway I think the rumour arose because the Mercantile Martine Service Association (MMSA) supported Lord in his endeavours to clear his name and the Conway was run by this organisation.

The misapprehension that Lord was an Old Conway seems to pre-date this, however. As an aside, I've encountered a vast spectrum of opinion regarding Lord among the Conways - many of whom knew Leslie Harrison quite well.
Inger: Thanks for that confirmation. I'd have to agree with Dave that the purported association likely derives from Baker's misunderstanding, as previously uncorrected (until Harrison's 1962 amendment). That Baker letter seems to have "made the rounds" in 1912 (including at least mention of its contents to Rostron by Lord in correspondence), since it ostensibly supported the allegations against the Mount Temple. Lord himself may have felt that the "Old Conway" reference was in fact fairly trivial, not significant enough to correct outright initially. (And after all, the "meat" of the letter was Baker's assertion that the Mount Temple had been in *close* proximity to the sinking Titanic. If I were Lord, I'm not sure I'd look a "gift horse" like that in the mouth, either.)

OK. Speaking of this very hard to come by book -- and several others, including Lightoller's complete work (and even the fairly recent books of Reade and Harrison!) -- has anyone ever looked into the possibility of "commissioning" a reprint of an "out of print" work? Is this ever done, where an individual or corporation partly finances a publisher's re-printing of a title (and receives a percentage of the profits in remuneration)?

It *seems* at least a workable scheme, if publishers are open to the notion; what would they have to lose if the market risks are largely offset by others? (But don't look at me, I'm broke.) :-(

I'm just curious if anyone has ever pursued or heard of this approach.
Sorry John, didn’t notice your question earlier and have been prompted into a response by the long anticipated arrival of my very own copy of the Rostron book. Battered, tattered and threadbare it may be, but all the pages are intact and that’s really all I care about at this point.

Would you believe reprints of obscure/rare works is a subject I’ve considered before? Well maybe not, but I’m sure others would. Anyway, one of the main issues with republishing/reprinting out of print works is the murky area of copyright and royalties. Then there’s the price of the potentially limited print run balanced against cost effectiveness.

My understanding is that Amereon (sp?) House and 7 C’s Press (working with THS) specialise in reprints of out-of-print Titanica, but I’m not sure how cost effective they are given the prices I’ve paid for some of their publications. A lot of publishers are now moving into ‘Print on Demand’ for their back catalogues too, but in my experience tend to be larger presses (such as Penguin) or the specialised academic/technical presses (such as Queensland University Press). I have also seen instances of corporate subsidy of reprints (my Royal Viking Line special edition of Maxtone-Graham’s ‘The Only Way to Cross’ being such an example) and reprints subsidised by individuals, of works still in copyright.

So, technically your idea has merit and has been done - up to a point. If there were sufficient market interest (or at least potential) and a convincing representation made to an appropriate publisher, there’s no reason a reprint edition wouldn’t work. It would probably come down to who could financially back such a venture and I suspect now the public’s interest is dying down, a genuine market opportunity has gone by. Woe, woe.

Of course, if I ever win a lottery or some such nonsense, I plan to reissue several scarce works for my own amusement.
Cornelius, the book sometimes appears on Ebay and elsewhere, usually at a crazy price.

It's a good read, but sometimes wildly inaccurate. A curious feature is the absence of the names of those Rostron worked with. For instance, in the part about Titanic he only mentions a few passengers by name, not his crew.

It can be obtained by inter-library loan, depending a bit on where you live. It conveys a bit about Rostron's character and background and his enthusiasm for his job shines throughout it. As a historical document, it's a bit shaky.
Actually I thought the chapter on the Titanic was the best one in the book. If you would like some more details about the various editions of Rostron's autobiography, check out the following page:


The book does show up on eBay from time to time, though I prefer to use retail rather than auction sites myself. There are currently several copies on the used book sites right now. Check out the following link:


No, your eyes are not fooling you, those prices are high. The book is expensive. So Dave's idea of an inter-library loan might be a very good suggestion. And you can get lucky and find a copy for much less - its just a matter of being in the right place at the right time.

all the best, Michael (TheManInBlack) T
Drat! That second link didn't work. You can copy the whole line and paste it into your browser's URL bar and that will pull up the page.

If that doesn't work, use this link:


Just type Rostron into the author field, and Home into the title field and it will pull up the same results.

all the best, Michael (TheManInBlack) T

Cornelius Thiessen

Former Member
Thanks for the info Dave and Michael, but at 400 bucks a book me thinks I'll pass
I'm off to the local library to see if they have it or can get it through an interbranch loan.Thanks again folks...