James Paul Moody

Inger Sheil

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G'day!

It's hard to assess how much weight to give to the incident with the mate as we don't have enough details to put it into a proper context. The 'word skirmish' could have been over virtually anything - going ashore, stevedoring, whether Moody had left a fruit skin on the deck. He gives no indication whatsoever as to what the argument was about.

Unfortunately, while he gives a month/day/ship, and the letter gives indications of his location, the exact year is not identified! As he spent several years on this particular ship, I'm going to have to sit down with the description of his location and compare it against the timeline I'm compiling of his movements in South America to identify when exactly it was written. He does not identify the 'mate' by name, but I can compare it to other comments he makes against the various mates on the ship to see if anything can be made of his relationship with the man. I only transcribed the letter a couple just over a ago, and have been too flat-out busy to work properly with it as yet. I don't think it was a major incident - the way he refers to it is almost in jest.

Although he generally seems to have got along very well with a wide range of people - from staying on the good side of the steward as an apprentice to getting along well with a captain nicknamed 'El Diablo' who had a habit of going through mates very swiftly - Moody was not afraid to stand up verbally (and, I suspect, physically if necessary, although I can't think of any specific instances) for himself. There was one incident in particular that comes to mind, when he and a group of fellow apprentices were obliged to band together and threaten one of the mates, informing him that if he ever physically harmed any of them the others in the group would pay him back in kind. His closest living relation has suggested that he was a very unlikely candidate to be bullied, given his physical stature and a tough element to his character (for all one of his skippers voiced the opinion that he wasn't a 'hard case', he'd been quite self sufficient from a comparatively young age).

Norfolk is lovely! Get out there on the Broads and you certain get a sense of space. Nelson country, too, which is good.

All the best,

Inger
 
Oct 14, 2003
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G'day!

Just some quick clarifying questions:

What is stevedoring?

Fancy not giving the year on a letter! Although I do suppose that he wasn't writing it with us in mind!
happy.gif
And we should be grateful that there's any locating info on it at all!

"He does not identify the 'mate' by name, but I can compare it to other comments he makes against the various mates on the ship to see if anything can be made of his relationship with the man."

Did he talk much about his fellow colleagues then?

"There was one incident in particular that comes to mind, when he and a group of fellow apprentices were obliged to band together and threaten one of the mates, informing him that if he ever physically harmed any of them the others in the group would pay him back in kind."

Wouldn't they have gotten severely punished for anything of the sort?

What do you mean when you say that he wasn't a 'hard case'?

I was going over your previous e-mails and came across these two phrases:

"And to think - he should have been in Paris when the Titanic sailed, kicking up his heels with his American friend. 'We can't have big ships and holidays', he wrote with a smile."

Was James s'posed to be on holiday when he sailed on the Titanic?

""What a lot has happened since then, and what a distance I have covered." - JPM, 1908"

If you don't mind me asking, what was the context of this comment?

I have been on the Broads with my mum's cousins and had a wonderful time gallivanting about the countryside! I can't wait to go back and visit - though maybe in summer!

Many thanks,

Christa Erin.
 

Inger Sheil

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Will try and whip through these quickly!

Stevedoring is 'To load or unload the cargo of (a ship) or to engage in the process of loading or unloading such a vessel.' Much of the work Moody oversaw in port was concerned with this.

No year is given in many of the letters, and in some - when it was a quick note written to someone in the same country for delivery in the next post - he did no more than write the day of the week. Post was the main method of communication back then! Fortunately in later letters he tends to be more specific.

He does talk about his colleagues quite often, but usually by position rather than name e.g. 'the skipper', 'the steward', 'the mate', 'the second mate', 'one of the men', 'apprentices' (or 'fellow admirals'), and in later letters 'First Officer', 'Fourth Officer' etc.

Given the particular history of the mate that they had to band against for their own protection, it is unlikely that any actions taken in self-defence would have have resulted in punishment being meted out them - or if it was, it would have been of a token nature. This is the same mate that drove another apprentice to suicide, in an incident that was covered up.

A hard case was one of a particularly tough breed of mariners in those days - Lightoller and Lowe, for example, are described by Marcus as 'hard cases'. The master in question didn't think Moody was tough enough on the men and wouldn't bully them.

Moody had applied for holidays just before he was posted to the Titanic and was turned down.

The quoted line was in reference to how far he had come in his life and career since his mother's death.

Summer on the Broads is lovely! I first visited in Easter, and although the spring weather was changeable it was lovely. Was there only recently for some autumnal weather.

All the best,

Inger
 
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Oct 14, 2003
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Hiya Inger!

Sorry but I've gotta be VERY quick!

Were Lowe and Lightoller inclined to 'bully' if they were hardcases too?

Did any of the officers have a nicknames and were they referred to by their first or surnames...do you know?

Thanks again,

Christa.
 

Inger Sheil

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G'day Christa -

I don't know of any specific instances where Lightoller and Lowe 'bullied' the men - I imagine they could be quite tough if they needed to be, though. Being considered a 'hardcase' doesn't necessarily mean that one is inclined to treat other people badly, but rather refers to the experiences that have shaped the individual and indicative of their toughness. Lightoller had been through a shipwreck, near-drowning, malaria etc etc in his career, and Lowe had 'come up through the hawsepipe'. To give an example of the usage of the term, this is from Lightoller's own book:

quote:

Many's the chap that has left Rio, bound round the Horn, with barely enough clothes for tropical weather, let alone the rigours of Cape Stiff. To have been around the Horn a few times you are a "sailor," but to have been around without seaboots, you are a real "hard case".
James Moody had a charming nickname given to him in childhood - it, and variations of it, were used for him by members of his family up until the time of his death, and is still used in the family when they refer to him. Otherwise, to his shipmates and friends, he was 'Jim.' Lightoller was 'Lights' or 'Bertie', Pitman was also a 'Bert', Boxhall was 'Joe' to shipmates and family, Murdoch was 'Will' or 'Willie'. I don't know if Henry Wilde, like his son Henry, was known as 'Harry'. Harold Lowe used a couple of variations of his name in his earlier years (including another form at the time of the Titanic disaster - I've come across it when he was writing to his family and fiancee), but in later life he was a firm, unabbreviated 'Harold'. Use of forenames was less common among acquaintances or even friends than it is now, but friends and family in casual situations might use names or nicknames. I'm sure that they had nicknames that haven't come down to us as well. Some of the examples of the era are quite colourful - Murdoch's friend and shipmate "Chang" Jones, for example, so named because of his years in the China trade. The men of the Scott expedition afford a colourful array of nicknames; Lawrence Edward Grace Oates was "Titus", "The Soldier" or "Farmer." Henry Bowers was "Birdie" on account of his nose. Scott himself was "The Owner," and Wilson was "Uncle Bill." "The Wicked Mate", "Cherry"...they list is endless and entertaining.

All the best,

Ing​
 
Oct 14, 2003
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Heya Ing! (I don't have a nickname but I see you included yours!)

Well, that's a relief to hear about the meaning of 'hardcase'. I was a bit concerned for a while there!

Its funny to read of the different nicknames, especially the ones in the Scott expedition that you pointed out. What was the Scott expedition by the way?

What was James' 'charming nickname'?

We've been talking about the merchant officer's seabag on another thread. Do you know if any of the officers took personal items with them like photographs or trinkets of some kind?

A little while ago you said that you'd elaborate on what you meant when you said that it was hard at times for Harold Lowe to grow up with a bohemian father. Whenever you have time I'd love to hear it...

Thanks,

Christa a.k.a. Christa Lou (I lied, I do have a nickname!)
 

Inger Sheil

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Hallo Christa -

The Scott expedition was the other great ice disaster of 1912. Robert Falcon Scott lead a party of explorers in an effort to reach the South Pole first - they were beaten by the Norweigan Armundson. On their return, the entire Polar party (Scott, Wilson, Oates, Evans and Bowers) perished in March. There are wonderful documents - diaries, books, letters etc - that document their journey down South on the Terra Nova and their first year in the Antarctic that give a good idea of their interaction and attitudes - they were mix of Navy men, one soldier (Captain Oates, the Inniskilling Dragoon) and scientists.

The officers certainly took photos with them. Moody made frequent references to photos he had in his possession - on his first ship he wouldn't pin the ones he valued to the wall because the damp would have ruined them, but later he had photos and prints in his cabins. There's a photo of Sixth Officer Bell's cabin on the Oceanic that is plastered with what look like photos, postcards etc. There is a story told of Pitman, an avid stamp collector, that he never took his collection with him to sea. However, given the Titanic's reputation for safety, he took it with him on that one voyage...

I'm trying to hold the Lowe material in reserve for publication - I do go into his relationship wtih his father in my draft MS.

Hope this all helps! I've got a swag of nicknames, but not all are fit for a public messageboard. Lol!

All the best,

Ing
 
Oct 14, 2003
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Heya Ing!

Thanks for the info on the Scott expedition.

Did the junior officers go on 'rounds' as well as the senior officers? And when did rounds occur? Did it cover the whole ship - including crew and 3rd class quarters?

When the officers and crew traveled back to England after the US testimony were they considered passengers or did they have to work? Did the ship contain passengers or was it just for the titanic crew?

Talk to you later,

Christa.
 

Inger Sheil

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G'day Christa -

My understanding is that the junior officers did not have rounds to make in the same way that the senior officers did when they went off watch (a good description of that inspection can be found in Lightoller's bio). However, Boxhall did mention in an interview that one of the things he did upon coming on the Bridge for that final watch was send Moody around the decks (don't have the transcript in front of me, but that was virtually how he explained it - something along the lines of 'I told Mr Moody to go around the decks...'). Later he did so himself as well.

The officers were effectively passengers on the Adriatic (although you raise an interesting point - I must see if I can hunt up the crew agreements for that voyage!). There are some excellent photos of the men after they disembarked in Liverpool - it's interesting to see them in their shoregoing clothes. Lowe, looking 'neat' and 'dapper' was one of the first to disembark. It was a regularly scheduled service, not one reserved for returning Titanic crew.

All the best,

Ing
 
Oct 14, 2003
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Thanks Ing,

I was a bit confused at there not being assigned rounds to the junior officer yet Moody did go on rounds of a sort.

Thanks for the info on the Adriatic - please let me know if you turn up something else on it in your rummaging.

I read somewhere that Boxhall was taking tea in his cabin that night. He couldn't have done this while Moody was on rounds could he? because don't at least one of the junior officers have to be on the bridge? Plus, he would have had to fetch it himself or get a steward to get it wouldn't he?

Thanks,

Christa.
 

Inger Sheil

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Hallo Christa (from a grey and dismal London) -

Boxhall said in an interview in 1962 that he was having a cup of tea in his cabin after leaving the bridge. As he recalled it, this was the sequence of events:

After arriving on the Bridge, he instructed his junior: "Now Moody, you go around the decks and come back at 9.00."

At about 10.00 he told Moody he was going around the decks.

After doing so, he returned to his cabin where he was having a cup of tea (no specific time given).

I was given access to a letter written by Geoffrey Marcus to Moody's sister. In it, he mentions that he brought question of the erroneous information that the Rappannock had tried to morse the Titanic shortly before the disaster to Boxhall's attention. Boxhall knew nothing about it (understandably, as Marcus had been somewhat misinformed - probably unintentionally - by the Rappahannock's Smith, as explained elsewhere by Dave Gittens), but he did opine that if someone took the message, it must have been Moody as he himself was working in the chartroom.

Hope this helps!

~ Ing (who was evidently lying about the shape of the day, as I can now see it's a blue sky here...)
 
Jan 28, 2003
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It's a glorious day here in Farnborough! Do you think it slightly unusual - I don't mean anything more than that - that Lowe and Moody had that conversation about boats departing without an officer; and Moody told Lowe to go first. Which he did. Personally I would have sent the younger man before myself (I think.....!) Perhaps Lowe felt a more experienced person was needed to take charge of the lifeboats. Maybe it's just another example of the yawning gap between 1912 priorities, and ours. If I'd been in charge I would probably have spent ages trying to load them all on the basis of age, irrespective of gender or class. Youngest first. I'd have probably killed far more of them.
 
Oct 14, 2003
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Heya Ing!

Seeing as there's blue sky there I'm sure you won't be at all envious to hear that it was 27 degrees here yesterday! (and to balance it, there's grey clouds about now!)
happy.gif


I was wondering, if an officer was sick, would his watch be taken over by another officer?

Did the Rappahanock claim to have sent a message to the Titanic? And if they did it would have been Phillips who received it rather than Bride (wouldn't it?) because Bride claims he went to bed that night.

I read Bride's account of what happened to him and Phillips and he paints Phillips in a wonderful light - kinda like if I was in Bride's position I would have forgot the ship was sinking and watched Phillips in awe! (Then clambered for the nearest lifeboat!).

Okay, I'm going to ask a question regarding the movie Titanic - and I know that there is much controversy concerning the accuracy of the movie(!) - but I thought that you might be able to set the record straight for me.
When the phone rings from the crowsnest Moody comes from inside the officer's area with a cuppa to answer it. I understood he was on deck with the guy who steers the wheel. What's the deal?

Also, there were passengers that embarked at Belfast. Would they have been special passengers (reserves and such) or could some people start their voyage at Belfast?

Lowe says at the US inquiry: Yes; it was nice weather. I should say it would be about 48.
I'm guessing he means 48 degrees F. However, that turns out to be 8 degrees C. IS HE SERIOUS?

Many thanks,

Christa. (You should paint your ceilings a lovely sky blue so that you can imagine it's the sky any time you want!)
 
Oct 14, 2003
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Heya Monica,

Moody was supposed to go first because he was the most junior of officers. But Moody said he'd get the next boat (which was right in front of them. Lowe wasn't the type of person to muck around and took Moody at faith's value. However, Moody might have been fully intending to get in the lifeboat but was delayed somehow or ordered to do something else.

I recommend Inger if you've got any questions about this sorta stuff (although the others are brilliant too!) she's a well of information!

Christa.
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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G'day Monica and Christa!

Day is looking better and better, but I'm tied here packing until I'm out (hopefully making things 'hum') tonight. Taking a quick break from lugging stuff around.

To be honest, Christa, I'm not to sure of the answer to your first question - when I've asked mercantile marine officers, I've had varying responses. I'd like to know exactly how it was managed, as Lowe was injured soon after the Titanic accident on one of his voyages, and I'd like to know how the watches were managed for the remainder. Perhaps someone else could jump in here? They may have simply managed short handed for the duration.

Dave Gittens did a write up on the Rappahannock story and its flaws:

http://users.senet.com.au/~gittins/rappahannock.html

The message was allegedly morsed using the lamps designated for that purpose from the Bridge, not by wireless.

The scene in the Cameron movie with Moody toddling off to have a cup of tea in the chart room, thus having neither junior officer on the bridge, is a Cameron fabrication. There is no source whatsover that places Moody in that position.

I can't say that I know too much about the passengers that embarked at Belfast, I'm afraid - I'm shorthanded on sources at the moment (the books have already been packed up), but I do remember that they had a bit of a write-up in Belfast's Own by Stephen Cameron.

Lol! Cold low temperatures can be lovely if it's clear and you're well dressed...certainly preferable to changeable spring weather!

The question of why Lowe did not instruct Moody to go in a boat and instead put the matter up for discussion is a legitimate one. It certainly seems to have been a point of concern for Lowe - the incident is mentioned in the testimony he gave at both inquiries and in his two sworn affidavits about the disaster, one point to which he always refers. He seems to have been fairly open about it, although it did leave him vulnerable to questioning of his motivations (it's interpretation on my part, but I've often wondered if there was implied criticism in the question at the British Inquiry as to whether Moody was junior or senior to him). We're getting into the highly speculative realm of internal thought processes and motivations here, so anything I say is simply my opinion and interpretation based on what I know of the man.

I don't think we can rule out self-preservation as an element in his actions, either conscious or subconscious. At the same time, I don't want to do a disservice to a man who was extraordinarily physically courageous, and had been noted for personal bravery that even verged on foolhardiness from his boyhood onwards. He was armed, several boats were going down at the same time, and there was an unruly element entering into events - a couple of the crewmen had already used physical force to deter men from entering the aft port boats. The plan to gather the boats together had been formed before they left the boat deck (one of the senior officers, perhaps Wilde, may well have been fully aware Lowe had taken charge of 14, as there was an instruction issued to Clench in 12 to 'keep our eye on No. 14 boat, where Mr. Lowe, the fifth officer, was, and to keep all together as much as we could.' Unfortunately he doesn't say who issued the order, but it is highly suggestive that neither Lowe nor Moody lowered 12, and senior officers were reported in the vicinity.

Lowe did not intend to leave his junior behind on a sinking ship, however - according to Scarrott's recollection of what he heard of the conversation, Lowe concluded with the statement that he would go in 14, and Moody was to go in 16 (‘you go in that boat and I will go in this'). As Christa says, we don't know why Moody did not fulfil this instruction - he might have intended to go and have been delayed or ordered to do another task, or may never have intended to 'find some other boat.'

I am aware of the existance of a document by Lowe that may shed further light on this final exchange with Moody - It's held in a private collection and I've been promised a copy of it, but don't want to nag the person who owns it so am waiting patiently!

All the best [and thanks for the kind words, Christa - they're appreciated],

Ing
 
Jan 28, 2003
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If you're moving house, Ing, you have my very deepest sympathy. Yes, for a brave and most probably honest man, the realization that Moody had not got off after all must have troubled Lowe. I think many people must have wondered a bit about this one including, now I come to think of it, Mr. Cameron. In his movie, I think I recall that he had Lowe ordered into the boat by Lightoller - doubtless he was aware of the Moody/Lowe interchange and decided that his other hero of the night needed a totally unambiguous, and bogus, order to explain his escape. Of such, legends are made ....
 
Oct 14, 2003
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Mornin' Mon and Ing!

Okay, I know I was so happy about the 27 degrees before but now it's 20 and grey and rainy!

'Making things hum' Inger - that sounds adventurous! Enjoy yourself coz you're gonna have to unpack all those books again later!

I didn't realise that they communicated by morse lamp. Were the crew all able to read it? Who would have taken the message? (I realise this is theory has strong doubts but hypothetically 'if' it had happened...).

In the book Titanic by Leo Marriott it says that Lowe was instructed to take charge of boat 14 by the Chief officer. I wonder where he'd get this information as Lowe himself says otherwise and Wilde didn't survive. Also, he says that Murdoch was in the vicinity seeing boat 16 away, so that puts 2 senior officers in the area.

The document on Lowe and Moody sounds intriguing! I'm amazed at your patience!

This is pure speculation but do you think that Boxhall was assigned to signalling because he was ill?

Also, how long was he ill after the Titanic incident? And poor Harold Bride come to think of it?

Well, I'm off to brave the weather! Best wishes till then,

Christa.
 
Jan 28, 2003
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Hello Christa,
I'm just an interested on-looker really, on this board, not a proper researcher like Inger, so I may be wrong (I usually am...) but it seems to me, roughly piecing together reported sightings of JM that night, that the lad got himself all over the place. First one side, then the other. He seems to have been very energetic. Probably, the moment a senior colleague spotted him doing something, they told him to go and do something else, somewhere else, when he'd finished that. People do that to junior officers and managers, so I expect he simply tore around until it was too late.
Mon
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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G'day Christa and Monica!

Fled the house last night for an evening at the Texas Embassy with a couple of London mates, and also Finding Nemo - a good way to remind myself of what both Sydney and coral reefs look like. At least the packing was done!

I get a chuckle out of that scene in the Cameron movie, Monica! Lowe is curiously passive when loading those boats - there's that anguished look he gives the couple he doesn't want to part...and the expressive facial response he has to the realisation that Lightoller's gun was empty. Quite different to what was happening during the real event, with no Lightoller there and Lowe already having his revolver in hand and threatening one or two people at gunpoint if they didn't stand back (and then firing the shots when the boat lowered - a rather more haphazzard affair in the movie than the cool deliberations suggested in accounts). There are the very faintest hints that more than one officer was troubled by the fact Moody didn't get off the boat but, unless I can get copies of the documents I'm after, that may remain highly speculative and based on a reading of certain sources and facts. It's troubling, for example, that Boxhall once stated that the surviving juniors on the Carpathia were himself, Pitman and Moody. He refers often to Moody throughout his 1962 interview, and just recently I've had it suggested to me by someone reaching back into their memory that Boxhall had correspondence or a 'connection' with a member of the Moody family. Certainly Lowe and Lightoller responded to letters from his father, although that might be no more than the duty expected of them in such a situation (Lightoller seems to have answered letters from victims' families).

Suggestions that Lowe was ordered into a boat by a senior officer are yet another example of writers simply plucking facts out of the air, or rehashing secondary sources without going back to the primary sources - Wilde has been put forward a few times as having 'ordered' Lowe to take command, but Lowe is unequivocal on the matter. Gardiner, for example, is another who makes the claim in The Riddle of the Titanic that Wilde ordered him into the lifeboat (only to do a volte-face and rip into him about it in his second book). As suggested above, Wilde may well have been aware that Lowe was in charge of 14 and he or another officer may have issued orders to 12 in response to that knowledge, but of course Lowe is crystal clear. Which raises a couple of interesting questions - was Lowe either oblvious to potential criticism, did he decide to believe it an entirely defensible decision, or was he simply answering with the truth, irregardless of negative constructions that might be put on his actions? If the last, it potentially sheds new light on those who are prepared to believe that officers lied at the drop of a hat. Had he chosen to do so, Lowe could have lied and said that an officer had ordered him into a boat (perhaps saying Murdoch, when they were loading the forward starboard boats, had told him to find and take command of a boat as he had ordered Pitman off). There was no one to gainsay him, and we would be none the wiser. But, while he didn't volunteer it, he was full and frank in his answer when questioned on this point.

Christa, the deck officers could send and read morse, and I imagine a fair proportion of the deck crew could as well. Boxhall, as the scenario was presented to him by Marcus, suggested it must have been Moody who took the message. I can well imagine the poor man's confusion when Marcus presented this eyewitness claiming he had morsed the ship before the disaster. Here's Marcus' comments on it to a member of the Moody family, made in the 60s:

quote:

One of the letters concerns the warning by morse lamp from the late Captain Smith of the Rappanannock about the great icefield ahead — the message must have been read by your brother and take to the officer of the Watch, who, alas! decided to continue at full speed, believing he would be able to see the ice in time. Commander J. G. Boxhall told me he knew nothing about this signal as he was then working at calculations in the chart room.
Interesting speculation that Boxhall might have been assigned to signalling because he was ill - I must admit I hadn't thought of that angle. He was engaged in some work around the boats, and someone had to oversee the job, but if he was ill (and, of course, we simply do not know if his illness at the inquiry predated the time in the open boats or not) it strikes me as a possibility. I don't know how long he was ill at after the disaster - all we have is the fact that he was offered a chair at the inquiry at refused it. He was back at sea as an officer on the Adriatic soon afterwards, so it can't have been of too long a duration. Bride I'm afraid I don't know about.

Was told to have the stuff ready to move at 7.00 am, but to be prepared to wait until 1.00 am...grrrr...

All the best,

Ing​
 
Dec 4, 2000
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Inger-- Your posting about Boxhall saying that Moody was a survivor is most curious. I had not seen that information previously, although I've read the 1912 published interviews in New York with a "quartermaster Moody."

This past summer became re-acquainted with someone out of my 1960s past. She looked me up after reading "Last Log." Her husband's name is Moody and the family has a private legend of being in some way connected to a survivor of the Titanic. I thought this was one of the mix-up stories that grow after a disaster, and expressed this opinion to her. However, your post about Boxhall throws new light on this. So, I have contacted her for more details. If any are forthcoming, I'll post them here.

-- David G. Brown