Does anyone know if there is a biography available about Joseph Boxhall? I have been reading about him for some time, but never found a book specifically about him. I live where Boxhall came from. I ate my sandwich outside his house yesterday!!
You live in Hull? Lovely place - which house did you visit? The one where he was born (where, unfortunately, the original house no longer exists) or his shore address at the time of the disaster?
Unfortunately, there has been no biography written to date about Boxhall. Kerri Sundberg and I have done a fair amount of work on him, however, and have (very tentatively) discussed with his family ideas for a possible future work about the fourth officer.
I meant Westbourne Avenue, where he lived in 1912. Yes, I am also aware of at least one relative in the city, but I haven't made any attempt to contact him. He was interviewed by the local paper when the James Cameron film was released. The paper called for a memorial to be erected in the city to comemorate Boxhall, but sadly nothing seems to have come from it. I know that Boxhall worked for the Wilson Line later in his life, which was a very influential shipping company in the city. I would be very interested to head anything about what he did after the Titanic.
I've got some decent photos somewhere of the Westbourne Ave. house taken when Kerri and I were up there a few years ago - really need to do a return trip.
I know of the chap you're referring to in Hull, and remember the article that came out at the time of the Cameron movie (which, from memory, doesn't quite accurately describe his relationship to J G Boxhall - have to confirm with the rest of the family exactly where he fits in). There are closer relatives who no longer live in Hull, although they retain a tremendous affection for Yorkshire. His niece is an absolutely lovely individual, and she and her children speak with a great deal of warmth of their beloved 'Uncle Joe'. One of his great-great nephews was born on the 14 April, btw, and bears the middle name 'Joseph' in his honour.
Agreed it's sad that nothing was done in terms of a memorial - even a blue heritage plaque on the Westbourne Ave. house would be a good start.
It would be difficult to succinctly summarise his post-Titanic life. Interestingly, his career very closely paralleled Harold Lowe's up until the time that Lowe retired - both with the RNR and in the WSL. The two even served on the same WSL ship at the same rank within weeks of each other.
If you're familiar with his final years you'd be aware of Boxhall's sad decline. Although not listed as a cause of death, he was suffering from what his family believes was alzheimers or senility and was experiencing financial difficulties. This is particularly cruel considering the extraordinarily fine mind the man had.
Ian. I howled when I read that you ate your sandwich outside Boxhalls house. That sounds like ~ME~!! I was (lost) driving all over Lakewood two days ago, (Mike Herbold are you reading this?)and screeched in excitement when I came across "Clark" street. Even had to drive down it, just to say that I was there. It was dark and I didn't see much, and I don't even know how I ended up there or how to get back, but I had a smile on my face all the way home.
Only a Titaniac.......... Colleen
Hrm - adventures in eating, eh? Kerri and I passed a memorable afternoon in a remote, decaying English churchyard in the drizzling rain after tracking down some of the Moody family buried there. Fortunately we'd brought some McDonalds with us that we ate under the shelter of some yews before getting out the camera and tackling the moss-covered headstones and vaults...I still rate it as one of the more 'atmospheric' or 'picturesque' experiences of our trek across the UK. Kerri still thinks it was just plain eerie, if not downright macarbe.
Blocks away and you didn't call? You were also close to the church that Walter Miller Clark's mother donated in her son's memory, now called Lakewood Village Community Church, which is on Sunfield Ave, a block west of Clark Ave. Also, you were only a few miles north of where Anna Sophia Turja Lundi lived in Long Beach.
Mike S. ROTFL!!!! Then again... It IS McDonalds, and I think Inger had the right idea. Talk about prepared for the worst when eating there!
Mike H. (Shamefully) I am staring at a map right now, and believe it or not I was as close as the gas station on Bellflower Blvd. and didn't even realize it. & here I was feeling all smug for stumbling onto a STREET! It was getting dark, and it was the first time through the city, so I literally didn't know where I was at.
I spotted a VERY old church earlier, (o.k., o.k. for California that is. It doesn't hold a candle to some in England!) but it isn't marked on my map exactly what it was, but when I saw it, I wondered if it was THE church that had been donated by the Clark family. It is really beautiful. If it is, I will be sure to take some pictures.
I will touch base with you next time before I am in town, and get better directions to these sights.
Mike, I assure you the Quarterpounder was eaten with extreme reverence ;-)
It was one of those days on the go, of course - for once we were staying in a hotel without the B&B option, so hadn't had a chance to load up on a full English breakfast (one of those artery cloggers will keep you going at least until evening).
These days, since I started the running programme, I can only hearken back to such fast food indulgances with nostalgia.
Don't know if I'll every picnic in a churchyard again...
Lol! Ian, I'm a British Citizen ;-) I live in London. Sorry we got off-track, though.
Is there anything specific you're after about Boxhall? I could natter for yonks about his later career on the Cunarders (and how this quiet, unassuming man was pursued by socialites), or about his WWI career (about which there is some misinformation circulating), or about how he came to be involved in the making of ANTR, or some stories from his early career, or...well...quite a bit, actually. Most, if not all, of this information is unpublished.
I was only kidding, but listen to this. Something weird just happened. I have been invited by the local residents association to put a proposal to them, to errect a plaque outside the house in Westbourne Avenue!
If you have got all that information, isn't it about time there was a book published?
Splendid news about the plaque! I'd love to see that happen. Please do keep us informed.
You may have heard about the Bell Album, recently acquired by collector Jeff Newman, which contains quite a few photographs of Boxhall during his pre-Titanic stint on the Oceanic? Jeff's plans for publication are already fairly far advanced, and I'm working on the accompanying text at the moment. I hope to incorporate as much of the material on Boxhall's career, and some relating to his private life, as possible.
I'm also planning to include what material I can on Boxhall in the Lowe biography that's currently in the works, and may do an article or two on the Titanic's Fourth Officer for one of the Titanic Society publications (have just done one on Wilde and have one or two on Moody in the works). But, as I mentioned above, I have tentatively discussed with Boxhall's family the possibility of a full scale biography - just have to clear what's already on my plate first, although I've got half an eye on this project and am compiling material as I go along.
Briefly, Boxhall returned to the Australia run in the post-Titanic, pre-War period. After the war he spent a good deal of time on the North American run again, sailing not only to US ports such as NY but also Canadian ports. I'm at work at the moment without my notes, but I recall him serving on ships such as the 'Calgaric' and the 'Baltic'. The decline of the immigration trade and the rise of tourism and cruising in the 20s and 30s led to changes in his profession that he did not enjoy - he missed the halcyon pre-war days of his early career.
He surprised his family by agreeing to participate in the filming of ANTR (his niece had asked him to do so, telling him it was his duty to 'see the poor ship sunk properly'). Although he had always been reluctant to talk about the sinking, he seemed to open up somewhat about this time - one family member told me involvement in the film gave him a new lease on life and he was actively involved in promoting ANTR.
Hope to hear from you if the commemorative plaque is a 'go' - if you need any letters in support of your proposal I'd be happy to write one, and I'm certain the other members of this board would also be glad to do so as well.
I am right behind you with pencil in hand if that is what it takes.
Sorry about the McDonalds tangant teacher. The outburst wont happen again.... Can I get out of the corner now?
"Natter for yonks?" What's that????? New vocabulary for me, but I like it.(I hope it isn't an unflattery term.)
Anything you might have to say about Boxhall and/or Lowe, I would be more than happy to read or listen to or whatever. I'm always thrilled to learn more about them as individuals and not just as characters in a tragedy.
Colleen - I'm as responsible as you are for the fast food digression (if not more so). And to think I'd resolved to stay more on topic...
'Natter for yonks' isn't a negative term (unless you're subjected to a rather dull harangue, which is a possibility). 'Natter' is, of course, to talk or chat. 'yonks' is a nod to Oz speak - it means 'for a long time'. One can talk for 'yonks' or one might say of a friend 'I haven't seen her for yonks'.
Allison - Is it really wise to extend a carte blanche invitation to me to talk about my favourite subjects? ;-) One of the most interesting and appealing character traits of Boxhall is his remarkable tenacity. There's a story that dates back to his early days in sail, when he was quite badly injured while on watch in heavy weather. Instead of retiring below, he simply struggled back to his feet and finished the watch. Not an untypical story from the days of sail, but indicative of the man's strength of character. In spite of the fact that he suffered several severe illnesses in his early career, he was able to not only hold his own, but excel in his chosen career. He was also able to stick it out as a deck officer longer than any of his fellow surviving officers.
There are many instances of Boxhall sticking to his guns. He didn't have the flamboyance of Lightoller or the talent for showmanship and sometimes strident self-confidence that Lowe had, but this quiet, soft spoken man had an iron determination. His insistance that he had seen another ship from the decks of the sinking Titanic in the face of what sounds rather like initial scepticism from Smith, his efforts to get the expenses he felt was due to him from the BoT, and his subsequent unshakeable position on the Californian - all part of a formidable fortitude.
I'm sorry, but reading over this again, I realised that I didn't respond to your original comments. Funny, but I thought of what you said as I was walking through the city centre this morning. Your comments about finding an old church in LA struck me. The walk to my meeting took me past the dry dock where the 'Bounty' was built(Fletcher Christian and all that), past the remains of the medieval city walls and the school built in 1587. And that's only the things that I was paying attention to. I have to sit outside Boxhalls house, just to bring me back to the last century!
If your Experience of dining in an English church yard was in Scarborough, then I have to confess that I was there last week!
And a couple of weeks before that, I was in Southampton. My 5 year old son knows the story of the Titanic well, but he sometimes gets confused. He was disappointed not to see her in the solent!!!
The atmospheric English churchyard wasn't in Scarborough, but I've spent quite a bit of time up there as well - the Yorkshire spa town is one of my favourite sites in the UK. I first visited a few years ago for research purposes, but have returned quite often simply to unwind (had a friend who used to live in York, so it was handy to visit her and then take the train on to Scarborough).
Have you visited James Moody's memorial plaque in the church of St Martins on the Hill, and the headstone in Woodland's Cemetary? (I always bring flowers to the latter, two years ago on the anniversary of Moody's birth, but generally don't dine alfresco in that setting!).
Boxhall holidayed at least once in Scarborough, and in his correspondence is a series of postcards he sent while staying there. I was delighted to see that he concurred with me that the South Cliff was the place to stay/visit - James Moody's grandfather had much to do with establishing it as the most fashionable area of town following the railway boom of the 1840s. Typical of Boxhall's comments was that 'the gardens on the South are far prettier.' Sage man, that JGB.
I hope your son can conjure and keep the image of the Titanic in the Solent - how much better to 'see' her there than where she is!