In Memoriam William Young Moyes

Stirling Observer

The news received last week of the awful wreck of the Titanic seems to have stupefied the British and American nations - indeed, has cast a gloom over the whole world - and while the loss of every life is deplored, and every act of heroism and self-sacrifice is regarded as praiseworthy in the highest sense, we in Stirling naturally turn our thoughts more particularly to the lamentable loss of William Young Moyes. Having known ''Billie'', as he was known among us, from the early standards of the Elementary High School up to the present time, and now that every hope of his having been saved seems to have vanished, the happiest memories of him stand out prominently in my mind more clearly and more freshly than ever before. Since the first news of the calamity reached Stirling, I have eagerly scanned as I am sure have all his other chums, every line of the newspapers in the hope of his having been picked up by the crew of the Carpathia, for those of us who knew him also knew at once that his being in one of the boats was out of the question, but, alas! not a single word is said of any engineer.

It was said of him in the papers the ''he was well known in cricket and Rugby circles,'' and it is true that, in his day, he was the fast bowler in the School eleven; but where he was best known and most admired was in the ranks of the Stirling High School F.P. Rugby Club. It was here, apart from his work, of course, that all his energies were concentrated, and I shall therefore confine myself to writing of him in this connection. Up to Christmas of last year he held the coveted post of captain of the 1st XV. Of splendid physique, with a good working knowledge of the game, and liked by all, he was admirably fitted for the position. He was an excellent leader, cool and resourceful in emergencies, sure in defence, and has scored many a fine try for the School. He treated all players alike, and was straight in all his doings. Above all, he was invariably courteous to opponents, and never failed compliment them on any good points in their play, no matter whether his own side had lost or won. He was deeply interested in every section of the club, from present pupils upwards, and always had an encouraging word ready, and last, but not least, had a strong sense of humour. No wonder, then, the many past and present members of the Rugby Club were fond of ''Billie''.
Last New Year's Day a strenuous match was played at Williamfield, but the late captain was not playing, owing to his having left the previous week to join the Oceanic, from which he was transferred to the ill-fated Titanic. When coming from the field one of the forwards remarked to me, ''We missed Billie in the scrum''. Yes, and we shall continue to ''miss Billie''. It seems impossible to think of his never appearing on his favourite Williamfield again. As evidence of his tactfulness with new-comers, a comparatively recent though now much esteemed member of the 1st XV wrote:-

''Though knowing him slightly, it seems hardly credible that such a fine hale-fellow-well-met should be no longer on this earth. He was just the man in an emergency to think of everybody in preference to himself, for he gave us so many instances of that trait in his character, both on and off the field.''

When he left for the Oceanic we made him a small presentation, which was sent after him, and when replying he wrote, after thanking us -

''I may say that one of the things I felt most keenly on leaving Stirling was that I was leaving what would most likely prove to be the best friends of my life, and that I might not see them again. I only hope that some day I shall be able to enjoy another game at Williamfield, if not for the first XV., for the second, or even the third string.''

In conclusion, I am sure I am expressing the views of all his friends when I say that although his having been taken away from us so suddenly has overwhelmed us with grief, we have the satisfaction of knowing with certainty that he either helped others less able to help themselves, or that he stuck to his duty to the last, and further that our heartfelt sympathy goes out to his bereaved family.

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