Titanic's youngest officer, the faithful James Moody

James Paul Moody left his home in Scarborough, England to attend King Edward Nautical School in London. He graduated in 1911 at the age of 23, and was hired by the White Star Line to serve aboard the luxurious Oceanic. Less than one year later, he was transferred to the Titanic as her Sixth Officer and sent to Belfast, where Titanic would be fitted out and prepared for her maiden voyage. Excited to be sailing aboard the world’s largest vessel, Moody was well-liked and loved to joke with his fellow crewmen. moody1

Sixth Officer James P. Moody

The Titanic sailed from her home in Belfast to Southampton, where most of her crew was hired. Stewards, stokers, trimmers, cooks, errand boys, lift boys and other crewmembers boarded early on April 10th, prior to passenger arrivals. Six members of the crew, however, stayed too long at the local pub and had to run to catch the ship. When they reached the docks, James Moody had just ordered the gangplank to be pulled aboard. Not wanting to lose their new jobs, the men argued, but Moody refused to let them board. Six others had already been hired in their place.

Moody was responsible for the daily measuring of the air and water temperatures. He also took the 8:00-12:00 am and pm watches, plus the “dog watch” from 4:00-5:00 pm.

At 11:39 pm on the night of April 14th, he was on watch on the bridge with First Officer William Murdoch. Lookout Frederick Fleet phoned the bridge. Moody answered and said, “What do you see?”

Fleet replied, “Iceberg, right ahead!” Moody immediately told Murdoch, who sent an order to the engine room on the telegraph. “Stop! Full speed astern!” followed by orders to turn the ship and close the doors between the watertight compartments. Despite their efforts, the Titanic rammed into the iceberg along its starboard side.


The Titanic Officers, with James Moody seated on the far left

As soon as Captain Smith ordered the lifeboats to be filled and lowered, Moody was sent to help with loading passengers into boats on the port side. When told by Fifth Officer Lowe to go with Boat 14, he refused. Although it was traditional for lower ranking officers to be given the position of manning a lifeboat, Moody told Lowe to take his place. He then went to the starboard side to assist Officer Murdoch.

James Moody was last seen by a ship’s trimmer, working to launch one of the collapsible lifeboats. His body was not recovered. He was 24 years of age.

The memorial plaque below, near his childhood home in Scarborough, is in honor of James Moody. Note the inscription near the bottom, with the Biblical quote from his mother's tombstone: "Greater love hath no man than this; that he lay down his life for his friends."  Additional memorials have been erected to remember the sacrifice of Titanic's youngest officer.

plaque for moody


The Boat That Went Back (Part II)

From last week - In Lifeboat 14, Fifth Officer Harold Lowe, 29, blew his whistle and ordered that several boats near him, including Boat 4, tie together and redistribute the passengers more evenly. When that was done and the cries from the water subsided a bit, Lowe felt it was safe to return to rescue people from the water. Until then, he felt the boats would be sunk by hundreds of people attempting to climb in.

Lowe told the US Inquiry, “I transferred all my passengers…about 53, from my boat and equally distributed them among my other four boats. Then I asked for volunteers to go with me to the wreck…I went off and rowed to the wreckage and picked up four people alive. But one died, and that was Mr. Hoyt of New York. It took all the boat’s crew to pull this gentleman into the boat, because he was an enormous man…I propped him up at the stern of the boat…unfortunately he died. But the other three survived.”

Harold Lowe

Fifth Officer Harold Lowe (photo credit - itv.com)

Able Seaman Joseph Scarrott, with Lowe at the time, described the scene. “We tied our boats together so as to form a large object on the water which would be seen quicker than a single boat by a passing vessel….taking one man from each boat so as to make a crew, we rowed away amongst the wreckage. When we got to it, the sight we saw was awful. We were amongst hundreds of dead bodies floating in lifebelts. We could only see four alive…One of these we saw kneeling as if in prayer on a part of a staircase. He was only about twenty yards away from us but it took us half an hour to push our boat through the wreckage and bodies to get to him…we put out an oar for him and pulled him into the boat…As we left that awful scene we gave way to tears. It was enough to break the stoutest heart.”


Able Seaman Joseph Scarrott (photo credit - Encyclopedia Titanica)

Collapsible Lifeboat B had fallen into the water from the Titanic upside down. About 25 passengers and crew swam toward it and climbed on the overturned boat. After Officer Lowe and his crew rescued the four men from the wreckage, they spotted Lifeboat B and those on top or clinging to it in the water. They pulled alongside and picked up “about 20 men and one woman.” Another three had already perished, which Lowe decided to leave with the craft. Another died prior to rescue by the Carpathia. All living passengers and one body were taken aboard.


Survivors aboard the Carpathia (photo credit - Click Americana)

Harold Lowe had worked aboard ships ever since he ran away to sea when he was fourteen. The voyage on the Titanic was his first in the north Atlantic.

Following rescue, he married in September 1913 and had two children. He continued to work at sea and was made a commander in the Royal Naval Reserve during World War I. He died at the age of 61.