James Paul Moody

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James Paul Moody

James Paul Moody.jpg
Born21 August 1887
Died15 April 1912(1912-04-15) (aged 24)
OccupationRMS Titanic's Sixth Officer

Sub-lieutenant James Paul Moody, RNR (21 August 1887 – 15 April 1912) was the Sixth Officer of the RMS Titanic and the only junior officer to die when the ship sank on her maiden voyage.

Sub-lieutenant is a junior military officer rank.

Royal Naval Reserve volunteer reserve force of the Royal Navy in the United Kingdom

The Royal Naval Reserve (RNR) is the volunteer reserve force of the Royal Navy in the United Kingdom. The present RNR was formed by merging the original Royal Naval Reserve, created in 1859, and the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR), created in 1903. The Royal Naval Reserve has seen action in World War I, World War II, the Iraq War and Afghanistan.

RMS <i>Titanic</i> British transatlantic passenger liner, launched and foundered in 1912

RMS Titanic was a British passenger liner that sank in the North Atlantic Ocean in 1912, after colliding with an iceberg during her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City. Of the estimated 2,224 passengers and crew aboard, more than 1,500 died, making it one of modern history's deadliest commercial marine disasters during peacetime. RMS Titanic was the largest ship afloat at the time she entered service and was the second of three Olympic-class ocean liners operated by the White Star Line. She was built by the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast. Thomas Andrews, chief naval architect of the shipyard at the time, died in the disaster.


Born in Scarborough, he received a prestigious education and served the White Star Line aboard the luxurious RMS Oceanic.

Scarborough, North Yorkshire town in North Yorkshire, England

Scarborough is a town on the North Sea coast of North Yorkshire, England. Historically part of the North Riding of Yorkshire, the town lies between 10–230 feet above sea level, rising steeply northward and westward from the harbour on to limestone cliffs. The older part of the town lies around the harbour and is protected by a rocky headland.

White Star Line British shipping company

The Oceanic Steam Navigation Company, more commonly known as the White Star Line, was a British shipping company. Founded out of the remains of a defunct packet company, it gradually rose up as one of the most prominent shipping lines in the world, providing passenger and cargo services between the British Empire and the United States. While many other shipping lines focused primarily on speed, White Star branded their services by focusing more on providing steady and comfortable passages, for both upper class travelers and immigrants. Today it is most famous for the innovative vessel Oceanic of 1870, and for the losses of some of their best passenger liners, including the wrecking of RMS Atlantic at Halifax in 1873, the sinking of RMS Republic off Nantucket in 1909, the infamous loss of RMS Titanic in 1912 and that of HMHS Britannic while serving as a hospital ship in 1916. Despite its casualties, the company retained a prominent hold on shipping markets around the globe before falling into decline during the Great Depression, which ultimately led to a merger with its chief rival, Cunard Line, which operated as Cunard-White Star Line until 1950. Cunard Line then operated as a separate entity until 2005 and is now part of Carnival Corporation & plc. As a lasting reminder of the White Star Line, modern Cunard ships use the term White Star Service to describe the level of customer care expected of the company.

RMS <i>Oceanic</i> (1899) 1899 ship

RMS Oceanic was a transatlantic ocean liner built for the White Star Line. She sailed on her maiden voyage on 6 September 1899 and was the largest ship in the world until 1901. At the outbreak of World War I she was converted to an armed merchant cruiser. On 8 August 1914 she was commissioned into Royal Navy service.

When Titanic struck an iceberg, he was on watch on the bridge alongside First Officer William McMaster Murdoch. He helped thereafter loading the lifeboats. Despite repeated invitations of his colleagues, he refused to board a lifeboat.

William McMaster Murdoch British sailor

William McMaster Murdoch, RNR was a Scottish sailor who served as First Officer aboard the RMS Titanic. He was notable as the officer in charge when the Titanic collided with an iceberg. Mystery also surrounds his death.

Early life

James Paul Moody was born in Scarborough, England on 21 August 1887, the youngest of four children born to solicitor John Henry Moody and his wife Evelyn Louis Lammin. Moody's grandfather and namesake, John James Paul Moody, had been a prominent local figure. Moody attended the Rosebery House School before joining HMS Conway as a cadet in 1902. [1] His two years in the ship, 1902-1903, counted as one years' sea time towards his Board of Trade Second Mate's Certification.

HMS <i>Conway</i> (school ship)

HMS Conway was a naval training school or "school ship", founded in 1859 and housed for most of her life aboard a 19th-century wooden ship of the line. The ship was originally stationed on the Mersey near Liverpool, then moved to the Menai Strait during World War II. While being towed back to Birkenhead for a refit in 1953, she ran aground and was wrecked, and later burned. The school moved to purpose-built premises on Anglesey where it continued for another twenty years.


In 1904 he joined the William Thomas Line's Boadicea as an apprentice, and endured an horrific, storm-troubled voyage to New York, in which one of his fellow apprentices was driven to suicide. [2]

After attaining his Second Mate's Certification, Moody went into steam and sailed in cargo and early oil-tankers, eventually attaining his First Mate's Certificate. After very briefly attending the King Edward VII Nautical School in 1910, a nautical "cram" school preparing officers for their Board of Trade examinations, he successfully obtained his Ordinary Master's Certification, and in August 1911 joined the White Star Line's Oceanic as her Sixth Officer. [3] In March 1912 he received word that he was to be assigned to RMS Titanic as her Sixth Officer. Moody was somewhat reluctant to accept the assignment as he had hoped to spend a summer on the Atlantic aboard the Oceanic, after having endured a harsh winter, and was also hoping to take leave. His request for leave was denied. [4]

RMS Titanic

Along with the other junior officers, Moody received a message in March 1912 ordering him to report to White Star's Liverpool offices on 26 March. From there he travelled to board Titanic at the Harland & Wolff yard in Belfast. Titanic then sailed for Southampton to take on passengers. Moody's service as Sixth Officer earned him about $37 a month, although he was allowed his own cabin as compensation for his small salary.

On Titanic's sailing day, 10 April, Moody assisted, among other things, in aiding Fifth Officer Harold Lowe in lowering two of the starboard lifeboats to satisfy the Board of Trade that Titanic met safety standards. He was also in charge of closing the last gangway, and most likely saved the lives of six crewmen who arrived too late to board by turning them away. Once the ship had put to sea, Moody stood the 4–5 PM watch and both 8–12 watches, which meant that he was on watch with First Officer William Murdoch and Fourth Officer Joseph Boxhall when the Titanic struck an iceberg at 11:40 PM on 14 April. After spotting the iceberg, lookout Frederick Fleet rang the warning bell three times and phoned the bridge. It was Moody who answered the call, asking, "What do you see?" Fleet replied, "Iceberg, right ahead!". [5]

In the ensuing evacuation, Moody helped in the loading of Lifeboats No. 9, 12, 13, 14, and 16. While loading No. 14, Fifth Officer Lowe remarked that an officer should man the lifeboat. [6] While the lower-ranked Moody would traditionally have been given this task, he deferred to Lowe. It was a decision that would seal his fate. Moody went to the starboard side and gave Murdoch a hand until the water had come on the deck. Moody was last seen by the ship's lamp trimmer, Samuel Hemming, on top of the officers' quarters trying to launch Collapsible A, an emergency lifeboat, just a few minutes before the final sinking. [7] Lightoller also said; "Mr. Moody must have been standing quite close to me at the same time. He was on top of the quarters clearing away the collapsible boat on the starboard side, whilst Mr. Murdoch was working at the falls. If that is so, we were all practically in the water together." [8]

Moody was 24 at the time of his death. His body was never recovered. He was the only junior officer on the Titanic to die in the sinking. [5]

A monument in Woodland Cemetery, Scarborough, commemorates Moody's sacrifice on the Titanic with the Biblical quote, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (see John 15:13)

He is also commemorated by a Blue Heritage Plaque at 17 Granville Road Scarborough, the house where he was born [9] and a commemorative plaque in St Martin's Church in Scarborough. [10]

He is also commemorated by a brass altar set presented by his aunt, Hannah Mountain, to the church of St Augustine of Hippo in Grimsby.


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  1. "James Paul Moody". www.scarboroughcivicsociety.org.uk. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  2. Sheil, Inger. "All the Horrors Seem to Happen at Night". Encyclopedia Titanica. Retrieved 2016-02-08.
  3. Jones, Paul Anthony (2012). The British Isles a Trivia gazetteer. Chichester: Summersdale Publishers. p. 227. ISBN   978-0-85765-827-2.
  4. Sheil, Inger (2012). Titanic Valour: The Life of Fifth Officer Harold Lowe. The History Press. ISBN   9780752477701.
  5. 1 2 "Titanic owners wanted money to return body of Scarborough hero James Moody". The Scarborough News. 24 April 2015. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  6. "Titanic letter praises heroic man". BBC News. 3 May 2005. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  7. Testimony of Samuel Hemming at Titanic inquiry.com
  8. Testimony of Charles Herbert Lightoller
  9. Stuff, Good. "James Paul Moody blue plaque in Scarborough". www.blueplaqueplaces.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-02-08.
  10. Penfold, Phil (6 November 2016). "God's house of wonders on Scarborough's south Cliff". The Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 28 November 2017.