Sixth Officer James Moody
- Final Watch

Fourth officer Boxhall told Moody: "Now Moody
you go around the decks and come back
at nine o'clock."

At 8pm on the 14th of April, Sixth officer Moody began what would be his final four hour watch, relieving Fifth officer Lowe. According to Quartermaster Robert Hichens, who also started his watch at 8pm: "I went on watch at 8 o'clock. The officers on the watch were the second officer, Mr. Lightoller, senior in command; the fourth officer, Mr. Boxhall; and the sixth officer, Mr. Moody." (US Inquiry) Officer of the Watch, Ligjhtoller, had taken over from Chief Officer Wilde.

Fourth officer Boxhall then said to Moody: "Now Moody you go around the decks and come back at nine o'clock."  (Joseph Boxhall, BBC radio interview October 1962).

At some point during the watch Moody would have also taken a revolution report. Lightoller does not recall a report but testified that reports are sent up from the engine room "every four hours" and that the "Sixth Officer, when we went on watch, generally took them from the telephone." (British Inquiry)

Moody's Ice Calculation

James Moody in White Star Line uniform,
looking unusually pensive compared to his
other photographs.

On Moody's return his next job was to calculate the ice proximity. According to Second Officer Lightoller, referring to the Caronia telegram received earlier in the day, he "told one of the junior officers to work out about what time we should reach the ice region, and he told me about 11 o’clock." Lightoller's watch finished at 10 pm and hence believing that he "should not be in the vicinity of the ice before I came on deck again. I roughly ran that off in my mind." (US Inquiry)

Later at the British Inquiry he clarified: "When I gave Mr. Moody instructions (I think if I did not say it in my evidence, I ought to have done) I used words to the effect that would guide him to look for the earliest ice, to let me know at what time we should be up at the ice. He would naturally look at the easternmost... whether I actually used the word easterly I do not recollect, but he would naturally conclude that, I should judge." (British Inquiry)

During the British Inquiry investigators picked up on this calculation in particular. Lightoller notes that he directed Sixth Officer Moody who made his calculations based on a marconigram " placed on the notice board for that purpose in the chart room" and "the junior officer reported to me, “About 11 o’clock.” (British Inquiry) However sometime shortly thereafter "about 7 or 8 o’clock, probably. I really cannot remember, but I know it was after Mr. Moody had given me this time of his" Lightoller made his own calculations:

"I might say as a matter of fact I have come to the conclusion that Mr. Moody did not take the same Marconigram which Captain Smith had shown me on the bridge because on running it up just mentally, I came to the conclusion that we should be to the ice before 11 o’clock, by the Marconigram that I saw…. I roughly figured out about half-past nine. I should not say a mistake, only he probably had not noticed the 49º wireless; there may have been others, and he may have made his calculations from one of the other Marconigrams… I probably thought that Mr. Moody had based his calculation on the actual position of some berg or number of bergs" (British Inquiry).

Lightoller on the bridge of the Oceanic, 1910.
(Click to enlarge)

When first mentioning this at the British Inquiry, Lightoller was questioned as to why he did not question Moody about this:

"I quite see your point, and I had reasons for not doing so. As far as I remember he was busy - what on I cannot recollect, and I thought I would not bother him just at that time. He was busy with some calculations, probably stellar calculations or bearings, and I had run it up in my mind, and I was quite assured that we should be up to 49 degrees somewhere about half-past 9..."(British Inquiry)

The British Inquiry Commissioner, however, went on to doubt Lightoller's recollection of this event, stating " Lightoller, when he gave his evidence about it, is not, in my opinion, very satisfactory…if you remember he said when Moody told him that he expected to meet ice about 11 o’clock, “I noticed that it was wrong, but I did not say so; he was busy at the time and I did not want to disturb him.” It appears to me a most unsatisfactory explanation, but that is what he says. Then he says. “I thought” - he said this subsequently and seems very like an afterthought - “I thought that Moody’s calculation was based on some other telegram.” (British Inquiry)

Moody's Lookout Warning

Quartermaster Robert Hichens testifying at the
British BOT Inquiry.

At approximately 9.30 p.m. Quartermaster Hichens "heard the second officer repeat to Mr. Moody, the sixth officer, to speak through the telephone, warning the lookout men in the crow's nest to keep a sharp lookout for small ice until daylight and pass the word along to the other lookout men….I heard by the second officer when he repeated it. He sent me with his compliments to the ship's carpenter to look out for the ship's water, that it was freezing, at 8 o'clock. Then I knew. I didn't know before, but I heard the second officer distinctly tell Mr. Moody, the sixth officer, to repeat through the telephone, and keep a sharp lookout for small ice until daylight, and to pass the word along for the other lookout men."(US Inquiry)

Later at the British Inquiry, Hichens confirmed this conversation, "I heard Mr. Lightoller speak to Mr. Moody and tell him to speak through the telephone to the crow’s-nest to keep a sharp look-out for small ice and growlers until daylight and pass the word along to the look-out man." (British Inquiry)

Lightoller himself remembers the conversation. He first mentions it at the US Inquiry:

Senator SMITH. Did you admonish the lookout men?
Senator SMITH. What did you say to them?
Mr. LIGHTOLLER. I told the sixth officer, Mr. Moody, to ring up the crow's nest and tell them to keep a sharp lookout for ice, particularly small ice and growlers. That was received and replied to - and also to pass the word along.
Senator SMITH. How do you know it was replied to?
Mr. LIGHTOLLER. Because I could hear it.
Senator SMITH. You heard it yourself?
Senator SMITH. Did Mr. Moody survive?
(US Inquiry)

At the British Inquiry he remembers that he got Moody to repeat it again:

LIGHTOLLER: I thought it was a necessary precaution. That is a message I always send along when approaching the vicinity of ice or a derelict, as the case may be... I told Mr. Moody to ring up the crow’s-nest and tell the look-outs to keep a sharp look out for ice, particularly small ice and growlers. Mr. Moody rang them up and I could hear quite distinctly what he was saying. He said, “Keep a sharp look out for ice, particularly small ice,” or something like that, and I told him, I think, to ring up again and tell them to keep a sharp look out for ice particularly small ice and growlers. And he rang up the second time and gave the message correctly." (British Inquiry)

Authors Jemma Hyder and Inger Sheil note that Lightoller's order reveals how junior officers and senior officers operated:

The brief incident gives us a glimpse of what the working relationship was between senior and junior officers, and the on-the-job training that was given to the latter. Moody’s own correspondence revealed his respect and liking for Lightoller, a man of quite a genial disposition but who had high expectations of himself and others. The correction was a necessary one, and part of the on-going education for a young officer. Moody had not experienced year-round conditions on the North Atlantic, and had much to learn about this particular run and its hazards. ("On Watch" -, 2002 by Jemma Hyder and Inger Sheil)