Sixth Officer James Moody
- Evacuation

After the collision, it was Captain Smith's priority to get an accurate damage report to understand the seriousness of the situation. At the US Inquiry, Able Seaman Frank Oliver Evans recalls meeting an officer: "I think it was the fifth officer; the fifth or sixth officer. He told me to go down and find the carpenter and sound all the wells forward" (US Inquiry). As fifth officer Lowe was still in his cabin at the point, he must have been referring to sixth officer Moody giving him the instruction - although it could well have been Fourth officer Boxhall, as he had been instructed by Captain Smith to find the carpenter.

Once the seriousness of the situation had been established, Captain Smith ordered the uncovering of the lifeboats at 12:05am, to swing them out and get passengers wearing lifebelts. Chief Officer Wilde was ordered to muster the deck crew and uncover the boats, First officer Murdoch to rouse the passengers and Sixth officer Moody to find the list for the lifeboat stations.

Quartermaster Olliver:
"the sixth officer told
me to go and get the
boat's list"

Lifeboat List

Moody was in charge of the list for the lifeboat stations according to the evidence of Quartermaster Alfred Olliver, who had been on the bridge at the time of the collision. He testified that when he came back on "the bridge then the sixth officer told me to go and get the boat's list, so that he could muster the men at the boats. I went and got the sailors' boat list and took it to him. Then somebody told me to muster the boats... I did not muster the men at the boats. I gave this to Mr. Moody, the sixth officer." Olliver added that he did not see Moody muster the men at the lifeboats himself, as he did not see him, just "gave him the list." (US Inquiry)

Between Olliver giving Moody the list and the uncovering of the lifeboats there are no confirmed accounts of what Moody did. Jemma Hyder and Inger Sheil believe he may have gone below decks:

Possibly he went below to alert the heads of each department. This view is bolstered by the fact that Margaret Graham and Elizabeth Shutes saw an officer pass by their corridor soon after the collision. He assured them that there was no danger, but they heard him down the corridor telling someone that the water could be kept out for a little while.. A perusal of the Titanic’s deck plans reveals that their cabin, C-125, was mere doors away from those of the Chief Steward, Surgeon and Assistant Surgeon. That Dr O’Loughlin, the Titanic’s senior surgeon, was made aware of the Titanic’s precarious position is evidenced by a remark he is reported to have made at this time that the mailbags were floating around in the hull, and his intimation to a stewardess that things were ‘very bad’. As neither Pitman nor Boxhall would later relate having dispatched on this errand, it is likely that James Moody was charged with the task. ("On Watch" -, 2002 by Jemma Hyder and Inger Sheil)

Third Officer Pitman
spoke with Moody
on the boat deck

12:05am Lifeboats Uncovered

Third officer Pitman remembers meeting Moody while the lifeboats were being uncovered: "I put a coat on and went on deck, and saw the men uncovering the boats and clearing them away. I walked along to the after end of the boat deck, and met Mr. Moody, the sixth officer. I asked him if he had seen the iceberg. He said no; but he said, "There is some ice on the forward well deck." So, to satisfy my curiosity, I went down there myself. (US Inquiry). Pitman later clarified that he met Moody "on the afterpart of the deck." (British Inquiry). This is likely the last time Pitman saw his fellow junior officer.

Colonel Archibald Gracie remembers
seeing Moody, who he described as a
"tall thin chap"

12:25am Lifeboats Loaded

Colonel Archibald Gracie remembered seeing Moody, who he described as a "tall thin chap" at the time when the order to load the lifeboats was given: "Some time elapsed, I should say from three-quarters of an hour to an hour before we were ordered to the boats. Then a young English officer of the ship, a tall thin chap, whose name was Murphy - I think it was Officer Murphy... not Murdoch. Murphy, I think it was. He was the sixth officer, or something of that sort….Moody was his name. He said, "No man beyond this line." Then the women went beyond that line. I saw that these four ladies, with whose safety I considered myself entrusted, went beyond that line to get amidships on this deck, which was A deck. (US Inquiry)

Port side Lifeboats 2 and 4

Able Seaman William Lucas remembers seeing Sixth officer Moody at lifeboat no.2. "I went to the assistance of all the boats there to be swung out from the deck...The only officers I saw there [lifeboat no.2] were Mr. Moody and Mr. Lightoller" (British Inquiry)

Colonel Archibald Gracie also saw Moody at lifeboat no.4, who he described as a "tall, slim young Englishman" while he was escorting Mrs. J. M. Brown and Miss Evans to the lifeboats. We can establish it is lifeboat no.4 as we know that Lightoller had it lowered to A deck for loading, a mistake that would delay its departure for at least an hour: "When the order to load the boats was received I had promptly moved forward with the ladies in my charge toward the boats then being lowered from the Boat Deck above to Deck A on the port side of the ship, where we then were. A tall, slim young Englishman, Sixth Officer J. P. Moody, whose name I learned later, with other members of the ship's crew, barred the progress of us men passengers any nearer to the boats. All that was left me was then to consign these ladies in my charge to the protection of the ship's officer, and I thereby was relieved of their responsibility and felt sure that they would be safely loaded in the boats at this point." (The Truth About the Titanic, Archibald Gracie, 1912)

Later Gracie found the two women again an hour later and points out the Moody had stopped him accompanying the ladies in the lifeboat: "It pained me to discover Mrs. J. M. Brown and Miss Evans, the two ladies whom more than an hour previous I had, as related, consigned to the care of Sixth Officer Moody on Deck A, where he, as previously described, blocked my purpose of accompanying these ladies and personally assisting them into the boat." (The Truth About the Titanic, Archibald Gracie, 1912)

Able Seaman William Lucas
testified that Moody ordered
the loading of lifeboats
12 and 16

Port side Lifeboats 12, 16

As the fateful night progressed the junior officers had much work to do: "A sense of the energy and urgency in the officers was related by second class passenger Clear Cameron, who recalled arriving on the boat deck to find that ‘there was no Captain and no First Officer to be seen, just two young Officers shouting and giving orders for Women and Children to get into the boats as quickly as they can…’""(Cameron, C., letter 21 April 1912, "On Watch" -, 2002 by Jemma Hyder and Inger Sheil)

Able Seaman William Lucas related: "The afterpart of the ship where I first started lowering boats... That was number 16, 12... They were not fully manned by a long way." Lucas says that he received the order that women were to be put in the boats by "Mr. Moody, the sixth officer... He was near me when I was lowering... [at] the afterend of all." Evans also said that he was "warned off by Mr. Moody, and to stand by." and helped lower "about eight" lifeboats. (British Inquiry)

Fifth officer Lowe worked with Moody in the port side, with Moody primarily at lifeboat 16. "I next went across the deck….To the other side, that is, the port side, and I met the sixth officer, Moody, and asked Moody, "What are you doing?" He said, "I am getting these boats away." So we filled both 14 and 16 with women and children…I did not fill 16; Moody filled 16." (US Inquiry)

Steward C.E. Andrews remembers Moody being in control at lifeboat no.16, the aftermost port lifeboat: "When the officer started to fill the boat with passengers and the men to man it, there were no individuals who tried to get in, or that he permitted to get in. There was no confusion whatever. The officer asked me if I could take an oar. I said I could."

Stewardess Violet Jessop described
Moody as "a young officer trying to
persuade emigrants to go into the boats"

One occupant of lifeboat 16 is Stewardess Violet Jessop, who later in private correspondence recalled the difficulties Moody had in getting passengers to enter the boats:

It was terribly difficult to make people get into the boats and leave their menfolk behind. After we had done all we could below stairs, we went up on deck and were just standing back watching a young officer trying to persuade emigrants to go into the boats. As he could not make himself understood (they were mostly Poles, Russians, etc.), he asked us to give a good example and get in." (Violet Jessop to Mrs. Emery 29/7/1958)

In her memoirs, Stewardess Jessop provided a vivid description of a "weary" and "tired" Moody who also smiled and later passed someone's "forgotten baby":

My arm was suddenly jerked and I turned to see young [Moody] who had been busy filling a boat. His face looked weary and tired, but he gave a bright smile as he ordered my group into the boat, calling out "Good luck!" as we stepped in, helped by his willing, guiding hand. I nearly fell over the tack and oars as I tried to assist Ann in beside me. She was suffering from her feet, I could see, and found her lifebelt got in the way of moving freely. Before I could do anything, young [Moody] hailed me and held up something, calling to me as he prepared to throw it, "Look after this, will you?" and I reached out to receive somebody's forgotten baby in my arms." (Titanic Survivor: The Memoirs Of Violet Jessop, Stewardess)

The origin of the baby that Moody gave to Jessop is discussed in John Maxtone-Graham's book "Titanic Tragedy":

That civilized tenor was disrupted by the arrival of a steerage woman who had clambered up from the after well deck. She was carrying a baby. Although she spoke a language no one understood, it was clear that she feared for her child’s life. Hysterical with grief, she put the baby down on a coil of rope that would shortly be used to lower lifeboat No.16 to the water and disappeared. James Moody, Titanic’s sixth officer, responsible for loading boats nos. 16 and 14, picked up the infant and, spying Violet among the boat’s occupants, called out, “Here, Jessop take this child.” She did on wrapping it in the quilt she had provincially brought for one of “her passengers”; this was not one of hers but clearly a passenger in need. Keeping the baby wrapped in quilt she not only kept it warm but also protected it from the sharp cork blocks of her lifejacket. Violet clutched the infant lightly throughout the remainder of that bitter night. ("Titanic Tragedy", by John Maxtone-Graham/courtesy of Thomas Krom/Encyclopedia Titanica)

1:25am Moody orders Lowe into lifeboat 14

According to Fifth Officer Lowe,
Moody told him to take command of
lifeboat 14

According to Fifth officer Lowe, Moody told him to get into lifeboat 14, despite the fact that Moody was Lowe's junior: "I saw five boats go away without an officer, and I told Mr. Moody on my own that I had seen five boats go away, and an officer ought to go in one of these boats. I asked him who it was to be - him or I - and he told me, “You go; I will get in another boat.” (British Inquiry)

Lowe left Titanic in No. 14, apparently under the impression that Moody would be following him shortly in another boat – probably No. 16. He would not see Moody again: "When I had that conversation with him. That is the last I saw of him" as he did not get into any other boat. (British Inquiry)

A. B. Joseph Scarrott – remembered
that Lowe instructed Moody to take
command of lifeboat 16

There are witnesses to this exchange. One of them – A. B. Joseph Scarrott – would remember that Lowe instructed Moody to take command of No. 16: "I was taking the women in when Mr. Lowe came. There was another officer with him on the boat deck, but I do not know which one that was, and he said to this other officer: "All right, you go in that boat and I will go in this." That would mean No. 16 boat; she was abaft us, the next boat. Mr. Lowe came in our boat." (British Inquiry)

There is another account which infers that Lowe and Moody may have "tossed" which one would take charge. A Miss E.M German, whose brother knew Lowe personally, wrote in 1955: "Officer Lowe told my brother that he and another officer tossed which of them should take charge of the last lifeboat to leave the ship and Commander Lowe... won." (Courtesy of Paul Lee,

However, Moody never took charge of 16. Instead Master of Arms Henry Joseph Bailey took charge. Bailey was never called to testify at either of the British or American Inquiries so we do not have his versions of events. Able seaman Ernest Archer testified that Bailey descended down one of the falls into the boat, presumably ordered to do so by one of the officers, where he took command of the craft. It is possible that due to this Moody was unable to take charge. Possible occupant Mrs Wells describes that "just as we went down I saw a revolver in an officer's hand" which would indicate Second Officer Lightoller was present at the lowering and perhaps put Bailey in charge instead of Moody.

Jemma Hyder and Inger Sheil note that Moody's orders at 16 did not include taking command himself:

James ordered AB Ernest Archer to make certain that the drainage plug was in the boat and that no one else attempted to enter it. He warned off AB Lucas and told him to stand by the fall and prepare for lowering. Although there were about five crewman aboard, apparently only two of these - AB James Forward and AB Archer - had experience in handling small boats. Moody seems to have realised this, and he ordered Master at Arms Bailey down the falls to take command. There is no indication in the testimony of survivors that Moody made any attempt to follow Lowe’s instructions and take command of No. 16 himself. ("On Watch" -, 2002 by Jemma Hyder and Inger Sheil)

Moody instructed Quartermaster
Walter Wynn to take charge of
lifeboat 9

1:30am Starboard Lifeboat no. 9

Quartermaster Walter Wynn, who had served with Moody aboard the Oceanic, helped clear away various lifeboats and then met Sixth Officer Moody who told him to go to his own boat: "Mr. Moody told me to go to number nine boat and take charge of number nine..It was all ready swinging out on the davits and he told me to take charge of No. 9, as I did not know my own boat... I got in and assisted the ladies in; and when we started to lower away the boatswain’s mate got into the boat, and I handed charge over to him, and took an oar. (British Inquiry)

1:40am Lifeboat no.13

Lookout Reginald Robinson Lee
described Moody as "a tall officer,
about 6 feet in height, fresh

Lookout Reginald Robinson Lee remembers Moody - who he described as "a tall officer, about 6 feet in height, fresh complexion" at lifeboat number 13: "I went on to the next boat [13] because there was scarcely anybody in that boat... Mr. ---- , I cannot tell you what his name is - a tall officer, about 6 feet in height, fresh complexion - I forget his name; I could not remember his name - he was there attending to passing the passengers into the boats…He is about the sixth officer, or the fifth officer…Yes, tall and spare. I think he was drowned…We put some women and children into the boat, and then there were some passengers got in, and I was ordered by him to get in the boat and we lowered away; and then No. 15 very nearly came on top of us." (British Inquiry)

Crew member George Beauchamp was asked at the British Inquiry about the loading of No. 13 "Have you any recollection of the name of the officer who was in charge of the deck at the time?" to which he could only respond "no, I do not know." (British Inquiry)

12-year-old Ruth Becker was allegedly 'picked up
and dumped' into lifeboat 13

Twelve-year-old Ruth Becker, a second class passenger, had come up to the boat deck with her mother and two young siblings and was separated from them when they were put in lifeboat no.11 that was lowered without her. According to the website "Bridge Duty" by Inger Sheil and Kerri Dundberg, Ruth saw Moody loading no.13 and picked her up and dumped her into the lifeboat:

"Her mother had followed the two younger children into No. 11, only realizing as it was being lowered that Ruth was still on the ship. She called up to her daughter to get into another boat. Ruth moved down the deck, and saw Moody loading No. 13. She asked if she could get into the boat. "He said 'sure', and he picked me up and dumped me in. I evidently was the last one put in that boat because they started lowering right away." Ruth did not know the officer's name, but for the rest of her long life she would tell story of how James Moody had swiftly picked her up and placed her in the boat - an old woman recounting a story about a young ship's officer lost in the early years of the century, before the first World War." (Bridge Duty, Officers of the RMS Titanic, Inger Sheil & Kerri Sundberg 1999)