Sixth Officer James Moody
- Memorials and Legacy
The loss of James Moody was keenly felt in Scarborough. Grimsby also held its own fundraising rally in People’s Park in the wake of news the Titanic had sunk, one of many held across the country. The following memorials specific to James Moody are known:
Scarborough: Church of St Martin on the Hill Plaque
There is a memorial plaque to James Moody in the Church of St Martin on the Hill, in Scarborough, mounted to the wall along the south aisle of the church. It bears these words from Revelation 2: 20. “Be thou faithful until death and I will give to thee a crown of life.”
Grimsby: St Augustine’s Church Altar Set (St Augustine of Hippo)
The Church of England Parish of St Augustine of Hippo, Grimsby came into being on the 14th of May 1912, almost a month to the day after James Moody was lost (the new church had been dedicated in November 1911 but was consecrated on 28 March 1912). Located at 145 Legsby Ave, Grimsby on the corner of St Augustine’s Avenue, James' brother Christopher served as organist, and the church conducted a service in remembrance for James.
An excerpt from St Augustine’s parish magazine dated May 1912, states that a requiem mass was celebrated for the respose of the soul of James Moody and other Titanic victims. It also read: “We sympathise with Mr CW Moody in losing his younger brother and Mrs A Mountain for losing a nephew. A letter was received from Mr Moody only the day before the Titanic sailed from Southampton, and it is evident that Mr Moody, as was only naturally to be expected, was looking forward with keen interest to this, the maiden voyage of the world’s largest passenger liner.” The Moody family donated an altar set of candlesticks and crucifix to the church where they are in daily use. The set was given to the church by by his aunt, Hannah Mountain,, as they had close ties with the parish of St James, which, together with Old Clee, formed the parish of St Augustine’s.
Inger Sheil wrote the following about St Augustine's: "Although James Moody almost certainly never attended the church of St Augustine's in Grimsby (it was only consecrated at the beginning of 1912), his family were also closely associated with this church and parish. A Requiem Service for the repose of his soul was held here in April 1912. Visiting the St Augustines, as with services I've attended in St Martins, I was struck by the similarity in ornamentation and order of the service to the Roman Catholic churches I'm more familiar with - certainly more so than with the Low Church services I've attended with a relative of another Titanic officer. It is interesting that one member of the Moody family later converted to Catholicism after an experience during WWI." (Encyclopedia Titanica, message board)
Headstone in Dean and Manor Road Cemetery, Scarborough
In the Scarborough Dean and Manor Road Cemetary (sometimes also referred to as the Woodlands Cemetery) the Moody family had a special inscription added to his mother Evelyn’s gravestone: Also In Loving Memory of James Paul Moody Her Youngest Son Born August 21st 1887 Gave Up His Life In the Wreck of the S.S. “Titanic” April 15th 1912 Greater Love Hath No Man Than This, That A Man Lay Down His Life For His Friends."
The gravestone is hidden away near the iron bridge and is now showing signs of age. To find it, go through the tunnel from Dean Road cemetery, bear left, and at the rubbish bin, carry on for about 20 yards towards the iron bridge. The inscription is on the side of the Moody headstone, which is on the right, against the bushes.
Moody Memorial Cup and Plaque
The Moody family donated the Moody Cup, a sailing cup to be competed for annually by Conway cadets. It is on display in the Merseyside Maritime Museum at Liverpool. Old Conways keep his memory alive as once a year it is loaned to the Conway Club Sailing Association where it is awarded for the best sailing log of the year. "Quit ye like men, be strong,” appears on the Moody Memorial Cup, adapted from 1 Corinthians 16: 13, as it was the motto of the HMS Conway. For many years it was the sailing dinghy trophy but after the Conway closed in 1974 this trophy was assigned to the Conway Club Association and is now awarded annually to the Old Conway belonging to that association who submits the best kept logbook. It is also known as the Moody Cup and is a prized trophy.
The cup is of silver and is inscribed on the front:
In Remembrance of
JAMES PAUL MOODY
6th Officer of the Titanic
who was drowned doing his duty to the last,
when his ship went down after striking an iceberg,
on the 14th April 1912
"Quit Ye Like Men Be Strong''
(Conway motto from 1 Corinthians 16.13)
The back of the cup is inscribed: HMS Conway Challenge Trophy For Sailing Dinghy Races Winning Helmsmen (Followed by names and year)
In earlier years a small replica was presented to the winning helmsman to keep.
The Moody Cup is now displayed in the Titanic exhibition at the Liverpool Maritime Museum, where it is on loan from the Conway Cruising Association, West Kirby, Wirral, Cheshire. The cup now stands on a new plinth which has silver panels around it on which are inscribed the names of the winners of the annual award for the best kept log book of an Old Conway Person.
The Friends of HMS Conway worked with the Scarborough Civic Society and the RNLI to erect a memorial and a polished brass plaque designed by David Hillhouse for the Scarborough Life Boat House on the seafront. The plaque was unveiled on 14th April 2002, 90 years to the day from the loss of the ‘Titanic’, by Mrs. Mary Conlan, great niece of James Moody who was accompanied by other members of the Moody family.
On it appear the following words: HMS Conway Trust Memorial James Paul Moody O.C. 6th Officer -Titanic Born Scarborough, 21st August 1887 Roseberry House Scarborough Schoolship H.M.S. Conway 1902-3 Gained Masters Certificate April 1911 Posted from Oceanic to Titanic on her maiden voyage. This brave 24 year old junior deck officer took up his lifeboat duties after the Ship struck an iceberg on her Northerly Course from Southampton to New York via Cork, clearing lifeboat after lifeboat with seamen knowing there were insufficient lifeboats for all on board. He stayed at his post to the very end, going down with the ship doing his duty. The Friends of HMS Conway Trust in placing this memorial plaque in James’s town of birth are dutifully honouring his memory. The inscription on his Mother’s tombstone quotes, “Greater Love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” James Paul Moody Old Conway, 6th officer White Star Line Titanic 15th April 1912 HMS Conway motto “Quit Ye like Men be strong” 1 Corinthians. Ch. 16 V. 13
Granville Road blue heritage plaque
On a rainy Saturday the 14th of April, 2012, exactly one hundred years after Sixth Officer Moody was on duty for what would be his final watch, family descendants unveiled a new blue plaque at his birthplace at 17 Granville Road, South Cliff, Scarborough. According to the Scarborough Evening News, "Philippa Webster, who now lives in Hovingham, is his great niece and was extremely proud of what he had done. She added: “He gave up his life for other people. We are very proud.”
Kath Saville, who is one of the current residents at the address, said it was “fabulous” that he had been honoured and remembered. She has lived there for almost seven years and said: “Just after we moved in we found out that he’d been born here. This makes it a bit special – it’s a lovely house anyway but it’s just a bit better now… The blue plaque was provided by the Friends of HMS Conway... Adrian Perry, of Scarborough Civic Society, said: "If ever there was a time to unveil this plaque, it is now. It is great that we can recognise people from Scarborough who had such amazing lives." He added that the society is very grateful to the Friends group for funding the plaque." (Scarborough Evening News, 16 April 2012),
Death of Niece in 2020
According to the The Scarborough News of January 30th, 2020, the neice of James Moody, Mary Conlon (née Moody) died on the 18th of January 2020. Born on the 19th of January 1926, she was listed as the "Widow of John Adrian. Loving Mother of Caroline, Evelyn and Philippa. Beloved Granny of Matthew, Edward and Mark and Great Granny of four. Died peacefully at Rivermead Care Home, Malton. RIP. Service at 2pm on the 6th February at St Edwards Catholic Church, Avenue Victoria, Scarborough YO11 2QS. Family flowers only. Donations to the RNLI Scarborough c/o B Bernard and Sons Funeral Directors, 58 Ramshill Road, Scarborough YO11 2QG (The Scarborough News on Jan. 30, 2020)
Titanic author and researcher Inger Sheil has completed extensive research into Moody's life and some of her insights on his history and personality are offered here:
James Moody - Jim to his shipmates - was a man who had faced early setbacks in life that had never diminished his natural optimism or resilience. He was remembered long after his death for his mischievous sense of humour, and he exhibited throughout his life a great tenacity and dedication to duty. Although the career he pursued was not of his own choice, he commendably said that he was proud to be doing honest work, and would have rather ‘gone crossing sweeper’ (and some of you know what that job was!) than sponge off his family.
I’ve seen it suggested elsewhere that men did not celebrate their birthdays in the Edwardian age. Not so in the case of James Moody, who wrote cheerfully from one of his ships that, as his birthday was flanked by those of one of the other mates and an engineer, they were expecting a lively few days of celebration.
There are many lively, engaging characters that emerge from the Titanic disaster, but none more so, IMHO, than the youngest of the deck officers. The character he demonstrated throughout his life, and not just during the sinking of the Titanic until he was last seen at A still working at the lifeboats, are inspirational. In spite of the sadness of his early end, and resisting the temptation to maudlin sentimentality, there's something very uplifting amidst all the poignancy of his premature death.
And to think - he should have been in Paris when the Titanic sailed, kicking up his heels with his American friend. 'We can't have big ships and holidays', he wrote with a smile.
"What a lot has happened since then, and what a distance I have covered." - JPM, 1908 (Inger Sheil, Aug 21, 2003, ET message board:)
When it came to pursuing his career and finances Moody was very practical indeed - he kept an eye on money, had his will made out as soon as he turned 21 and took out life insurance. He made sure he had savings, and even when splurging somewhat (at one point he went on holidays, spent virtually all his money and then had to sell his old sextant) he still had money secreted away in a building society. While serving as Chief Officer on a tramp he was able to keep things ticking over even when the Captain disappeared for several days at a time without leaving him any instructions as to how to deal with either the crew, the loading, or the company men coming aboard. Experiences in late childhood and his teens had left him with a decent sense of self-reliance and self-preservation. (ET message board, Oct 16, 2003)
James Moody was very warm, gregarious, bright and humourous. He also had an element of 'toughness' that is often not recognised or acknowledged - possibly because of his youth and pleasant disposition, there seems to be a sense that he was somehow 'soft'. He wasn't. He had a very shrewd, practical side to his nature. A sense of mischief in him was recalled by those who knew him, and it comes through in letters and anecdotes that indicate a rather cheeky, irreverent element to his make up. Moody quite enjoyed gossip (he loved the murder and divorce columns) and had a keenly developed sense of adventure that led him to try everything from going down pitch dark mine shafts in Chile to rollerskating. Once again, he was an animal lover (as was all his family) from the puppy he had as a small child that his mother wrote he loved 'very much' to the ship's cats that he took an interest in. He was a talented writer, and not only wrote very entertaining and keenly observed letters, but also short stories. He cared deeply for his siblings, and maintained a very close relationship with them and other family members in spite of the fact that his career took him so far from home. He was looking forward to that summer on the Atlantic. (ET message board, Oct 16, 2003)
He did have a close knit relationship with his brother Christopher and his sister Margaret - somewhat less so with his oldest brother John, as he was living overseas and the two rarely caught up (in one letter to Christopher, John asked him to nudge their brother and tell him to drop him a line). (ET message board, February 8th, 2009)