Fourth Officer Joseph Boxhall
- Post-Titanic


Boxhall was reported to be aboard the Irishman in Adelaide, Australia, November 1912. (Click image to enlarge)

Following the Titanic sinking and inquiries, Boxhall briefly served as Fourth Officer on White Star's Adriatic, the ship that had brought him back to England from the United States after the Senate Inquiry. We certainly know he was aboard the Adriatic in July 1912 when he wrote his complaint to the Board of Trade.

Boxhall was commissioned to serve for one
year aboard the battleship HMS Commonwealth
during World War One. (Click image to enlarge)

According to the Sydney Evening News of Thursday 14th November 1912, Boxhall visited Australia in November 1912 aboard the steamer Irishman which travelled from London to Port Adelaide, although his visit has not been independently verified. The article states:

The population of New South Wales was to-day increased by the arrival of the steamer Irishman, from London, via Port Adelaide, with 639 new-chums on board. But they will not be allowed to land until to-morrow, owing to certain quarantine regulations...

There is another member of the Titanic crew on board the Irishman, in the person of Mr. Boxall [sic]. He was fourth officer of the big liner, and burned the blue lights, which the Californian saw, but did not acknowledge. (Evening News (Sydney) Thursday 14th November 1912)

He was promoted to lieutenant in the RNR on 27 May 1915. During the First World War, he was commissioned to serve for one year aboard the battleship HMS Commonwealth before being dispatched to Gibraltar, where he commanded a torpedo boat.

Marriage

St Andrew's Church in Sharrow, Sheffield, where
Joseph Boxhall married Marjory Beddells.
(Click to enlarge)

After his return from the war, Boxhall married Marjory Beddells, daughter of a Yorkshire industrialist, on 25 March 1919 in St Andrew's Church near her home in Sharrow, Sheffield. Majory was born on the 24th June 1882 in Sheffield, Yorkshire. The marriage was apparently a happy one, although the couple were childless (She later died Sep 1972 in Bournemouth, Hampshire, England)

Titanic author and researcher Inger Sheil provided an insight into the marriage and a previous engagement:

I don't know if Marjory and Joseph knew each other at the time of the Titanic disaster, or indeed when they first met, but if they were acquainted in 1912 they were not romantically involved. Joseph, by the beginning of WWI, was engaged to a woman from Australia. Whether he knew her at the time he joined the Titanic is another question - her son believed they met after the Titanic and before the war, but there is a chance that he had known her as early as 1911 when he was on the Australian run. Their engagement terminated during WWI, and it was after this period that he married Marjory.

Boxhall in a photograph dated 1919.
(Click image to enlarge)

Marjory was not - as that very overused phrase goes - 'conventionally beautiful'. One of the family observed to me that she found it quite unusual, given the beautiful socialites who had pursued him as a ship's officer, that Joseph opted to marry someone who, if not unattractive, was quite plain...

She was a very active, energetic woman, with a very strong personality. Towards the end of her life she did pick up a few eccentricities and could sometimes become easily offended, but she was - like her husband - a very generous person. I don't know why they decided not to have children, or even if it was a conscious decision. They seem to have liked children, and to have been very fond of their dogs (child substitutes?). Her correspondence after the death of her husband, describing his last years, is very moving...

Joseph and his ex-fiance did remain in touch for many, many years, and he even visited her at least once. Given the circumstances under which the romantic relationship terminated, it's remarkable that they continued to write in later years, and rather poignant... Suffice it to say, it was terminated abruptly and in such a way that poor Boxhall would be justified in feeling aggrieved (and this is the version from the family of the woman involved). It's a rather tragic little tale...but it does show Boxhall as rather a class act. (Inger Sheil, 2004, Encyclopedia Titanica)

Interior of St Andrews Church where Joseph and Marjory Boxhall were married.

Boxhall returned to the merchant service rejoining the White Star Line in May 1919, two months after his marriage. Throughout the early 1920s he served with White Star and other International Mercantile Marine ships, sailing to the United States, Canada and Australia.

According to Ellis Island immigration records, Boxhall visited New York on three occasions:

Sep 15 1919 SS Cedric - Second officer, 5ft 8 inch, 154 lbs
Oct 27 1919 SS Cedric - Second officer, 5ft 8 inch, 154 lbs
Jan 29 1923 SS Regina - Second officer, age 38, 5ft 7 inch, 143 lbs

Boxhall with 2 stripes indicating he is
second officer.

On 27 May 1923, he was promoted to lieutenant-commander in the RNR. He signed on as second officer on board RMS Olympic on 30 June 1926.

His father, Joseph Boxhall senior, a Captain of the Wilson Line, died on the 29th of May 1928 aged 70.

He is then listed as first officer aboard the Calgaric in January 1931.

After the White Star-Cunard merger in 1933, he served in senior capacity as first and later chief officer of the RMS Aquitania, although he was never made a captain in the merchant marine. (The White Star line never promoted any of the surviving Titanic officers to command rank.)

Boxhall appeared prominently in a large Cunard "On Watch" advertisement in 1937 that appeared in "Life" and "National Geographic" magazines where he is described as the "Senior First officer" although he is wearing three stripes which would make him Chief Officer. He is shown aboard the bridge of the Aquitania, holding a pair of binoculars. Interestingly, this advertisement appeared 25 years after the sinking of the Titanic so it is curious that they chose Boxhall to appear with the phrase "On Watch" considering that he was 'on watch' during Titanic's collision with an iceberg. It is likely coincidental that he was used.

Cunard "On Watch" advertisement that appeared in 1937 - he is now a "senior officer." (Click image to enlarge)

The S.S. Aquitania aboard which Boxhall served as "senior officer."
(Click image to enlarge)

He also served at some time aboard the Berengaria (as first officer), Ausonia, Antonia, Franconia, Baltic and Celtic - although exact dates are presently unknown.

In 1940 Boxhall was listed as the Chief officer aboard the Scythia, one of the last - if not the last -ship he worked aboard. As that same year he retired, after 41 years at sea.

One of Boxhall's last ships before he retired, the Scythia, which he served aboard in the capacity of chief officer. (Click image to enlarge)

A sign on document showing Boxhall listed as chief officer in 1940 after "30" years" of service.