Sixth Officer James Moody
- Collision


Moody was stationed within the wheelhouse, which was completely obscured by shutters to ensure no light entered, where he was overseeing Quartmermaster Hichens at the ships wheel. The other Quartermaster, Olliver confirmed this when he said that at the time of the collision "there was the man at the wheel and the officer. The officer was seeing it was carried out right...Mr. Moody, the sixth officer, was stationed in the wheelhouse." (US Inquiry)

Lookout Frederick Fleet. Moody
picked up his call immediately:
"I got an answer straight away."

Some have speculated as to what was going through Moody's mind with only 20 minutes of his watch left: "Moody was probably looking forward to returning to his small cabin and escaping the bitter cold. Lightoller had ordered the heat turned on in the officers' quarters, so at the very least Moody had a warm berth to look forward to before his next watch began at 4.00 am. In the meantime, he was stationed in the wheelhouse, standing just behind and to the left of Hichens at the wheel." (Bridge Duty, Officers of the RMS Titanic, Inger Sheil & Kerri Sundberg 1999)

At 11.40pm three bells rang out from the crows nest, indicating an object directly ahead. Moody turned around to the telephones mounted on the wall behind him as the one connecting the bridge to the crows nest rang.

Lookout Frederick Fleet would recall that he received an immediate answer from Moody: "I got an answer straight away - what did I see, or "What did you see?... He just asked me what did I see. I told him an iceberg right ahead...He said: "Thank you." (US Inquiry)

Quartermaster Hichens also remembers Moody's polite reply:

978. Then there is the telephone. What was the telephone message? Did you hear any? - I did not hear the message, but I heard the reply.
979. What was the reply? - “Thank you.”
980. Who gave it? - Mr. Moody.
981. Then it means this, that Mr. Moody, the Sixth Officer, got a telephone message after the three bells had been struck? - Immediately after.
982. You did not hear what was said to Mr. Moody, but you heard him acknowledge the message, and say “Thank you”? - Yes. I heard Mr. Moody repeat, “Iceberg right ahead.”
983. To whom did he repeat that? - To Mr. Murdoch, the First Officer.
984. “Iceberg right ahead”; is that what he said? - Yes.
985. Repeating what he had heard from the telephone message? - Yes.
986. And then what happened? - I heard Mr. Murdoch rush to the telegraph and give the order, “Hard-a-starboard. (British Inquiry)

James Moody in uniform as a junior
White Star Line officer
(Inger Sheil/Titanic Valour)
(Click image to enlarge)

What happened next could not be seen by either Hichens or Moody from within the wheelhouse, but could be understood by the noise they heard. Hichens said the "officer rushed from the wing to the bridge, or I imagine so, sir. Certainly I am enclosed in the wheelhouse, and I can not see, only my compass. He rushed to the engines. I heard the telegraph bell ring; also give the order 'Hard astarboard,' with the sixth officer standing by me to see the duty carried out and the quartermaster standing by my left side. Repeated the order , 'Hard astarboard. The helm is hard over, sir…. Mr. Murdoch, the first officer, sir; the officer in charge. The sixth officer repeated the order, "The helm is hard astarboard, sir." But, during the time, she was crushing the ice, or we could hear the grinding noise along the ship's bottom." (US Inquiry)

It was Moody's duty to see that the order was carried out correctly, and also to log the incident as Hichens confirmed: "With the sixth officer behind my back, with the junior officer behind my back, to see whether I carried it out - one of the junior officers... Then the first officer told the other quartermaster standing by to take the time, and told one of the junior officers to make a note of that in the logbook. That was at 20 minutes of 12; sir." (US Inquiry)

At the British Inquiry Hichens confirmed that Moody was standing behind him:

"Mr. Moody was standing behind me when the order was given...
(To the Witness.) Did any one of the officers see you carry out the order? - Yes.
1010. Who? - Mr. Moody, and also the Quartermaster on my left. He was told to take the time of the collision.
1011. Let us get the fact of what happened. Was Mr. Moody there when you put the helm hard-a-starboard? - That was his place, to see the duty carried out.
1012. Was it his duty to report it? - Yes; he reported the helm hard-a-starboard.
1013. To whom? - To Mr. Murdoch, the First Officer.
1014. Then you had put the helm hard-a-starboard and Mr. Moody had reported it hard-a-starboard to Mr. Murdoch? - Yes. (British Inquiry)

Fourth Officer Wilkinson stands behind the helmsman on the bridge of the Medic, 30 July 1911 - just as Moody would have done aboard Titanic. (Bell/Kempster collection)

Quartermaster Olliver, who had arrived on the bridge during the collision, was ordered to note the time of collision. Moody was instructed to enter it into the log.

Fourth officer Boxhall then arrived on the bridge and it was Moody who explained to him what happened.

Senator SMITH. Did you know what had occurred?
Mr. BOXHALL. No, not at all. I heard the sixth officer say what it was.
Senator SMITH. What did he say that it was?
Mr. BOXHALL. He said we had struck an iceberg. (US Inquiry)