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   Conway & Titanic 


Click here to download a paper on the links between HMS Conway & Titanic

Ernie Lee

There are many stories of nearby vessels that did not come to Titanic's aid. This member of staff was in SS Benin (Elder Dempster) en route form St Johns Newfoundland to Cape Town. They were very close to Titanic’s position but having no radio could not receive her SOS messages. They only learned of the tragedy on arriving at Cape Town. When they checked their charts they found they had been “not very far away from Titanic”.


Captain Herbert J Haddock, CB, RD, RNR (1875-77)

Captain Herbert James Haddock was, in fact, the first Captain of the Titanic. He commanded her build in Belfast before her delivery to the White Star Line and for some time after delivery but prior to sailing. He was one of White Star Lines most senior and experienced captains - he had for some years benne master of "Cedric" then the world's largest vessel. At the very last minute, on April 1 1912, he was replaced by Captain Edward John Smith and took command of the Olympic from Smith . He was at sea in that vessel when the Titanic went down. Captain Haddock testified to the American inquiry and later also attended the British Board of Trade inquiry. The White Star Line nearly suffered another disaster seven weeks after the Titanic went down when Haddock, though faulty navigation, narrowly avoided running the Olympic onto rocks near Lands End. For the next few voyages he was closely monitored by a White Star Line official. Haddock was in command of the Olympic during her failed effort to rescue HMS Audacious in October 1912. Olympic was then laid up prior to conversion to a troopship, and the Admiralty placed Haddock in charge of a dummy fleet of merchant ships, stationed at Belfast. According to Mills' HMHS Britannic: The Last Titan, Harold Sanderson tried to have Haddock re-assigned in 1915, to command the Britannic when she entered service as a hospital ship, but could not succeed in convincing the Admiralty to release Haddock from his Belfast duties. Haddock is thought not to have rejoined White Star after the war. He was awarded the CB in 1902, and made ADC to HM The King in 1915. He died in 1946.



J. Bruce Ismay

Chairman and Managing Director of the White Star Line. He sailed on Titanic’s maiden voyage and, controversially, survived the disaster. He was a long standing member of Conway's Management Committee as White Star Line had been one of Conways original sponsors.


C W Lightoller

Just for the record, Titanic's 2nd Officer was not the Cadet W Lightoller who attended Conway 1883 to 1884.



H G Lowe

Just for the record, Titanic's 5th Officer was not the H G Lowe who attended Conway in 1910. The Titanic's was Harold Godfrey, ours was Horace Grenville W. Nor was he Cadet A Lowe (1884 to 1886), Cadet W F D Lowe (1890 to 1892), or Cadet A D W Lowe (1910) .



James Moody (1902-03)

14th April 1912 was The Night To Remember. The unsinkable Titanic struck an iceberg and sank with huge loss of life. The 6th Officer of the Titanic was James Moody six years out of Conway. Doubtless he would have been amazed at his good fortune to gain a berth in this, the most prestigious liner in a most prestigious shipping company. He was on watch on the bridge at the time of the sinking. He received the fateful message from the lookouts that there was an iceberg ahead - he had earlier told them to be on special lookout for them; and initiated the first avoiding action. When it became clear that Titanic would founder he was dispatched with the other officers to organise the lifeboats. 5th officer Harold Godfrey Lowe had an encounter with Moody while they filled boats 14 and 16. Lowe remarked that he had seen five boats lowered, and one of the next two ought to have an officer. He suggested Moody as the junior officer should go but Moody answered, “You go. I will get in another boat” Lowe survived, Moody did not. Moody’s final actions were recalled by Geoffrey Marcus in The Maiden Voyage. “Chief Officer Wilde’s efforts to avert panic, maintain order and discipline, and get the last of the boats loaded and lowered to the water were valiantly supported by the youngest of the officers, James Moody. Long before this, the latter should by rights have gone away in one of the boats along with the other junior officers. But the seamen left on board were all too few as it was for the work that had to be done. Moody therefore stayed with the ship to the end and was the means of saving many a life that would otherwise have been lost.” After overseeing the safe loading of a number of lifeboats, he was last seen alone on deck.

There is a rose marble memorial plaque bearing James's name in the Church of St. Martin on the Hill, Scarborough. It bears the verse:

'Be Thou Faithful Unto Death and I Will Give to Thee a Crown of Life." There is also an altar set at St. Augustine's Church in Grimsby that is memory of James.

There is an additional monument to James Moody in Woodland cemetery, Scarborough, the existence of which was known only to a few members of the Moody family. The headstone refers to his role in the Titanic disaster, and commemorates Moody's sacrifice with the words 'Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.' It was long forgotten but a recent article in the Yorkshire Post (see Bibliography) highlighted the poor condition of the memorial. It was badly overgrown and the commemorative cross had been broken off.

Also see the Friends of HMS Conway section for more information.

His 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.


Sir Arthur Henry Rostron CBE KBE RD RNR (1885-6)

Arthur Rostron was born in Astley Bridge, Bolton, England to James and Nancy Rostron. Educated at the Bolton School from 1882 to 1883 and the Astley Bridge High School, Rostron joined Conway at the age of thirteen. After two years of training, he was apprenticed to the Waverley Line of Messrs, Williamson, Milligan. He joined Cunard in 1895.

He is best known as the Master of Carpathia and rescuer of nearly 700 Titanic survivors on the morning of April

15th 1912. As the result of his efforts to reach the Titanic before it sank, and his preparations for and conduct of the rescue of the survivors, Captain Rostron was lionized as a hero. Rostron testified about the events the night Titanic sank at both the U.S. Senate inquiry and the British Board of Trade's inquiry into the disaster. Titanic survivors, including Margaret Brown, presented Rostron with a silver cup and gold medal for his efforts the night Titanic sank. He went on to become Master of Mauretania and holder of the Blue Ribband for the west-east Atlantic crossing. After World War I was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire. He was made the commodore of the Cunard fleet before retiring in 1931. There is a very complete life on (type Rostron in search box).

Captain Rostron is incorrectly stated in many books to have been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. The error is found even in works by American authors, whom one hopes would be more familiar with their nation's highest military award. In fact, Rostron was not eligible for the award, nor had he done anything worthy of it. The Congressional Medal of Honor is reserved for persons of any nationality serving in the armed forces of the United States. What Captain Rostron received was a Congressional Gold Medal. This award dates from 1776 and the first recipient was George Washington. Each medal is awarded by its own individual Act of Congress and must be ratified by the President. Early medals were generally awarded for military valour, but after the establishment of the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1865, the award was extended to all manner of persons recognised as worthy. Recipients are as varied as Thomas Edison, Walt Disney, Aaron Copland, Nelson Mandela and Frank Sinatra. The medals are of solid gold and bear on the obverse an image of the recipient. The reverse contains an image related to the action that merited the award. Rostron's medal was designed by John Flanagan, an American sculptor. Captain Rostron's award was proposed in the Senate on 28 May 1912 and was approved by a Joint Resolution of both Houses of Congress on 6 July. He was not the first British captain to be so honoured. That distinction belongs to Captain Creighton, who in 1866 was recognised for his role in the rescue of some 500 people from the wreck of the American steamer San Francisco. By the time he published his memoirs in 1931, Rostron was referring to his award as the Congressional Medal of Honour (sic) and this is probably the origin of the confusion. President William Taft presented Sir Arthur's Gold medal on March 1st 1913 at the White House. (Taft had lost the 1912 election but in those days the outgoing President did not retire until March 4th).

Captain Rostron was also awarded the American Cross of Honor. This decoration was given by the Society of the American Cross of Honor, an organisation devoted to recognising bravery in the saving of life in non-military situations. The medal was frequently awarded for rescues at sea. There was also British involvement and the gold version of the decoration was sometimes awarded on the recommendation of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. This is probably the reason for the medal being presented to Captain Rostron at the British Embassy, also on March 1st 1913. He was also awarded a medal from the Liverpool Shipwreck and Humane Society and a gold medal from the Shipwreck Society of New York.


William Russell-Smith (51-53)

William was the grandson of Titanic's Captain E J Smith whose statue was commissioned by his home town before Titanic sailed. After the loss they refused to take it but the people of Lichfield ,Staffordshire wanted a statue for their new park so they took it instead. It stands there still.

William was lost overboard from RFA Wave Commander in the English Channel on 10th April 1956. The accompanying vessels mounted a comprehensive search for his body but it was never found. He was that verssel's Third Officer.


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