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white star RMS Titanic - Officer Boxhall


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Joseph Groves Boxhall was born in Hull in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England, the second child of Captain Joseph and Miriam Boxhall. He was born into an established seafaring tradition, Boxhall followed in the footsteps of his ancestors on 2 June 1899, when he joined his first ship, a barque of the William Thomas Line of Liverpool where he served his apprenticeship which lasted four years, He then went to work with his father at Wilson Line and, after obtaining his Master's and Extra-Master's certifications in September 1907, joined the White Star Line, where He served on White Star's liners Oceanic and Arabic before moving to the Titanic as Fourth Officer in 1912.

Boxhall reported to White Star's Liverpool offices at nine o'clock in the morning on 26 March 1912, and travelled to board the titanic at Belfast the following day. boxhall's duties on the titanic included scheduled watches, aiding in navigation, and assisting passengers and crew when necessary.

When Titanic collided with an iceberg at 11.40 PM on 14 April, Officer Boxhall was off duty near the Officers' Quarters. Hearing the lookout bell, he headed immediately to the bridge, arriving just after the impact. Captain Smith ordered Boxhall to perform an inspection of the forward part of the ship. He found no damage, but was later intercepted by the ship's carpenter, who informed him that the ship was taking water.

it was Boxhall who calculated the Titanic's position so that a distress signal could be sent out. It was also Boxhall who sighted the masthead lights of a nearby vessel (possibly the SS Californian) and attempted in vain to signal by Morse lamp and distress flares.

Later Officer Boxhall was put in charge of lifeboat No. 2, which was lowered from the port side at 1.45 AM with 18 persons aboard out of a possible 40. He rowed away from the ship for fear of being pulled down by suction. Boxhall did not actually see the Titanic sink, as her lights had gone off and his lifeboat was about three-quarters of a mile away.

Boxhall spotted the Carpathia on the horizon at 4.00 AM and guided her to the lifeboats with a green flare. After being collected by the Carpathia, Boxhall and the other survivors arrived at Pier 54 in New York on 18 April.

Following the Titanic sinking, Boxhall briefly served as Fourth Officer on White Star's Adriatic before joining the Royal Naval Reserve as a sub-lieutenant. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1915, Boxhall returned to White Star in May 1919, having married Marjory Beddells two months prior. After the White Star-Cunard merger in 1933, he served in senior capacity as first and later chief officer of the RMS Aquitania. His health deteriorated sharply in the 1960's, and he was eventually hospitalised; Joseph Boxhall, the last surviving deck officer of Titanic died on 25 April 1967, He was 83. According to his last wishes, his ashes were scattered to sea at 41°46N 50°14W – the position he had calculated as Titanic's final resting place over half a century earlier. 

A Memorial Plaque for Joseph Boxhall can be found at his former home at 27, Westbourne Avenue, Hull, England.



  places to explore on this Deck



The Gymnasium         The Bridge/Wheelhouse           The Marconi Room


  The Boat Deck         Deck Plan of the boat deck


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Titanic Trivia

Crows Nest Warning: After lookouts Frederick Fleet and Reginald lee Sounded the alarm, officers on the bridge had only 37 seconds to respond before titanic struck the iceberg.

Lifeboat Drill: For reasons Unknown captain Smith cancelled the scheduled lifeboat drill due to take place on April 14, 1912

Titanic Dogs: From the nine on board Two dogs a Pekinese and a Pomeranian managed to make it into lifeboats and survived the disaster.

Smokestacks: One of titanics smokestacks was cosmetic as designers thought the ship would look more impressive with four funnels, however it did have a purpose as it provided ventilation to the turbine engine room and the reciprocating engine room.

Ripples in time: The sinking of the titanic probably changed the course of history, the loss of the world’s largest, most advanced ship deemed unsinkable not only brought about recommendations to the ship building codes, but unlike today communication in 1912 was difficult, there was no internet or mobile phones, for most of the population mail was the most common form of long distant communication, Titanic was effectively a floating post office when she sank seven million individual items of mail were lost and did not make it to their destination, this gives us food for thought as we will never know what was in all those letters.