Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Joseph Groves Boxhall was born on March 23, 1884 in Hull, Yorkshire. He was the second child of Captain Joseph and Mariam Boxhall. He had three sisters (one of whom died in infancy. His father was a respectable man of the Wilson Line. Boxhall only had only 4 years as apprentice before he was a full fledged sea-man. On June 2, 1899, he was on his first ship for the William Thomas Line. He did quite well and in 1907, he joined the White Star Line. He served on the Oceanic and the Arabic before being transferred to the TITANIC as the fourth officer at the age of 28.
Boxhall assisted in the TITANIC's sea trials of which took place on April 4, 1912. He was considered a junior officer so he assisted passengers and crew when he could and was sometimes even at the wheel. The only officer known to him prior to thw TITANIC was 2nd officer Lightoller from the Oceanic. Boxhall was off-duty when the iceberg struck. He heard the bell from the crow's nest struck three times which means that something is in the way of our course. He got to the Wheelhouse just after the collision and Captain Smith was already there. He ordered Boxhall to take a look at the damage. He found none but while in the Mail-room, he said that he could hear water flooding but couldn't see it so he reported to the Bridge. After that, he went and told Lightoller and 3rd officer Pitman to report to the bridge. Soon, the carpenter and mail-clerk reported flooding. They all now realized that the ship was doomed. Boxhall took charge of the distress rockets and morse lamp signals. He also calculated the ship's position for the wireless telegraph. He was in the chart room when he saw J. Bruce Ismay standing in the door way. Boxhall walked up to him and Ismay asked him why he hadn't gotten into a lifeboat. Boxhall replied by saying that he had not been ordered to enter a lifeboat. Boxhall went to the port side and watched Chief Officer Wilde lowering a boat. Captain Smith came up to him and ordered him to get into the boat. Boxhall stepped in and was put in charge of Boat No. 2 which was only about 2/3 full. He is depicted in the movie as saying "Bloody pull faster and pull!" as the stern rises. Boxhall never saw the TITANIC sink. He wanted to go back and rescue those in the water but he was immediately over-ruled by the 20 passengers in his boat. He later came aboard the rescue ship Carpathia and after being set ashore, was very informational in the U.S. Senate Inquiries and the British Inquiries.
After getting back to England, he was fourth officer on the Adriatic but that was short lived because he joined the Royal Navy Reserves. He was later a sub-lieutenant and was then promoted to Lieutenant after WWI. He married Marjory Beddells in 1919 and unfortunately never had a child. He was later a merchant and then joined the Cunard Line and he rose in rank to Chief Officer but was never captain. He served as Chief Officer on the Berengaria, Auquitania, Ausonia, Scythia, Antonia, and Franconia.
After retiring 1940 after 41 years at sea, he served as technical advisor for the movie A Night to Remember. He also had close friends that were officers aboard the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth. Joseph Boxhall died on April 25, 1967 at the age of 84 on Cebral Thombrosis. Upon his last request, his ashes were scattered over where he calculated the TITANIC was on that fateful night.