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Saturday 30 September 2023 Dublin: 10°C
# Letter
Titanic owners asked for money to return officer's body to England - but the body wasn't found
The letter is up for auction today.

THE OWNERS OF the Titanic sent a letter to the family of a dead officer asking for a large sum of money to return his body to North Yorkshire.

However, the body of 24-year-old James Moody had not been recovered when the letter, which is up for auction today, was sent.

This would have been known to White Star Lines as “all remains were catalogued”. The remains of Moody have never been found.

The White Star Line asked a £20 deposit for the return of his body- that’s approximately £2,100 (€2,900) in today’s money. It adds that the family will have to meet the remaining costs from there.

The letter, which was sent to Moody’s brother Christopher Moody on May 7 1912, is going up for auction today. It has been described by the auctioneer as “callous”.

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The letter, from parent company Ismay Imrie & Co, read:

Dear Sir,We have your further letter of the 6th instant, and while we will be prepared to transport the remains of your brother across the Atlantic to either Liverpool or Southampton we regret that it is not possible for us to do any more.Should you after further consideration desire the remains of your Brother to be returned will you kindly telegraph us in the morning at the same time sending us a deposit of £20 for any expenses and land charges on the other Side and we will at once cable New York asking then to arrange this if practicable.
We also think it right to point out that the arrangements and expenses for taking charge of the remains after arrival of the steamer at Liverpool or Southampton would be on your account.
While sympathising with your inclination we trust, however, that you will eventually decide to allow the remains to be interred with the others which we can assure you will be carried out on your behalf by our people with all due reverence, and if you would care for a photograph of the grave or if there are some words you would like included on the tombstone we shall be happy to have your wish complied with on hearing from you.

Yours faithfully,

This photo of Titanic’s officers shows Officer Moody on the front left:

274 Henry Aldridge and Son Henry Aldridge and Son

Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge from Henry Aldridge & Son told, “The importance of this letter cannot be overstated as it was unknown to this point that the White Star Line would charge the family of one of the officers onboard the ill-fated liner for the return of their loved one.

The irony of this letter is Officer Moody’s body was never recovered, which further illustrates the callous nature of the letter.

The letter is expected to fetch between £20,000 and £25,000. (€27,710 – €34,638)

It is being sold by a private collector, who acquired it directly from the Moody family.

Read: This woman was accused of bribing Titanic crew not to go back for survivors>

Read: Letter written on the day the Titanic sank sells for €145,000>

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