Sunday, April 15, 2012

RMS Titanic: The Amazing Story Of Brother Oscar Woody

by Guest Contributor
WB Gregory J. Knott

It was 100 years ago that the fabled ship RMS Titanic sank after hitting an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean near Newfoundland, Canada in 1912.  1,514 person perished aboard the Titanic, many found floating in the ice-cold waters waiting to be rescued.  The Titanic was touted as unsinkable and it failed to have enough life boats for the passengers and crew--and many truly believed the claims that Titanic was unsinkable as many of those lifeboats were far from full when they were launched.

Bro. Oscar Woody
The Grand Lodge of Maryland Museum is featuring a special exhibit this weekend about a Virginia Freemason Oscar Woody, who served as Postal Clerk on the Titanic and died in the disaster and Ada Perrine who was married to a Freemason and lived at the Maryland Masonic Grand Lodge Home.
Brother Woody was a member of Acacia Lodge No. 16 in Clifton, Virginia.  He was one of five postal clerks aboard the Titanic who refused to leave their jobs and kept moving the mail the ship was carrying to the upper decks even as the Titanic slowly sank.  Their dedication has become legendary amongst the postal service.  In 2004 President George W. Bush signed a Bill designating the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 223 South Main Street in Roxboro, NC. as the "Oscar Scott Woody Post Office Building".   Each year in April, Acacia Lodge passes a resolution honoring Brother Woody and they invite a local postal official to have dinner with them to remember his heroism and dedication.  

His body was later found and was buried at sea.  Amongst the items found on Brother Woody, were his Masonic dues card, his watch and a Masonic pocket knife.

Photos from the Smithsonian Institute website
I've reposted this piece from Bro. Greg Knott's blog, Eastern Illinois Freemasonry--I thought it was excellent.  Even in the midst of such a horrific tragedy, many stories of valor were reported--this is but one of many of those amazing stories.  

I read earlier this week, that had Titanic hit the iceberg head on, even at the speed it was traveling, there's every possibility it could have remained afloat because of the water-tight doors--several of those compartments could be flooded and still allowed Titanic to remain buoyant.  But because Titanic tried to steer around the iceberg, the iceberg raked the entire side of the ship, opening the hull across several of those water-tight compartments--the ship had no chance of staying afloat. 

If you enjoyed this piece, I have good news for you.  Bro. Knott, the author, has agreed to be a regular guest contributor to The Midnight Freemason.  He's an excellent photographer, and visits many places I think you'll enjoy seeing through his photographs, and hearing about through his commentary.  You'll get your first chance to see his work on Monday, when Greg tells us about his visit to Naval Lodge No. 4 in Washington, D. C.--with some truly remarkable photos!
~TEC

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