John Wesley Woodward

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John Wesley Woodward

Birthdate:
Birthplace: England
Death: Died in At Sea - Titanic Casualty
Immediate Family:

Son of Joseph Woodward and Martha Woodward
Brother of Mary B Woodward; Martha E Woodward; Joseph Woodward; Thomas W Woodward; Frederick E Woodward and 3 others

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About John Wesley Woodward

Titanica

  • Name: Mr John Wesley Woodward
  • Born: Thursday 11th September 1879
  • Age: 32 years
  • Last Residence: in Oxford Oxfordshire England
  • Occupation: Musician
  • 2nd Class passenger
  • First Embarked: Southampton on Wednesday 10th April 1912
  • Ticket No. 250654
  • Cabin No.: E
  • Died in the sinking.
  • Body Not Recovered

Mr John Wesley Woodward, 32, was born in West Bromwich, Staffordshire on 11 September 1879. He was the youngest son of Joseph and Martha E. Woodward.

At the time of the 1881 census, the family were living at 24 Hawkes Lane, Hill Top, West Bromwich. As well as John there were six other boys: Joseph (1), Thomas (2), Frederick, Herbert, Samuel, and Roland, and two sisters: Mary B. and Martha E. Woodward. John's father was manager of the Holloware Iron Foundry, Hill Top, West Bromwich. As a boy, John attended Wesley Sunday School. The family later moved to Oxford where their address, in 1912, was No. 2, The Firs, Windmill Road, Headington.

John Wesley Woodward became well known as a 'cello player appearing in solo and a member of several string quartetes. He left Oxford to join the Duke of Devonshire's band at Eastbourne but that enterprise fell through around 1909 so he joined the White Star Line, his first voyage being to Jamaica. He made a number of journeys across the Atlantic, and three across the Mediterranean. He was on board the Olympic when she collided with H.M.S. Hawke, and narrowly escaped injury as he was in the cabin with three colleagues just where the Hawke struck.Woodward had taken his best 'cello with him for the first time for the Titanic 's maiden voyage and on his return was due to perform atthe May dinner of Magdalen College, Oxford.

Woodward and all the other musicians died in the sinking. The 'cellist is remembered on a small unadorned brass plaque in All Saints Church, Lime Walk, Headington which bears the inscription:

TO THE GLORY OF GOD AND IN MEMORY OF JOHN WESLEY WOODWARD BANDSMAN ON THE S.S. TITANIC WHO WITH HIS COMRADES NOBLY PERFORMED HIS DUTY TO THE LAST WHEN THE SHIP SANK AFTER COLLISION WITH AN ICEBERG ON APRIL 15 1912. BORN SEPT: 11, 1879. "NEARER MY GOD TO THEE."

Notes

1. In the 1881 census Joseph was aged 15 and working as a Clerk at the local gas works. 2. John's brother, Thomas W. Woodward, became a well-known tenor singer with Magdalen College choir and lived, in 1912, in Oakthorpe Road, Oxford.

Sources

  • British Census 1881
  • Oxford Times, April 1912
  • Jacksons Oxford Illustrated Journal, April 1912

Contributors

  • Stephanie Jenkins, UK

Travelling Companions (on same ticket)

  • Mr W. Theodore Ronald Brailey
  • Mr Roger Marie Bricoux
  • Mr John Frederick Preston Clarke
  • Mr Wallace Henry Hartley
  • Mr John Law Hume
  • Mr Georges Alexandre Krins
  • Mr Percy Cornelius Taylor

John Woodward was born on September 11, 1879 in West Bromwich, Staffordshire, UK. He was the youngest boy of nine children and attended Wesley Sunday School until they moved to Oxford. He became well known as a cello player – playing in several string quartets. He left Oxford to play with the Duke of Devonshire’s band in Eastbourne until 1909 when he joined the White Star Line. He traveled across the Atlantic and Mediterranean several times. He was on board the Olympic when she collided with the HMS Hawke, barely escaping injury. For the first time, John decided to take his best cello with him on the Titanic. His body was never recovered.

In May, 1912, 500 musicians (several orchestras and conductors) appeared on stage for a capacity audience at the Royal Albert Hall to raise money for families of these musicians that perished on the Titanic. In early 1912, the talent agency C.W & F.M. Black decided to offer its musicians at a lower rate than union scale to its customers. They quickly monopolized the market and musicians had to take a 33% pay cut and no benefits or not work at all.

So, the musicians on the Titanic were not only working for less pay and no benefits but were listed as Second Class Passengers with Third Class accommodations. Life on the ship was hard work. They worked from 8 in the morning to well past 9 at night.

After the sinking, the families had a difficult time collecting death benefits. The White Star Line wouldn’t pay because they were contracted employees. The talent agency wouldn’t pay because the musicians were listed as Second Class Passengers and they felt the Cruise Line should pay. In fact, some of the family members received a bill for the uniform the musicians were forced to buy as a member of the Titanic band!

A few anecdotes in this article were taken from a piece in USA Today that reviewed a book on April 10, 2011. It’s called The Band That Played On: The Extraordinary Story of the 8 Musician Who Went Down With the Titanic by Steve Turner. As you can see from the information above, the musicians’ stories were very interesting . They were described in the article as “young, struggling musicians in the early part of 20th century.” - See more at: http://www.titanicuniverse.com/titanic-band-members/2927#sthash.Gu8s2JHI.dpuf

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John Wesley Woodward's Timeline

1879
September 11, 1879
England
1912
April 15, 1912
Age 32
At Sea - Titanic Casualty