Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Capt. John E. Smith

Captain: John Edward Smith

{“I cannot imagine any condition which would cause this ship to founder. I cannot conceive of any vital disaster happening to this vessel. Modern shipbuilding has gone beyond that”!!!}

Solidly built, slightly above medium height, he was handsome in a patriarchal sort of way. His neatly trimmed white beard and barrel like chest, coupled with his clear eyes, gave him somewhat of a stern countenance, an impression immediately dispelled by his gentle speaking voice, and urban manners. Passengers and crew alike respectfully and affectionately knew him as E.J. He was a natural leader, radiating a reassuring combination of authority, confidence, and good humor.

He earned about $100,000 a year!

His residence in 1912 was Southampton, England!

He was born in Hanley, Stoke, England!

Age at the time of the disaster, 62!

As he spoke to the press, "When anyone asks me how I can best describe my experiences in nearly 40 years at sea, I merely say, uneventful. Of course, there have been winter gales, and storms and fog and the like, but in all my experience I have never been in any accident of any sort worth speaking about. I have seen but one vessel in distress in all my years at sea - a brig, the crew of which were taken off in a small boat in charge of my third officer. I never saw a wreck and have never been wrecked, nor was I ever in any predicament that threatened to end in disaster of any sort. You see, I am not very good material for a story."

There was one mishap when he was the captain of the Olympic on her fifth voyage, sailing down the Solent River at the normal speed of 18 knots. She turned to round Bramble Bank and slowed to 11 knots and took the commander of the 7000-ton cruiser HMS Hawke by surprise, who was unable to avoid collision. The Hawke got too close to the Olympics stern area, and the suction from the Olympic pulled the lighter ship towards her, which ended up in a collision. After the two ships collided, the bow of the Hawke was buried deep in the Olympic stern area.

"The Olympic is unsinkable, and Titanic will be the same when she is put in commission." He continued, "either of these two vessels could be cut in halves and each half would remain afloat almost indefinitely. The non-sinkable vessel has been reached in these two wonderful craft." "I venture to add," concluded the Captain, "that even the engines and boilers of these vessels were to fall through their bottoms, the vessels would remain afloat."

White Star Line had over the years built up a clientele of passengers that would not dream of crossing the Atlantic with out E.J. Smith as their captain. He was the epitome of an old seadog, he may have had the look of a fearsome man, but to the contrary he was very soft spoken. He was gentle and a natural leader, which passengers and crew put their trust and confidence in. He had a quite voice and a ready smile. He was very popular with officers and men alike, the crew knew him to be a good kind-hearted man. They looked upon him as a sort of father.

On Wednesday, April 10th, Sailing Day, shortly before 7:00.am, Captain Smith, left his home at Woodhead, a red-bricked, twin-gabled home on Winn Road in Southampton. Smith was wearing a bowler hat and a long overcoat. The local newspaper boy Albert "Ben" remembers him coming out and saying to him, "'Alright son, I'll take my paper.'" The boy gave the departing captain his paper. Smith turned around to wave good-bye to his wife Eleanor and twelve-year old daughter, Helen, who stood in the doorway, not knowing that they would never see him again. He then entered his waiting taxi. His ride from Westwood Park took him through the center of Southampton and down the hill to the docks. Little did he know he was going to be the captain of what has become the most famous shipwreck of all time!

Captain John Edward Smith did not survive the Titanic’s sinking.



I'd say the moral to this story is none of us know what the next second holds so we should keep our lives in order. It happens to the "good" as well as to the "bad". Grandma

Just Theresa said...

Mom finally let me read your blog. Its pretty cool to have a cousin who knows so much about the Titanic. I know you like to make models of the Titanic, one time I seen a model at Hobby Lobby, you were the first person I thought of when I seen it.

See you later:), Jonathan

Daniel said...


Yes none of know what the next second holds, and this story just magnifies that idea.


Glad your able to read my blog. Hope your able to learn something, and find it interesting.

Southern Belle said...

Hey, I was wondering where you get all this information.

creator of the TITANIC GAZETTE blog.

Brittnee said...

Great work.