Introduction1. Beforehand Life2. Cruising Ships3. White Star Line4. White Star Command5. Majestic and Daughter6. Big Ships & Woodhead7. Adriatic & Mishaps8. Olympic9. Board Titanic10. Ice and also Dinner11. An answer to Disaster12. Demeanor & Death13. Memorials and Curse14. Reprimand & Retirement15. Life in Pictures16. Movie Portrayals17. Timeline

Captain E.J. Blacksmith - Demeanor and Death


Major Peuchen: "The captain wasnot fairly himself"

There to be some negative comments around Smith during the evacuation. Because that example significant Peuchen, that volunteered to aid with lifeboat no.8 that had nearly reached the water without sufficient sailors, was advised by Captain blacksmith to "go under below and also break a home window and get in v the window into the boat... The captain was not rather himself; his idea was impractical if not downright dangerous"

Women who lost their husbands frequently blamed Captain blacksmith for their loss by not enabling their husbands right into lifeboats. Second class passenger granny Amin Jerwan, together reported in The new York Times, 19 April 1912, said: "Everybody top top the ship blamed the Captain. The sailor who rowed our boat told me that he had complied with the sea for 45 years and also had never been I any kind of kind the accident before, except on the Olympic once she rammed into the Hawke. "That was under the very same Captain," he said "and currently I am having actually my second experience under him."


Panel portrait the Captain Edward john Smith from a 1912 post-sinking memorial card, mental by the catch-phrase "Be British," accused his last words, although over there is small evidence the actually claimed this. (Click image to enlarge)

Second officer Lightoller report Captain Smith making use of a megaphone throughout the evacuation, although cannot pinpoint a time: "I heard the Commander two or three times hail with the megaphone to lug the boats alongside, and also I presumed he to be alluding come the gangway doors, offering orders come the boats to go to the gangway doors... During the time ns was launching the watercrafts on the port side, I might not offer you any kind of definite time."(24.)"

There is one report of smith drinking. According to millionaire Frederick M Hoyt, in the Peterson Morning Call, 23 April 1912, who had known Smith because that 15 years, as soon as he found Smith on the bridge in the direction of the finish he told him "I feel choose taking a drink prior to I take it the plunge, don"t friend captain?" follow to Hoyt castle then checked out Smith"s cabin and both take it a big drink come fortify them against the cold, after ~ which blacksmith told the "You will need to jump and also you had better do it soon." Hoyt suggested doing therefore from a reduced deck and Smith apparently agreed that was a much better option.

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19 year old third class passenger Edward Dorking allegedly witnessed Smith towards the finish down listed below in the engine room giving orders "The perspiration was pouring down his challenge in streams but he was calm and also collected, and as i recollect that now, he showed up like a marble statue after rain." - (Bureau ar Republican 2 might 1912)

Reports of his Death

There are numerous reports that Captain Smith"s last moments. Right here are some of the most notable:

First course saloon steward Frederick Ray testified in ~ the united state Inquiry that Captain Smith"s an individual steward Arthur Paintin to be "last checked out on the bridge, was standing by the captain." (25.)


Captain blacksmith is illustrated as committing suicide in the French file L"Excelsior, 20 April 1912, in a illustration by Paul Thiriat (courtesy Olivier Mendez/ET)

Second class passenger wilhelm Mellors saw Smith come the end on the deck "The brave old seaman was crying" and he then observed Smith jump from the bridge as the waters rose.

Wireless operator Harold Bride that was struggling to assist launch collapsible B, experienced Captain blacksmith dive indigenous the bridge right into the sea, including that this arisen at the same moment that the collapsible was washed overboard.

Eleanor Widener, who assisted host the dinner honoring Captain smith just hrs before, corroborated the story of the diving off the bridge, and because her lifeboat was one of the last to leave the Titanic, she might have been close enough.

Mr Isaac Hiram Maynard , a cook on the Titanic said:-"I observed the captain stand on the bridge. He was totally dressed and had his cap on. When the water rushed end the height deck, the remaining boats were carried away. An additional rush that water washed me overboard, and also as ns went i clung on to among the upturned boats. There to be some six other guys clinging come the woodwork once we were in the water. I observed Captain blacksmith washed from the bridge, and afterwards saw him swim in the water. He was still totally dressed, with his height cap on his head. One of the guys clinging come the raft do the efforts to conserve him by reaching out a hand, however he would certainly not allow him, and called the end "Look after yourselves, boys." I do not understand what ended up being of the captain, for I can not check out him at the time, yet I intend he sank. - The Globe, 29 April 1912


Colonel Archibald Gracie, among the passenger fortunate sufficient to have actually made his way to collapsible B, reported the he experienced a man swimming up to the capsized boat which Gracie to be clinging to. Those balanced on the collapsible shouted out their issue that taking any more aboard would jeopardize your stability. The swimmer shouted ago in a strong voice, “All ideal boys. An excellent luck and God bless you.” Gracie, a reliable witness who later on chronicled the occasions of the night, walk not acknowledge the man with any kind of degree that certainty, but others insisted that it was Captain blacksmith himself.

Stoker harry Senior, likewise a collapsible B survivor, described the step this way: “As i was swimming to the boat, I witnessed the Captain in the water. He was swimming through a infant in his arms, raising it the end of the water together he swam on his back. He swam to the boat, placed the baby in, and then swam ago to the ship.” second Officer Lightoller was existing on collapsible B, however never gave any kind of indication that such an occasion took place.

Trimmer James McGann reaffirmed Senior’s story, including that he was through the Captain moments prior to the delivery went down. Each of the men took organize of a child and leaped into the water in an attempt to conserve the young ones. McGann claimed that the boy he was attempting to save was ripped native his arms as the rough water threw lock about. However, the Captain managed to organize on come the girl he to be carrying. Unfortunately, the son died prior to Smith got to collapsible B.

Fireman Walter Hurst, among the Collapsible B survivors, in a letter he composed to writer Walter Lord, that apparantly do the efforts to reach Smith v an oar, yet the swiftly rising swell carried the guy away before he might reach him. Hurst wrote: " I can state certainly Captain smith did no reach the raft yet I constantly had the idea he was the man that spoke to united state in the water yet I might not it is in sure." (undated letter, courtesy of Paul Lee,


The Graphic newspaper portrays Captain smith in the water and also reaching upturned collapsible B. (Click to enlarge)

23 year old Charles Eugene Williams"s account is “second-hand” in the he associated it come his “friend George E. Standing” who subsequently passed it on come reporter for The everyday Sketch. The article was published on April 30, 1912 (courtesy that Tad Fitch and also Bill Wormstedt, Shots in the Dark  12.)): “I witnessed Captain blacksmith swimming around in the icy water through a infant in his arms and also wearing a lifebelt. He handed the infant to who in the lifeboat, however refused to acquire in himself. The Captain walk ask what became of very first Officer Murdoch. Us told him the he had blown his brain out v a revolver. Upon hearing this, Captain Smith driven himself away from the boat, took off his lifebelt, and also sank in ~ the surface.”

Robert Williams Daniel - The New York Herald in its 19 April 1912 execution quoted Robert Williams Daniel, who jumped native the stern automatically before the delivery sank, in that 19 April 1912 edition together having declared to have actually witnessed Captain smith drown in the ship"s wheelhouse. "I experienced Captain smith on the bridge. My eyes seemingly clung come him. The deck from which I had actually leapt was immersed. The water had risen slowly, and also was currently to the floor of the bridge. Climate it to be to Captain Smith"s waist. I experienced him no more. He died a hero." 

Harold H. Lee, a waiter aboard Carpathia, pass on a story he stated he heard from among Titanic’s quartermasters. The claim was the Captain Smith had committed suicide shortly before the ship sank, having headed calmly right into the graph room (or the wheelhouse, follow to various other alternatives) and also firing his revolver with the appropriate side that his head. Lee added that this developed only after the Captain was satisfied the all human initiatives to save those aboard the Titanic had actually been fulfilled.


A duration artist’s explicate of one alleged finish of Captain Smith, where he purportedly brought a infant to i turned down Collapsible B ( source: (Click to enlarge)

First-class passenger Gretchen Longley, told reporters directly that Smith had unsuccessfully tried to death himself in the library two other times the evening, conserved only since several policemans rushed him and also tore far his gun. Only then did smith head approximately the bridge, place the muzzle into his mouth and shooting himself.

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Another survivor, an initial Class passenger Ruth Dodge, told yet one more story. “Then I witnessed a man who ns am sure was Captain Smith. He was being pushed right into a life raft. He flung his arms around and struggled choose a foolish man. That was basic to check out he did not want to go. However the men who driven him (probably the staying ship’s officers) insisted and at size they got him top top the raft. He looked wildly about for a moment, waving his arms in despair and supplication. Then he leaped off the raft right into the ice-caked area which closed over his head forever. A woman in my watercraft moaned and fainted once she experienced the captain take his life and I feeling sick in ~ heart because that I thought of my absent husband.”

The day-to-day Sketch pays tribute come Captain Smith and also defends rumours of suicide on the 20th that April, 1912. (Click to enlarge)

Interestingly, The day-to-day Sketch the Saturday April 20, 1912, ran a front page tribute to Captain Smith, writing "It is noticeable that the disgraceful story circulated in some newspapers yesterday the Captain smith shot himself space hysterial inventions" The newspaper climate proves this with 3 quotations:

"I witnessed Captain blacksmith while I was in the water. He to be standing on the deck all alone. As soon as he was brushed up down through a wave, but managed to get to his feet again. Then, as the boat sank, he to be knpcked under by a wave, and then disappearted indigenous view." - Mr G.A. Braden (Brereton), Los Angeles, California"Captain Smith to be the best hero I ever before saw. The stood on the bridge, shouting with the megaphone, trying to make himself heard." - Mr Robert Daniels, Philadelphia"The captain stand on the bridge and also continued directing his males right approximately the moment when the leg on which the stood became level v the water. He climate calmly climbed over the rail and also dropped into the sea." - Mr Laurence Beesley, London

Just prior to returning aboard the Carpathia to resume his interrupted voyage, Captain Rostron likewise made a dramatic statement about Captains Smith"s end:


Captain Rostron descibed Captain blacksmith as reaching the "edge that a lifeboat. However he tumbled back into the ocean and also went down."

"I great you would deny in as solid language together permissable the persistent report sent by some press pertains to that Captain Smith eliminated himself once he realized the the Titanic was doomed. I have it indigenous the lips that members that the his crew that tried to conserve his life the he did no committ suicide. He grounding to the ship until he to be washed indigenous the bridge.Then some men caught him in the swirling waters and landed the safely on the sheet of a lifeboat. But he tumbled back into the ocean and also went down. He had been as well weakened by tough knocks while gift tossed around the sinking Titanic to organize onto anything. The buffeting the encountered top top the wrecked delivery undoubtedly had actually dazed him and also left him in no condition to exert even his staying strength.Smith was among the coolest, bravest and much more careful leaders I have ever before known. His seamanship was of the highest possible order. Also high a tribute can not be paid to that by anybody who knew him." (Chicago Examiner, Apirl 19th, Vol 10 no.104)"Perhaps the many unusual story came from Peter Pryal in mid-July, 3 months after the sinking. Pryal served as quartermaster throughout Smith’s tenure together captain the the Medic 20 years earlier. As a retired seaman, Pryal was living in Baltimore in 1912. He to be on his way to his doctor as soon as he spotted a guy carrying two suitcases and wearing a light brown service suit, straw hat, and tan shoes. Pryal was convinced that the man was Captain Smith. Pyral tried to speak come him but there to be no response. The then saw him a 2nd time and also they spoke briefly during which the man shown he was Captain Smith, but then departed because that Washington.. The White Star Line later on passed turn off the incident as mistaken identity and the story later died out after a couple of days of newspaper coverage.

Biographer G.J Cooper in his publication Titanic Captain - The Life the Edward man Smith writes: "It is currently generally embraced by historians of the Titanic the the most likely of this fates, the one recorded in this book, was the Smith went back to the bridge and also dived into the sea as soon as the ship began her last plunge. If that was the case it to be also possible that Smith can have swum approximately in the water for a time and may have actually refused to let himself be rescued as some statements say…Considering the odium heaped top top the likes that Ismay and Captain Lord, it was more than likely just as well that smith died, as had he live the scandal would probably have damaged him." 60.)