Click HERE to see footage of Captain Smith on the Titanic's sister ship, Olympic.
Click HERE for part II of footage of Captain Smith aboard the Olympic.
Click HERE for even more footage of Captain Smith aboard the Olympic.
Edward John Smith was born on January 27, 1850 in 51 Well Street, Hanley Stokes, England. His father was a potter and his mother was a member of Elruria Methodist Church. He went to sea at age 13 as an apprentice and later joined the White Star Line in 1886 as 4 officer on the Celtic. He rose in rank to captain of the Adriatic.
He was then transferred as captain of the Majestic where he was for 9 years. He was considered a millionaire's captain because he was one of the most successful captains
and had a salary of 1,250 pounds. He was again transferred to the Olympic. After a few voyages, he was transferred to the Titanic. When asked about the Titanic he said,"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 the
bottoms, the vessels would remain afloat." Smith was in bed when it was struck. The
shock awoke him, he went to the bridge and asked, "What have we struck?" "An iceberg sir". came the reply. Smith sent for Thomas Andrews and they both inspected the damage. Andrews explained that the ship was sinking. Smith gave the order to evacuate the ship. Nothing is known of the captain during the time of lowering the lifeboats. His death is a mystery. There are several different stories of how he died. Harold Bride said, "The last I saw of the captain of the Titanic, he went overboard from the bridge about, I should think, three minutes before I left myself."
Philadelphia banker Robert W. Daniel who leapt from the sinking ship two minutes before she went down said. "I saw Captain Smith on the bridge. My eyes seemingly clung to him. The deck from which I had leapt was immersed. The water had risen slowly, and was now to the floor of the bridge. Then it was to Captain Smith's waist. I saw him no more. He died a hero." One account said that captain Smith put an infant on Collapsible B and swam off.
Philadelphia banker Robert W. Daniel who leapt from the sinking ship two minutes before she went down said. "I saw Captain Smith on the bridge. My eyes seemingly clung to him. The deck from which I had leapt was immersed. The water had risen slowly, and was now to the floor of the bridge. Then it was to Captain Smith's waist. I saw him no more. He died a hero." His body was never recovered.
Quote: "I cannot imagine any condition which would cause a ship to founder. I cannot conceive of any vital disaster happening to this vessel. Modern shipbuilding has gone beyond that . . ." (On the maiden voyage of the Adriatic in New York, 1907)