Edward J. Smith

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Smith on the Olympic, half a year before the Titanic set sail

Edward John "E. J." Smith (27 January 1850 – 15 April 1912) was an English sea captain. He was the captain of the R.M.S Titanic, which sank when it struck an iceberg. Smith died in the sinking, aged 62. Smith was to retire after the maiden voyage of the Titanic.[1]

Early life[change | change source]

Smith was born on 27 January 1850 in Hanley, Staffordshire, England.[2] He was married to Sarah Eleanor Pennington from 1887 until his death in 1912. Smith had a daughter.

Titanic's sinking[change | change source]

When the Titanic struck the iceberg, Smith knew within minutes that the ship was doomed and that people would die. During the evacuation, Captain Smith failed to manage and coordinate the evacuation effort, and gave ambiguous and impractical orders (an hour after the collision, Fourth Officer Joseph Boxhall was still unaware that the ship would sink). Smith perished that night along with around 1,500 others, and his body was never recovered.

As the water reached the deck, Steward Edward Brown saw the captain walk onto the bridge,[3] but just seconds later later Trimmer Samuel Hemming found the bridge apparently empty.[4] There are conflicting accounts of what happened to Smith; Some claimed to have seen Smith in the water swimming towards a lifeboat, or near the capsized collapsible lifeboat "B", others saw shooting himself with a pistol.[5] When working to free Collapsible B, Junior Marconi Officer Harold Bride reported seeing a crewmember who he believed was Smith dive into the sea just as the water flooded the bridge,[6] However, the man who Bride saw jump from the bridge may have likely been Second Officer Charles Lightoller, who was seen jumping at this time[7]

Other accounts describe him entering the wheelhouse on the bridge and dying there as the Titanic went underwater.[8][9][10][11][12]

Movies[change | change source]

Smith has been played by many actors during documentaries, movies, television series, or plays. The most well known actors to play Smith are George C. Scott and Bernard Hill.

References[change | change source]

Other websites[change | change source]