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Captain Smith's role in the disaster

This discussion on "Captain Smith's role in the disaster" is in the Captain Edward John Smith section; RMS Titanic, Inc. has posted this on their blog: What role do you think Captain ...

      
   
  1. #1
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    RMS Titanic, Inc. has posted this on their blog:

    What role do you think Captain Smith played in the Titanic disaster? Was he a hero, or is he responsible for the deaths of those who didn't survive the sinking? Leave your feedback in the comment section...

    Innocuous question? What are your reactions?

    P.S. Happy 161st birthday to Captain Smith.

  2. #2
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    I'm not one of the experts on this subject this forum so I will leave that to Messrs. Standart, et.al.

    There seem to be so many myths and legends in this regard...either he was "a goat" or "a hero".

    Glad you asked. Maybe this will start another discussion.

  3. #3
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    As the commander of the ship, Captain Smith bears the ultimate responsibility for everything they got right and everything they got wrong. That includes the deaths of the nearly 1500 people who lost their lives that night, including his own. Pretty draconian, but that's the level of responsibility which goes with the authority.

    I think he did the best he could under the circumstances. I don't believe he was in the sort of catatonic shock so often portrayed in the pop histories and in the movies. The testimony given at the inquiries just doesn't bear that out. I'm not so sure I'd call him a hero, but he wasn't quite a zero either.

  4. #4
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    Hello,

    I think Captain Smith ultimately was responsible for the sinking. The reason is because Titanic received 7-9 iceberg warnings and still didn't stop! I know this wasn't his decision but Murdock ordered "Hard a starboard" and stopped all engines. This is not good because there were only thirty seconds until Titanic hit the iceberg and if they hit it head on the ship probably would've have stayed afloat with the damage in the first two compartments.
    Last edited by Mark Baber; 27th April 2013 at 09:54 AM.
    sally1976 likes this.

  5. #5
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    Captian smith was busy entertaining the guests and praising how titanic was never going to sink.

  6. #6
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    I think Mr. Standart has one important thing right - Captain Smith bore the ultimate responsibility because of his authority.

    However, I have always felt that Titanic's sinking was a classic case of what I will genteelly term a clusterfudge - many small, seemingly unrelated events came together in just the wrong way at just the wrong moment, and there was little anyone could have done about it once she was in that ice field. Everyone did their best. Everyone's best was unavailing.

    It has been said Titanic's design and steel were faulty, but Olympic sailed with just such a design and just such steel without sinking. She should perhaps not have ventured into that ice field, but other ships traversed that year's ice safely. She was a new ship with a crew not quite used to her, but that too was a combination seen frequently, and most ships came through that period just fine. Other ships almost certainly had crew with personality quirks, and never met with disaster.

    Murphy's Law just plain damn ran off the rails that night, and Captain Smith had little to do with it, though he has been quietly accepting his responsibility at the bottom of the North Atlantic for the past 101 years.

  7. #7
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    Michael is correct Sandy. He illustrates perfectly the ultimate responsibility of Smith or any other ship's captain when at sea.
    The seemingly innocuous (harmless?) question is; was Smith a hero or a villain?
    None of us know for sure the answer to that question. Few, are qualified to make such a judgement. Only those who fully understand the implications of all the evidence available from that time can be reasonably confident of their conclusions regarding the guilt or innocence of Captain Smith of the Titanic.

    Few stop to consider the actions of Captain Rostron of the Carpathia; the hero of the piece. "There bit for the grace of God....."
    Not a few qualified critics shudder to think about it.

    Jim C.

    PS: crisshaw: Murdoch had less than 15. not 30 seconds to make his decision.
    EssaysFor: Smith was not entertaining guests at the time, he was in his day-room.

  8. #8
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    >>The seemingly innocuous (harmless?) question is; was Smith a hero or a villain? <<

    Realistically Captain Jim, I don't think he was either. I think he was a man in a very difficult position who...like I hope anybody would...did the best he could when everything went to hell. If what I saw in the testimony of both inquiries is any indication, he was a lot more active and involved then the popular hysterias make him out to be. He wasn't just standing around in a stunned daze.
    Shel Cooper likes this.

  9. #9
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    Absolutely Michael!

    That's my take too. I get a little tetchy when I see all the speculative rubbish that has been written about the man by people who wouldn't know the sharp end from the blunt end. But then you know that.

  10. #10
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    >>I get a little tetchy when I see all the speculative rubbish that has been written about the man by people who wouldn't know the sharp end from the blunt end. But then you know that.<<

    Yes, and what makes it worse is that a lot of the "stunned daze" assertions in the popular hysterias come from regurgitating what was being said somewhere else, and anywhere except a primary source.

 

 
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