THE Commander of the Titanic Captain Edward J. Smith, Royal Naval Reserve, (widely know as E.J. by all passengers and crew) was very well known and was one of the most popular masters in the Atlantic service. He was in command of the Olympic, and her unfortunate collision in the Solent with the cruiser HMS Hawke was the first serious mishap in his long experience. Captain Smith, who was sixty years of age, had been in the service of the White Star Line for thirty-eight years and had commanded a number of the Company's vessels. Born in Staffordshire, he served his apprenticeship to the sea in the ships of Messrs. Gibson & Co., shipowners, of Liverpool. Joining the White Star Line as fourth officer, he received his first command in 1887, and has had charge of its largest ships. During the South African War he thrice carried troops in the Majestic, and was decorated by the Government for his services as a transport officer. His career had been one of continuous advancement; each development in size and power of White Star vessels saw Captain Smith taking a step forward in the importance and responsibility of his commands. Passengers liked him, his employers trusted him, because they knew him to be a good sailor and careful navigator. He served as a member of the Executive Council of the Mercantile Marine Service Association, held an extra master's certificate and was an honorary commander of the Royal Naval Reserve. Captain Smith leaves a widow and daughter.