1907 Letter by Captain Smith Seen never a wreckage as a sailor

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Claus Campenhausen

Guest
I have heard that Captain Smith has written in 1907 a letter in which he stated, that his life as a sailor was dull, he hasn't seen any wreckages nor did he had any.
a) Is this right?
b) Does anybody know a source where I could read the letter?
 
Apr 22, 2012
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A.) I believe you are referring to an interview conducted by The New York Times in New York upon the arrival of the R.M.S. Adriatic on her maiden voyage. It was in this same interview that Smith complimented shipbuilders for having made ships unsinkable (which we all know is untrue). For dramatic effect, this interview is sometimes said to have been about the Titanic.

B.) It has been quoted in several books. I think it is in "Titanic" by Leo Marriott.

C.) Welcome to the message board, Claus!


Cheers,
happy.gif


-B.W.
 
C

Christine Geyer

Guest
Hi Claus,

Welcome aboard !!

Brandon already said it. The maiden voyage of the R.M.S. Adreatic took place six years before Titanic sank and Smith is quoted to have said precisely: “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.”￾

Many regards
Christine
 

Robert Hauser

Member
Aug 18, 2005
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I have heard that Captain Smith has written in 1907 a letter in which he stated, that his life as a sailor was dull, he hasn't seen any wreckages nor did he had any.
a) Is this right?

Dear Claus,

I would take that particular quotation with a very large grain of salt. Remember, it was a statement intended for a newspaper reporter that he knew would be read by thousands of potential White Star customers (not to mention J. Bruce Ismay, J.P. Morgan, or any number of other White Star bosses). Obviously, he wasn't about to give a truthful account of all the myriad dangers involved in crossing the world's most dangerous stretch of ocean in that kind of a public forum (if he wanted to keep his job). Would a commercial airline pilot flying today tell a newspaper reporter a bunch of stories about his close calls and near misses?

Smith had several incidents over the course of his 40 years at sea, which have already been discussed in other threads. None of the ones that were his fault were deemed serious, or you can be sure White Star's management would never let him command Titanic.

This is just my opinion, but I think that particular quotation you mention has been taken far too literally. I really doubt it expressed his true attitude regarding the dangers of sea-faring. Remeber, Smith was a man who sailed clippers and little 1000 ton wooden square riggers all over the world for a dozen years before he ever set foot on a steamer.

Personally, I have difficulty believing that someone with that kind of experience could have really been as dumb and oblivious as the "Legend of the Titanic" often portrays him. Like any legend, the story of the Titanic has become very much a "story" in which the details are often modified to enhance the telling.

Hail Mary, full of Grace,-Rob H.