Captain Smith


Colleen Collier

I have been looking at a photo of Captain Smith in a crisp dark colored suit, with gloves in his left hand, in a book called "Titanic Voices". (For those of you who have the book, it is on page 94.) I am drawn to two different items in this photo that maybe one of you could answer.

#1. He has two medals on his left breast (I believe the same ones worn in the picture with him standing next to Lord Pirrie on Olympic in 1911, except that one he has a white cap on.)(pg. 63) What were the medals for?

#2. The said photo (pg. 94) claims to be on the boat deck of Titanic, but it appears that on the deck there are leaves or trash he's standing on, and he is standing next to a square window. Does anyone know if it really IS Titanic?
Many thanks.
I can't really answer your questions, but I've seen that picture with what appears to be trash behind him and I've always wondered why it wasn't swept up before they took the picture.
Hi, Colleen!

> What were the medals for?

In 1903 Captain Smith was presented with the Transport Medal with the "South Africa" clasp for his command of the SS Majestic transporting troops to the Boer War. In 1910 he was awarded the Royal Naval Reserve Long Service Medal. (He joined the Royal Naval Reserve in 1888.)

Looking forward to seeing you soon, Colleen. :)

All my best,

On the trash behind Smith, if this photo was taken on the Titanic while fitting out (Or the Olympic during a refit or yard availablity.) then trash would have been a pretty common problem. I've done several refits and two major overhauls and I learned the hard way that the yardbirds don't give a flying F word where they heave the rubbish. It's all the unlucky crew can do to keep up with the mess.

Still, for a photo, it does seem rather odd that nobody bothered to pretty up the area a bit.

Michael H. Standart
That's good ole E.J. on Titanic. You can tell by the sidelight behind him, the little window near the deck behind his leg. They served as skylights to the cabins below. Titanic's were circle, Olympic's were oval. The rubbish is due to the ship still being fitted out.

Thank you Josh! I was looking at the "skylights" in the picture and wondered about their purpose. Interesting to know that they were used to properly identify him on board Titanic. This book does not give times, dates, or who took the picture, to figure when it was taken, furthering my confusion.
I'd come across a photo of some men on a smoke stack that was the exact one Phil Hind had posted here and they claimed that it was Titanic too, so I had reservations about this pictures authenticity.
Captain Smith looked very sharp in his dark suit. When did he wear the white uniform? The live footage of Smith on Olympic, he is in his "Summer whites" IS THIS PRACTICE STILL IN EFFECT CAPTAINS???
Thank you again. Hope your 2002 is better than Geoffs has started...


For the most part all officers now where whites year around. Although some of the older Captains still where the black shorts and white shirts sometimes. Cunard officers still go by the same uniform standards that they did back in the 30's. Whites in summer, and "working" uniform the rest of the year.

It is called a "working uniform"? I never heard it mentioned what it was called. Thank you! This may seem like a trivial question, but, when do the officers get to change from their working uniform to the summer whites? Does the area, weather, or geographical location have any bearing on what they are allowed to wear, is it the captain's discretion, or is there a specific date?
Have a good 2002
All of what you mentioned Colleen has a bearing on it. For the most part the whites are worn by all officers in a carribean climate while the blacks are used on a North Atlantic trade in the winter.

I just noticed yet another picture of Captain Smith, (with McElroy I believe) on the back cover of Captain Brown's book. He must have proudly worn those medals!
Thank you Cap'n Wood for clearing up the uniform issue. It had been thought that those working tropical climates wore white. (Well they all did in the movie "Out To Sea" with Walter Matthau & Jack Lemmon. I bet you even know the captain on board when they filmed that, & heard stories!
Have a fun and safe trip. How long is this proposed cruise you are assisting with?
I didn't hear any stories about Out to Sea but I heard more then a few about the failed sitcom Love Boat (the new addition that lasted a couple of weeks). I would wear those medals proudly as well. I only have four.

1 is for Maritime Service to the U.S. in the Gulf War. 1 is for plucking 3 fisherman out of the drink off the coast of Texas. 1 is a award the company gives out. Last but not least is my command ribbon.

The only time that I would wear those medals is during formal dinners sometimes I wear them on my dress coat in the ribbon form. Rarely!

I suppose you get tired of people like me asking you what they were for.