Captain Smith's role in the disaster


Moj

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Moj, it was an accident. No one involved set out it make it happen but circumstances transpired otherwise. An example- I run over a wild rabbit on my way home tonight by accident. I didn't start the trip looking for a rabbit to hit and the rabbit didn't sit there waiting for my car to jump under.

This allocation of blame theme seems to have become more prevalent in the late 20th and early 21st Centuries. It's linked in my view to the contentious legal system that looks to pin blame in order to find sources of income mainly for the lawyers.

My thoughts on the matter.

Yes it was an accident. And I didnt say anyone deliberately tried or planned that. Yes I have read a lot conspiracy theories about insurance and ship switching and Morgan wanting to kill some people but they all seem absolutely ridiculous and unreal.
But I believe some accidents are different like this one. They have awful consequences. If like you said you run over a rabbit its sad but its not a huge disaster.
And as far as I searched accidents like Titanic are very rare and that alone shows we take precautions to avoid them both before Titanic and after that I could barely find a similar accident . (Correct me if Im wrong ) .
Thats why I have a hard time believing that thw whole thing was just pure accident and no one's negligence or mistake at least played a role.

Recently I read about the theory of weak material. I dont know if its even a valid theory or not but even if it was correct it only plays a part in the sinking or after the iceberg collision. And it doesnt explain the collision itself.
 
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.
There we have it, if Captain Rostron, had been captain of the Titanic, she would never have sank ! Walter Lord has an excellent account of Captain Rostron's heroic deeds that night in 'The Night Lives On'.
 

Jim Currie

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Welcome, Stephen. I'm sure I speak for the other members when I say we look forward to your input.

For the record - I do not consider Captain Rostron to have been a hero in any sense of the word. But that's another story.;)
 
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Arun Vajpey

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It is easy to talk about "if only"s with hindsight but the truth is that no one ever knows. While there were some loose ends with Smith's Captaincy, there is no way anyone can say that if Rostron (or Horatio Nelson for that matter) had been the captain of the Titanic, it would have been any different.

If we are talking of hypothetical situations, if the much maligned Captain Stanley Lord had been the Captain of the Titanic, it is more than likely that he would have taken the ice messages very seriously and at least slowed down his ship or maybe stopped it altogether till daylight. Lord comes across as the sort of a man who would have told Ismay to go climb the mainmast if the latter had objected to precautionary measures.
 
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Don't think so Sandy!

Cameron and his script writers were guessing. They portayed Smith in the way they did because that was their perception of how some people might have acted in such circumstances. Unless one of the writers in question had been in a similar situation or had absolute proof of how Smith acted, the film portrayal of him was simply a preferred outcome.

I can only speak from experience of witnessing many captains in tight situations. I only saw behaviour once which might be described by the uninformed as 'panic'. That was back in the 50s when a senior officer fouled his whites during a helicopter rescue operation in horrendous weather. The same man had gone through WW2 and suffered untold miseries during that time. He had been left with shattered nerves. In this instance, he did not panic or give up.. he was so bloody angry at the incompetence of those round him that he nearly busted a gut but decided to shit himself instead. :rolleyes:
As for Captain Smith: the man was highly experienced. He too had been in war and had spent many years in sailing ships.. not an arena for the weak at heart. In fact, following the sea as a career in the old days soon sorted-out the wheat from the chaff.
The evidence from survivors paints a picture of a supremely confident, efficient officer who, because of his vast experience of personal danger, would not have taken time to lament his failures. As they say, "the song's not over until the fat lady sings". My guess is that Smith waited in vain to hear the end of that song. But hell! I wasn't there. More to the point - neither was James Cameron (blessings be upon his name);)
He never had experience of captaining a ship the size of Titanic so all of his previous maritime experience maybe didnt help him - he totally underestimated how long the ship would take to turn or come to a stop.
Welcome, Stephen. I'm sure I speak for the other members when I say we look forward to your input.

For the record - I do not consider Captain Rostron to have been a hero in any sense of the word. But that's another story.;)
You're welcome - I didnt know Captain Smith's house is a 10 minute walk from where we lived in Liverpool. Ive probably walked past it countless times. Now the poor woman who lives there gets inundated with bus loads of tourists wanting to see where he lived !!
 
Welcome, Stephen. I'm sure I speak for the other members when I say we look forward to your input.

For the record - I do not consider Captain Rostron to have been a hero in any sense of the word. But that's another story.;)
Hi just going off what Walter Lord said I think but I cant check the relevant bit - just sent the night lives on to my daughter in Dunedin, New Zealand instructing her to read it and find out about the Titanic ! I had to order it off ebay. No chance of finding it in a high street retailers here in NZ !
 

Jim Currie

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He never had experience of captaining a ship the size of Titanic so all of his previous maritime experience maybe didnt help him - he totally underestimated how long the ship would take to turn or come to a stop.

You're welcome - I didnt know Captain Smith's house is a 10 minute walk from where we lived in Liverpool. Ive probably walked past it countless times. Now the poor woman who lives there gets inundated with bus loads of tourists wanting to see where he lived !!
Yes he did, Stephen. He took out the Olympic new the year before.
 
Hi yes thanks Jim for pointing that out - as with everything I put in here I get it all from Walter Lord - but may not be recalling what he says in the night lives on correctly - maybe it was no experience of being in command of a ship the unprecedented size of Olympic and Titanic ? I still think my point is kind of valid except Smith in common with any captain had no experience of captaining a vessel the size of the Olympic class ones, how could they, they didnt exist. Below shows his track record with Olympic was poor.

As one of the world's most experienced sea captains, Smith was called upon to take first command of the lead ship in a new class of ocean liners, the Olympic – again, the largest vessel in the world at that time. The maiden voyage from Southampton to New York was successfully concluded on 21 June 1911, but as the ship was docking in New York harbour, a small incident took place. Docking at Pier 59 under the command of Captain Smith with the assistance of a harbour pilot, Olympic was being assisted by twelve tugs when one got caught in the backwash of Olympic, spun around, collided with the bigger ship, and for a moment was trapped under Olympic's stern, finally managing to work free and limp to the docks.

On 20 September 1911, Olympic's first major mishap occurred during a collision with a British warship, HMS Hawke, in which the warship lost her prow. Although the collision left two of Olympic's compartments filled and one of her propeller shafts twisted, she was able to limp back to Southampton. At the resultant inquiry, the Royal Navy blamed Olympic,[8][9] finding that her massive size generated a suction that pulled Hawke into her side.[10] Captain Smith had been on the bridge during the events.

The Hawke incident was a financial disaster for White Star, and the out-of-service time for the big liner made matters worse. Olympic returned to Belfast and, to speed up the repairs, Harland and Wolff was forced to delay Titanic's completion, in order to use one of her propeller shafts and other parts for Olympic. Back at sea in February 1912, Olympic lost a propeller blade and once again returned to her builder for emergency repairs. To get her back to service immediately, Harland and Wolff again had to pull resources from Titanic, delaying her maiden voyage from 20 March to 10 April.
 

Mark Baber

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Hello, Stephen---

These last three paragraphs are copied and pasted from Wikipedia, right? If you're quoting from something, please indicate the source, and if it's from an online source please use a link to the source. Thanks.
 
Hello, Stephen---

These last three paragraphs are copied and pasted from Wikipedia, right? If you're quoting from something, please indicate the source, and if it's from an online source please use a link to the source. Thanks.
Hi Mark sure - do you have any guidance-rules for email threads ?
All 3 paragraphs are from here:
Edward Smith (sea captain) - Wikipedia

I think I did the same with another one on the Lusitania - I'll sort that out too with links in a new reply in that thread.
 

Mark Baber

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There are no rules specific to this message board, Stephen, just the norms that apply generally to using material taken from elsewhere.
 

Arun Vajpey

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One way of looking at it is that Captain Smith was a human being like everyone else subject to the same hopes and dreams that people usually have. Being in the twilight of a successful and up to then reasonably uneventful career, he would have subconsciously been hoping for a calm and uneventful maiden voyage as the Master of the Titanic. From that point of view, the collision with the iceberg and realization that his ship could sink under him would have been a monumental shock to his system. Even after the collision and in the next 15 or 20 minutes he probably subconsciously hoped that the damage was not terminal. Thomas Andrews' analysis and report to the contrary would have shattered his system to the extent that he was not able to be any more effective than he was that night.
 
Hi I agree the poor man - had to carry the weight of that awful night and loss of life of his passengers fully for the short remaining time he had left on this Earth - it would be unimaginable to know what he was going through in his mind. We should than God and all count ourselves lucky we will never face - any of us - what he faced that night. It is all the more poignant for me as he lived not more than 10 minutes away in Liverpool from where I grew up and I am likely to have been to exactly the same places he has in my home city of Liverpool. I will find a prayer for him in the native language of Aotearoa New Zealand later and post.
 

Jim Currie

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Hello Arun and Stephen.

Captain Smith followed standard protocal during the first 10 minutes after the ship hit the iceberg.

The normal sequence was and should still be:

1: Stop the ship and take all way offf her so as not to agravate any damge that might exist below the water line.
2. Send an officer on below decks inspection and at the same time order the carpenter to "sound-round". i.e. to take sounding od all tank spaces below the water line, paying particular attention to any suspected damage areas and to report asap.
4. If no serious damage is suspected, prepare the ship for continuing on the voyage after the all clear is given. This would involve bringing her back on her original course with the minimum use of engines.
5. Compare all previous tank readings with update sounding in the Carpenter's report.
6. Inform the engine room of any breached spaces in order that they may best delgate de-watering pumping systems.

No. 5 happened about 10 minutes after the impact with the ice. The report wa of catastrophic damage with multiple flooded compatments. Consultation with the builder-provided information would show that the ship was beyond survival. Pumping rate v rate of down-flooding would enable evaluation of time left before sinking.

The man had his hands full indeed.
 
Hi so I decided to include this for Captain Smith as was repeatedly played by the band
Abide With Me by King's College Choir of Cambridge - Songfacts

A beautiful version is sung by Hayley Westenra of Christchurch City New Zealand. We played it as the opening hymn at our baby boy Matthew's funeral mass - so I offer this up for Captain Smith, Captain of the Titanic - RIP.


Lyrics
Abide with me
fast falls the eventide
The darkness deepens
Lord, with me abide
When other helpers fail and comforts flee
Help of the helpless
oh, abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day
Earth’s joys grow dim
Its glories pass away
Change and decay in all around I see
— O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies
Heaven's morning breaks
and earth's vain shadows flee
In life, in death
O Lord, abide with me.
In life, in death
O Lord, abide with me.
 

Aly Jones

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I was reading a survivors account, (which was made few months after the disaster) (a real 1912 newspaper article) (was on Fb titanic page) which the lady survivor quotes that captain Smith was doing his duty. Noone could had faulted his actions. He was over seeing all of the lifeboats until the end.

But both ANTR and titanic 1997 portrayed Smith as desplacment, and in fairy land.
 
Mar 26, 2020
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P.S.: the wreck is a hoax. The Titanic never sank at all. She transformed into a new ship called the Imperator. I'm not joking!

The Imperator at her launch, 1912:

imperator-launch.jpg

th?id=OIP.jpg


The Titanic at her launch, 1911:

at-the-Harland-Wolff-Shipyard-May-31-1911-1024x623.jpg

titanic-launch.jpg


S.S. Titanic:

maxresdefault.jpg

th?id=OIP.jpg


S.S. Imperator:

Screen-shot-2015-02-14-at-3.35.36-PM.png

Im1913Eing-Imperator.jpg


The Titanic with three funnels. She looks a lot like the Imperator, doesn't she?

09_titanic.jpg
 
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