I've been trying to establish some chronology of Captain Smith's ships leading up to Titanic. Hopefully, Gary Cooper will see this, since I still haven't got his book! (cuz I'm, uh, currently unemployed you see!)
The only sources I've found so far, are 2 newspaper pieces written after the disaster, one from the NY Times, the other from the Washington Times (both are available on the Encycopedia Titanica site).
The New York Times version is the most complete of the 2, but they both agree on the names of the ships, and on the order. Both put the Senator Weber first, but they get the date wrong (1869 instead of 1867).
The papers say that Smith's first White Star command was Republic in 1887, but Stephanie Barczewski in "Titanic, a Night Remembered" says it was the old Baltic in 1888. Since the old Baltic was sold in 1888, and there is a mention of Smith grounding the Republic in 1889, it seems that the Baltic must have been first. After that, things get harder.
The NY Times has these ships in this order: Cufic, Runic, 1st Adriatic, 1st Celtic, 1st Brittanic, Coptic, Germanic, Majestic, 2nd Baltic ect.(we all know the rest). Just a few snags.
First, in the accidents and incidents of "Falling Star" we have Smith grounding the Coptic in December 1890 in Rio. Did he serve on Coptic twice?
Next, we have Cufic and Runic. These were both cattle boats. It makes sense that Smith would have had to pay his dues on these assignments, as he was still a White Star rookie. But then, in "Falling Star", there is an 1895 entry in which Smith reports dead cows on the Cufic. Since we also know he took over the Majestic sometime during 1895, it would seem that Cufic was the last ship before his 9 year residence on Majestic. Could this possibly have been the second ship named Cufic, (this new one an 8,000 tonner) that entered service in 1895? Perhaps the 2nd Cufic was Smith's first maiden voyage, since in definately wasn't Majestic like you sometimes hear, (Majestic's maiden run was in 1890).
So all the others on the list, (Adriatic I, Celtic I, Britannic I, Coptic, and Germanic), had to have been squeezed in between December 1890 and 1895.
Does anyone have any information that could help pin down which ships Smith has on during this interval?
One interesting aspect of this period that might actually tend to discredit the idea that Smith was somehow more accident prone than others is this: The first Adriatic and Brittanic were both very accident prone ships. In fact, they get their own chapter in "Falling Star". Both had numerous collisions, and were famous for running over sailing ships. But if you look at the accidents and incidents for these ships, there seems to have been a lull in their notoriously accident prone careers in the early 1890's, when Captain Smith had to have commanded them. This proves nothing of course, its just an observation. Unfortunately, the lack of accidents makes it harder to figure out which ship he was on, and when! _Cherio, Rob H.