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Death of Captain Smith

Discussion in 'Captain Edward John Smith' started by Logan Geen, Dec 10, 2001.

  1. Logan Geen

    Logan Geen Member

    I have heard about 7 different deaths of the Captain:
    A) He goes down with the ship
    B) He committs suicide
    C) He is crushed by the funnel
    D) He delivers an infant, than returns to the ship
    E) He lets go, saying "I will follow the ship!"
    F) He remains in the water and dies after the sinking
    G) He doens't die and somehow gets to America
    How do you think Captain Smith died? I think he dived off the bridge and probably died in the water later that morning. The infant story is pretty unlikely.
    BTW wasn't Captain Charlie Bartlett the captain who brought Titanic from Belfast to Southampton? That would make him Titanic's first Captain. And unless I'm mistaken he commanded the Britannic when that ship went down.
  2. Tracy Smith

    Tracy Smith Member

    Though we can't know for certain, I'm thinking that he probably died as did most of the others in the water. He probably died from hypothermia in fifteen minutes or less after going into the water, as that is about the outer limit for people to survive in water that cold.
  3. There is a wonderful myth in my part of the world that Captain Smith survived and wandered to the Great Lakes where, under an assumed name, he commanded one of our ore freighters. It is pure nonsense, but the story has an "I wish it were true" aspect.

    -- David G. Brown
  4. Mark Baber

    Mark Baber Moderator Member

    >BTW wasn't Captain Charlie Bartlett the captain who brought Titanic from Belfast to Southampton?

    No. Herbert J Haddock signed on at Southampton on 25 March 1912, and then proceeded to Belfast to supervise the crew. E.J. Smith arrived in Belfast on 1 April and relieved Haddock, who then took command of Olympic.

    Sources: Cameron's Titanic: Belfast's Own; Eaton and Haas' Titanic: A Journey Through Time.

  5. Logan Geen

    Logan Geen Member

    OK thanks Mark...I believe Ballard's Discovery of Titanic mentioned that the Titanic left Belfast under Captain Bartlett and I read that somewhere else too.
  6. Jemma Hyder

    Jemma Hyder Guest


    One of the officers stated at one of the enquiries that he saw Smith dive off of the bridge, and elsewhere it was stated that he was spotted nearby boat B but was swept away when the first funnel came down .......... so is this 8 possibilities now lol
  7. Logan Geen

    Logan Geen Member

    Good point Jemma! The list goes on! Here is another one:
    -Smith is swept off the bridge, but manages to crawl back aboard
    -Smith was seen to walk onto the bridge but moments later the bridge was empty? A Night to Remember I think.
  8. Inger Sheil

    Inger Sheil Member

    G'day Jemma!

    Was that one of the officers or was it Harold Bride who saw Smith dive off the bridge?

    ~ Inger
  9. Jemma Hyder

    Jemma Hyder Guest

    Inger Hi how are you?

    Almost positive it was Lightoller but would need to check it......

  10. Inger Sheil

    Inger Sheil Member

    G'day Jemma -

    I'm hanging in there in the pre-Christmas rush - trying to organise movements pre-The Big Day with the precision of troop deployment. Hope all is well in your neck of the woods!

    Was this the passage of testimony you were thinking of: -

    Senator SMITH. When did you last see the captain? When he told you to take care of yourself?

    Mr. BRIDE: The last I saw of the captain he went overboard from the bridge, sir.

    Senator SMITH. Did you see the Titanic sink?

    Mr. BRIDE. Yes, sir.

    Senator SMITH. And the captain was at that time on the bridge?

    Mr. BRIDE. No, sir.

    Senator SMITH. What do you mean by overboard?

    Mr. BRIDE. He jumped overboard from the bridge. He jumped overboard from the bridge when we were launching the collapsible lifeboat.

    Senator SMITH. I should judge from what you have said that this was about three or four minutes before the boat sank,

    Mr. BRIDE. Yes. It would be just about five minutes before the boat sank.

    Senator SMITH. About five minutes?

    Mr. BRIDE. Yes.

    Senator SMITH. Do you know whether the captain had a life belt on?

    Mr. BRIDE. He had not when I last saw him.

    Senator SMITH. He had not?

    Mr. BRIDE. No, sir.
  11. Jemma Hyder

    Jemma Hyder Guest

    Hmmm sounds familiar, trouble is I've been working on Bride and Lightoller's testimony at the same time lol. Ill pull out my Lightoller stuff when I get home but one of the two def said that he thought Smith was clinging to B when a load of them got swept off.....
  12. From what I've seen, Smith diving off the bridge was seen by Harold, and I've never seen another reference to it. It'd be interesting to see more testimony or an eyewitness account stating that someone else also saw this. It's certainly plausible; I have never bought for one minute the legend that Smith stayed with the ship. I can't imagine why he would see a reason to, he didn't seem like that kind of person.
  13. Jan C. Nielsen

    Jan C. Nielsen Senior Member

    Actually, there is another account --by the Titanic's barber, August Weikman. Sometime ago, Mark Baber posted a link to a newspaper article interview of Weikman that appeared in the Daily Enterprise, which states in pertinent part:

    "While this was going on I was on the upper deck assisting the passengers to the boats. I had a life belt on , and when the forward part of the ship listed I was washed overboard by a huge wave. Looking backward, I could see Captain Smith, who had been standing on the bridge, swimming back to the place where he had stood, having been washed off the Titanic by the same wave that had washed me from the ship into the water."

    This account seems much more believable than Harold Bride's, which has Smith diving into the ocean. Smith was simply washed off with others by the first big wave . . . no standing by the ship's wheel 'till the windows break, no going down with the ship, no nothing. I really believe those accounts that suggest Smith tried to get on board Collapsible B, but didn't manage. Like Captain Turner of the Lusitania, who survived that sinking, Smith probably would have saved himself but he just didn't get the chance.
  14. Addison Hart

    Addison Hart Guest

    Right, well, of all the many "death scenes" for poor old Captain Smith, there are only three which I would consider as being the probable ones. The first is, of course, that he leapt overboard. The second is that he died on the bridge. The third I would say would have to be that he was caught by the wave. The famous wave that struck the officer's quarters a little before the ship went under is what knocked Gracie overboard, killed Clinch Smith, Moody (and probably Murdoch). I don't believe that Capt. Smith was recognized by anyone after the wave hit, so he may well have been yet another casualty of it. Or, as Weikman says (but Weikman always seems to exaggerate things in his reports) Smith was simply knocked overboard by the wave. We shall never know for certain, but I would say that those are the three most probable ways he bought the farm.

    God bless,
    Addison Hart
  15. Without endorsing any story about Captain Smith's demise--I must point out that the story he "fell" into the water when the wave swept over the bridge is intrinsically the same as that he "jumped" into the water at that time. Sailors learn pretty quickly that people get hurt falling overboard by hitting their heads or body against hard parts of the vessel on the way down. So, it is fairly common knowledge that if you discover yourself falling...and cannot recover... you simply push off as best you can to make sure your body is clear of the ship. I have always suspected this is what Lightoller actually did--pushed himself away from the Titanic when he realized he could not remain where he was.

    -- David G. Brown
  16. Charmaine Sia

    Charmaine Sia Member

    Thanks for clearing that up, Dave, I've always wondered why people write "seeing Moody fall/jump into the water". Now I understand why.

  17. I allways like to think that he died like in Titanic 97 I've always thought that even before the movie came out. But thats' just my opion.
  18. This is really fascinating to me, and just shows all the facets of the TITANIC story which are certainly fascinating and can provide gist for endless speculation, yet are ultimately unsolvable.

    Call me a romantic, people, but I'd liked to think that Smith died on the bridge, but if he was washed overboard or jumped, at his age, I doubt that he could have survived very long in that water.

    Well, however the good Captain died, I think he was great.
  19. Max Nikulin

    Max Nikulin Guest

    Hi all!
    I dont know for sure how Mr Smith
    died but I cannot agree with some
    romantics here.
    Anyway we must suggest that he just blew
    his brains out the way Mr Cameron showed
    the death of Mr. Murdoch

    My Best Regards
    Max Nikulin
  20. >>Anyway we must suggest that he just blew
    his brains out the way Mr Cameron showed
    the death of Mr. Murdoch <<

    Why? eh.gif I'm not aware of a shred of evidence which supports this.

    Michael H. Standart