That's not quite true, Conan. Capt. Breen was given his first command, on Delphic I, in 1901; all of the captains on White Star's New York ships in 1912, save one, had attained command before then: Titanic's E.J. Smith in 1887; Adriatic's Bertram Hayes in 1899; Baltic's J.B. Ranson in 1900; Cedric's Harry Smith in 1893; and Oceanic's Herbert Haddock also in 1893. Only Alexander Hambelton of Celtic (1903) became a commander after Capt. Breen. And although I haven't looked at the line's other 1912 captains, I know that at least one, William Finch of Arabic, had been a captain since 1896.The story goes that he, being one of the longest serving WSL Captains in 1912
Moreover, I've done some research on White Star's history over the years, and don't think I've come across an instance where a captain on the Australia or New Zealand services transferred to the North Atlantic as a captain. If I come across one, I'll mention it here, but I can't think of one off the top of my head. Harry Smith and Finch, though, were commanders on the White Star/O&O transpacific service who returned to the North Atlantic as commanders.
Titanic was Smith's fourth "newest ship" MV in a row, after Baltic, Adriatic and Olympic. Curiously, though, the one before that was Haddock, on Cedric. I've never quite figured out why this is so.If you look at Smith’s history he was White Star’s first pick to take out their latest, biggest and finest steamers in the early twentieth century
Wilde and Murdoch would have been nowhere close to commanding one of the top-of-the line ships.as well as ambitious younger officers like Wilde and Murdoch.
I think that's quite right, Sam.I think it’s fair to say that at no point would [Breen] have been considered for the captaincy of the Titanic, or even the tier of ships below the Olympic class on the Atlantic route.