Personnel decisions impelling collision


Nov 14, 2005
2,241
1,133
308
Could have been as simple as J.P. Morgan telling Ismay that "I had lunch with so and so and he mentioned how nice it would be to have Smith as the captain". It would have gotten done.
 
Nov 14, 2005
2,241
1,133
308
I disagree. Lots of stuff at that level gets done with a simple suggestion. I used Morgan as an example. It doesn't always have to be some of conspiracy or whatever that others have implied. But like I said before I believe it was because he had already commanded the Olympic. Nothing more complicated than that.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

Mike Spooner

Member
Sep 21, 2017
1,041
207
138
You've been told this is all not true a thousand times before by a dozen different posters but for some reason you keep ignoring it.

Anyway here we go again ....
  • Many passenger ships went into service still needing some light work done on their accommodation etc.
  • They did not leave Belfast with a coal bunker on fire. It was discovered after they left Southampton.
  • Coal bunker fires were common on ships of that era. The stokehold men were used to them and knew how to deal with them. It wasn't anything out of the ordinary.
  • You have not the slightest proof that Herbert Haddock would have done any better than Smith beyond your own opinion. Opinions are not facts.
  • Again you make a baseless accusation about corporate interference based purely upon "I think this happened - therefore it did". That isn't proof.
  • Name me one credible Titanic historian who believes there were meddling company directors who were tinkering with everything. You will be looking for quite a while.
These are not the amazing revelations you seem to think they are.
Sorry for the delay for a reply. I have been on holiday for a week and my iPad is still not sort out to reply!
One of the things you must understand captains and officers do play a vital roll in the running of the ship, but at the end of the day do not own the ships or the shipping company. That responsibility roll falls on the Board of Directors who are in a more senior position roll. Even a Board of Directors will have a pecking order from the junior Directors to the senior Directors and the ultimate power comes from the company Chairman who has the casting vote. A new voted in Chairman will always make sure will have Directors work for them.
As who will be captain is not for the captain to decide or the officers to. No doubt Smith may been asked and considered a great honour for Titanic indeed. But that was the Directors who gave him that great honour and NOT Smith. As far choosing what officer he wants on board. Again that is the Directors who will say yes or no.
As for the coal bunker fire I seen evidence it did start in Belfast. Therefore it was H&W problem. Would agree were not a such serious issue and can be control in the early stages.
As for taking ownership of the ship from the shipyard that falls down on the Directors and not the crew members.
Clearly I see WSL Directors are taking on responsibilities that belong to H&W by accepting the ship that is not a completed. Then all that nonsense of shifting 4,400 tons coal from five ships at Southampton. Who bright idea was that? Which can only come from the Directors. The last minute changers of senior officers at Southampton. To me this doesn't sound a very well organise company. Again I do not blame the captain. If any one to blame that has to fall on the company Chairman who was know to make quick decisions, not like his Father Thomas Ismay who would look at all angles before making a final decision.
As for Smith I have to question was he the right choice? As I have notice in the inquiries the roll of the captain responsibility is never brought up. As on a top liner of any shipping company must of been stressful job indeed and there seem to be a standard age to retire them of at 60. As for Smith the HMS Hawke accident only just added to his stress level. Not only that I see other factors to consider that Smith was not the right choose. Only IF and a big IF I was a Director I would of chosen Captain Haddock and retired Smith off.
 

Seumas

Member
Mar 25, 2019
720
401
108
Glasgow, Scotland
Sorry for the delay for a reply. I have been on holiday for a week and my iPad is still not sort out to reply!
One of the things you must understand captains and officers do play a vital roll in the running of the ship, but at the end of the day do not own the ships or the shipping company. That responsibility roll falls on the Board of Directors who are in a more senior position roll. Even a Board of Directors will have a pecking order from the junior Directors to the senior Directors and the ultimate power comes from the company Chairman who has the casting vote. A new voted in Chairman will always make sure will have Directors work for them.
As who will be captain is not for the captain to decide or the officers to. No doubt Smith may been asked and considered a great honour for Titanic indeed. But that was the Directors who gave him that great honour and NOT Smith. As far choosing what officer he wants on board. Again that is the Directors who will say yes or no.
As for the coal bunker fire I seen evidence it did start in Belfast. Therefore it was H&W problem. Would agree were not a such serious issue and can be control in the early stages.
As for taking ownership of the ship from the shipyard that falls down on the Directors and not the crew members.
Clearly I see WSL Directors are taking on responsibilities that belong to H&W by accepting the ship that is not a completed. Then all that nonsense of shifting 4,400 tons coal from five ships at Southampton. Who bright idea was that? Which can only come from the Directors. The last minute changers of senior officers at Southampton. To me this doesn't sound a very well organise company. Again I do not blame the captain. If any one to blame that has to fall on the company Chairman who was know to make quick decisions, not like his Father Thomas Ismay who would look at all angles before making a final decision.
As for Smith I have to question was he the right choice? As I have notice in the inquiries the roll of the captain responsibility is never brought up. As on a top liner of any shipping company must of been stressful job indeed and there seem to be a standard age to retire them of at 60. As for Smith the HMS Hawke accident only just added to his stress level. Not only that I see other factors to consider that Smith was not the right choose. Only IF and a big IF I was a Director I would of chosen Captain Haddock and retired Smith off.
One of the things you must understand captains and officers do play a vital roll in the running of the ship, but at the end of the day do not own the ships or the shipping company. That responsibility roll falls on the Board of Directors who are in a more senior position roll. Even a Board of Directors will have a pecking order from the junior Directors to the senior Directors and the ultimate power comes from the company Chairman who has the casting vote. A new voted in Chairman will always make sure will have Directors work for them.

Thanks for the patronising reply. I know how corporate governance works and what ships officers can and cannot do.

For the thousandth time you yet again fail to offer an iota of proof that there was corporate interference resulting in the Titanic's loss there beyond your own wild imagination.

As who will be captain is not for the captain to decide or the officers to. No doubt Smith may been asked and considered a great honour for Titanic indeed. But that was the Directors who gave him that great honour and NOT Smith. As far choosing what officer he wants on board. Again that is the Directors who will say yes or no.

Actually it was a joint decision by Smith and the WSL who agreed upon who the ships officers would be. There is no evidence that Smith was unhappy with any of his men. Indeed Smith had a number of his most trusted men such as Wilde, Murdoch, Bell, McElroy and O'Loughlin amongst others with him in senior positions aboard the Titanic.

Again no proof provided of the big corporate conspiracy.

As for the coal bunker fire I seen evidence it did start in Belfast. Therefore it was H&W problem. Would agree were not a such serious issue and can be control in the early stages.

The evidence the fire started in Belfast is based on Hendrickson who in turn "was told" it stated in Belfast. That's it. All the other evidence points to it starting in Southampton or shortly after leaving.

Read the research paper "Fire and Ice".

If you agree that it was not a serious issue then why on earth bring it up in the first place ? That's pointless.

Clearly I see WSL Directors are taking on responsibilities that belong to H&W by accepting the ship that is not a completed.

Yet again more proof that you don't bother to read people's posts properly. This has been explained to you a number of items before by several different posters.

I'm getting sick of repeating this but here we go again - it's quite common for big passenger liners then and now to go to sea with a bit of light work still to be done on passenger accommodation.

The Titanic's engines, boilers, dynamos, steering gear, navigation and sounding equipment, pumps and watertight doors, signalling equipment, catering, firefighting and lifesaving equipment were all safely installed and in working order. That was all that mattered.

That a lick of paint was still needed here and there or that a few doors didn't hang properly is nothing more trivia.

Then all that nonsense of shifting 4,400 tons coal from five ships at Southampton. Who bright idea was that?

A perfectly sensible move actually.

The nationwide UK coal strike had just ended and the miners had only just went back to work - there was a shortage of coal in the UK.

Many ships of the Merchant Navy had to be laid up and Britain's railways had to reduce their services as a result. It was necessary to top up the Titanic's supply of coal and the best way to scrounge together coal was to take it from ships laid up by the strike.

The last minute changers of senior officers at Southampton. To me this doesn't sound a very well organise company. Again I do not blame the captain. If any one to blame that has to fall on the company Chairman who was know to make quick decisions, not like his Father Thomas Ismay who would look at all angles before making a final decision.

Smith and the WSL both decided to add another experienced, safe pair of hands in Henry Wilde. There is nothing wrong with that.

In any event, Wilde would only have done the Titanic's first few voyages before moving on to command one of his own. Murdoch would then have been back as chief officer. Non story.

As for Smith I have to question was he the right choice? As I have notice in the inquiries the roll of the captain responsibility is never brought up. As on a top liner of any shipping company must of been stressful job indeed and there seem to be a standard age to retire them of at 60. As for Smith the HMS Hawke accident only just added to his stress level. Not only that I see other factors to consider that Smith was not the right choose. Only IF and a big IF I was a Director I would of chosen Captain Haddock and retired Smith off.

I don't see any hard evidence in that last passage at all.

What I do see is a lot of groundless assumption and overactive imagination. None of which constitute evidence.

Therefore that is all irrelevant.

You seem to think that you have made this big discovery here but you haven't. Corporate interference was not responsible for the sinking of RMS Titanic.

Mark Chirnside had to remind you of this a while back but you seem to seem to have forgotten this. Go back and read his replies.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Jim Currie

Member
Apr 16, 2008
6,582
1,357
323
NewtonMearns, Glasgow, Scotland.
Sorry for the delay for a reply. I have been on holiday for a week and my iPad is still not sort out to reply!
One of the things you must understand captains and officers do play a vital roll in the running of the ship, but at the end of the day do not own the ships or the shipping company. That responsibility roll falls on the Board of Directors who are in a more senior position roll. Even a Board of Directors will have a pecking order from the junior Directors to the senior Directors and the ultimate power comes from the company Chairman who has the casting vote. A new voted in Chairman will always make sure will have Directors work for them.
As who will be captain is not for the captain to decide or the officers to. No doubt Smith may been asked and considered a great honour for Titanic indeed. But that was the Directors who gave him that great honour and NOT Smith. As far choosing what officer he wants on board. Again that is the Directors who will say yes or no.
As for the coal bunker fire I seen evidence it did start in Belfast. Therefore it was H&W problem. Would agree were not a such serious issue and can be control in the early stages.
As for taking ownership of the ship from the shipyard that falls down on the Directors and not the crew members.
Clearly I see WSL Directors are taking on responsibilities that belong to H&W by accepting the ship that is not a completed. Then all that nonsense of shifting 4,400 tons coal from five ships at Southampton. Who bright idea was that? Which can only come from the Directors. The last minute changers of senior officers at Southampton. To me this doesn't sound a very well organise company. Again I do not blame the captain. If any one to blame that has to fall on the company Chairman who was know to make quick decisions, not like his Father Thomas Ismay who would look at all angles before making a final decision.
As for Smith I have to question was he the right choice? As I have notice in the inquiries the roll of the captain responsibility is never brought up. As on a top liner of any shipping company must of been stressful job indeed and there seem to be a standard age to retire them of at 60. As for Smith the HMS Hawke accident only just added to his stress level. Not only that I see other factors to consider that Smith was not the right choose. Only IF and a big IF I was a Director I would of chosen Captain Haddock and retired Smith off.
Not really!

Shipping Companies had Marine Superintendents who ensured that the money making assets...the ships... were properly manned and fir for purpose. 99% of Company Directors didn't know the sharp end from the blunt end. They were simply the money men.
The Superintendent hired and fired, not the Directors. Deck Superintendents were time served Master Mariners and Engineering Superintendents were Chief Engineers. These men were charged with the proper manning and daily operation of Company vessels.
The Superintendent advised the senior Management as to the abilities of the personnel (including captains) to perform their duties. Directors were not qualified to make such determinations.

Internal combustion fires do not happen overnight... they develop over time, If Titanic coaled shortly before she left Belfast then it is likely that the yard personnel would not have known about such a fire.

When a ship is built, there is an agreed time on the contract when the ship will be sufficiently complete for official handover to the owners. That is normally at the end of sea trials. Besides her normal Yard trials, Titanic had an additional period of trial consisting of her run from Belfast to Southampton. Being the very latest of her class, improvements would have been made. Not only that but on a vessel that size with so many innovations, inspections under ocean going conditions were needed and any minor defects in fixtures and fittings could be rectified or noted for future attention during her maiden voyage. It was then and for very many years thereafter, a perfectly normal situation for Yard personnel to accompany such vessels on their maiden voyage.

There was absolutely nothing wrong with Captain Smith's ability. Not only that, but there is an old saying that you do not keep a dog and bark yourself. Smith had the luxury of no less than 6 juniors, all of whom were qualified Master Mariners and Certified to take command of any vessel.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 3 users

dockeen

Member
Jul 21, 2020
3
0
11
Florida Panhandle
What I can make out Lusitania & Mauretania had long sea trials before maiden crossing which all gone helping to run the engines in. The huge amount of horse power the two ships could of well better the Blue Ripon record many times over the years. But there is a price pay for it. Stress on the ship hull and heavy coal consumption. As both ships belong to the same shipping company there is no point pushing it any further.
And, as I recall, vibration got pretty bad when they were pushed towards their limits.
 

Mike Spooner

Member
Sep 21, 2017
1,041
207
138
Not really!

Shipping Companies had Marine Superintendents who ensured that the money making assets...the ships... were properly manned and fir for purpose. 99% of Company Directors didn't know the sharp end from the blunt end. They were simply the money men.
The Superintendent hired and fired, not the Directors. Deck Superintendents were time served Master Mariners and Engineering Superintendents were Chief Engineers. These men were charged with the proper manning and daily operation of Company vessels.
The Superintendent advised the senior Management as to the abilities of the personnel (including captains) to perform their duties. Directors were not qualified to make such determinations.

Internal combustion fires do not happen overnight... they develop over time, If Titanic coaled shortly before she left Belfast then it is likely that the yard personnel would not have known about such a fire.

When a ship is built, there is an agreed time on the contract when the ship will be sufficiently complete for official handover to the owners. That is normally at the end of sea trials. Besides her normal Yard trials, Titanic had an additional period of trial consisting of her run from Belfast to Southampton. Being the very latest of her class, improvements would have been made. Not only that but on a vessel that size with so many innovations, inspections under ocean going conditions were needed and any minor defects in fixtures and fittings could be rectified or noted for future attention during her maiden voyage. It was then and for very many years thereafter, a perfectly normal situation for Yard personnel to accompany such vessels on their maiden voyage.

There was absolutely nothing wrong with Captain Smith's ability. Not only that, but there is an old saying that you do not keep a dog and bark yourself. Smith had the luxury of no less than 6 juniors, all of whom were qualified Master Mariners and Certified to take command of any vessel.
Sorry for the delay in replying. You have made some some interesting points here Jim. I would agree the Marine Superintendents are the ones in many ways are running the company. However at the end of the day they have to convince there company bosses the Board of Directors of they are making the right decisions. Like you say the money men indeed. And on the top of the pile is the company Chairman, but never underestimated the Finance Director who are know under the expression. As tight as a duck arse when its to spending money. What I can see it was Ismay who choice Smith as the captain for Titanic. As for choosing the crew members for Titanic I can see WSL had quite few officers to choice from due to many ship laid up of the national coal strike in progress. Those who where picked must felt over the moon and on the worlds largest floating luxury liner indeed.
Correct me wrong were they or not on zero contact? In other words no ship no pay. If that was the case that another wow factor for the chosen crew members. I can see the two officers William Murdoch and Charles Lightoller they too must feel real honoured to be Chief Officer and First Officer. When sailing down from Belfast to Southampton they must of thought we are on a winner here. However deflated they must of felt be demoted to one rank down. Probably a reflection in their pay to. But I see this as rather a slap in their face from Smith saying you not quite up to the standard I want. Therefore I want Henry Wilde as my Chief Officer. Reading G.J. Coopers book TITANTIC CAPTAIN it would appear Wilde is not that knee on the job as writing to his sister. Do not like the cabin and have queer feeling about the ship.
Now Jim with yours years of experience of a seaman and raising through the ranks of Officers the ultimate prise must be to become a Captain? I am thinking on the lines why H Wilde doesn't really want the job! We know the coal strike is coming to end before Titanic set sail. Now If that is the case, isn't there a better chance for Wilde to take a captain role on one of the ships are laid up?
As for the delays in the builder of the Titanic which took over six months longer than Olympic did, and was never completed as to the standard of the Olympic as a completed ship. That is very much case of the ship builder H&W problems and NOT WSL. This has been brought up before I can see many problems lay in Belfast due to lack of skilled labour force and quite frankly William Perrie wild delivery date forecast predictions do not help matters to!
 

Jim Currie

Member
Apr 16, 2008
6,582
1,357
323
NewtonMearns, Glasgow, Scotland.
Captains retire and are replaced with a former Chief Officer. Only when there is a vacancy, will a Chief Officer be promoted to Captain. Captains may be as many as 30 years in the job so the waiting list grows. Junior captains become senior captains and the most senior, most capable one becomes Commodore. Ismay would have no part in promoting anyone to captain. Think about it...promoting a nice, mannered dim-wit to a position where he might cost the company money is a no-brainer. However, you must also remember the "Old boy" network that prevailed and still prevails in UK circles. Think about Lord and how, despite all the garbage that was written about him, he was snapped up by a wise owner.
 
Last edited:

Mark Baber

Moderator
Member
Jul 4, 2000
6,359
375
433
Captains retire and are replaced with a former Chief Officer.
In the case of White Star's North Atlantic service, a retiring commander would be succeeded by the next senior captain on that service. E.g., Smith would have been followed on Titanic by Capt. Haddock. A promoted Chief's first command would typically be on a freighter or a passenger ship on the Australia or New Zealand service.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Jim Currie

Member
Apr 16, 2008
6,582
1,357
323
NewtonMearns, Glasgow, Scotland.
In the case of White Star's North Atlantic service, a retiring commander would be succeeded by the next senior captain on that service. E.g., Smith would have been followed on Titanic by Capt. Haddock. A promoted Chief's first command would typically be on a freighter or a passenger ship on the Australia or New Zealand service.
Only if that senior captain was up to the job...length of service was not the only criteria.
 

Seumas

Member
Mar 25, 2019
720
401
108
Glasgow, Scotland
In the case of White Star's North Atlantic service, a retiring commander would be succeeded by the next senior captain on that service. E.g., Smith would have been followed on Titanic by Capt. Haddock. A promoted Chief's first command would typically be on a freighter or a passenger ship on the Australia or New Zealand service.
According to Dan Parkes who is in touch with the descendants of Henry Wilde, that was exactly what the WSL had informed Henry Wilde prior to his appointment as chief aboard the Titanic. He would do the first few initial voyages aboard the latter, hand over to William Murdoch as chief and then take command of a "Jubilee class" vessel.

He had even ordered a brand new captain's cap in the weeks prior to the sinking in anticipation of his new command.

After the crushing family tragedies he had suffered in 1910 and 1911, things had just begun to look up for Wilde.

According to Wilde's RNR file, the RN captains he served under during his placement in the fleet were full of glowing praise for Wilde's performance with the regulars. One can see easily why Smith wanted Wilde with him aboard the Titanic.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Nov 14, 2005
2,241
1,133
308
Only if that senior captain was up to the job...length of service was not the only criteria.
How were captains paid? I mean was it time in grade, size/type of ship, the route they ran? Some other factor? And one other question if you don't mind. Did they have any say in the commands they had? As in "no I'd rather stay on the New Zealand routes" Or was it just "my way or the highway"?
 

Mike Spooner

Member
Sep 21, 2017
1,041
207
138
According to Dan Parkes who is in touch with the descendants of Henry Wilde, that was exactly what the WSL had informed Henry Wilde prior to his appointment as chief aboard the Titanic. He would do the first few initial voyages aboard the latter, hand over to William Murdoch as chief and then take command of a "Jubilee class" vessel.

He had even ordered a brand new captain's cap in the weeks prior to the sinking in anticipation of his new command.

After the crushing family tragedies he had suffered in 1910 and 1911, things had just begun to look up for Wilde.

According to Wilde's RNR file, the RN captains he served under during his placement in the fleet were full of glowing praise for Wilde's performance with the regulars. One can see easily why Smith wanted Wilde with him aboard the Titanic.
One can see easily why Smith wanted Wilde with him aboard the Titanic.
I think it a bit hash to say one can easily why wanted Wilde. As I am sure if the other senior Officers who where offered the job in the first place and never given the chance to prove them self. Must of left a bit of bad feeling on the bridge between the Officers. I think its more of the case Smith picked Wilde was more for personality reason.
Now IF Smith was found to be replaced at Southampton how do you think he would feel?
 

Seumas

Member
Mar 25, 2019
720
401
108
Glasgow, Scotland
One can see easily why Smith wanted Wilde with him aboard the Titanic.
I think it a bit hash to say one can easily why wanted Wilde. As I am sure if the other senior Officers who where offered the job in the first place and never given the chance to prove them self. Must of left a bit of bad feeling on the bridge between the Officers. I think its more of the case Smith picked Wilde was more for personality reason.
Now IF Smith was found to be replaced at Southampton how do you think he would feel?
No, it is easy to see.

Wilde was one of the best officers WSL had, highly rated by the RNR, had experience with he Olympic and was trusted by Smith. It makes perfect sense that he was picked.

Where is your evidence that there was ill feeling among the officers ? Let me help you there. There was none.

As I've said before Wilde's appointment was only temporary was only going to do the first few voyages of the Titanic and then be off to command his own WSL ship. After a month or two Murdoch and Wilde would be restored as chief and first respectively.

Murdoch and Lightoller were not children and there is no evidence that they sulked about their temporary demotion. In fact a line in Lightoller's memoirs imply he had a lot of respect for Wilde.

Oh and it's time you stopped saying "I think..." all the time, it's ignorant and not proof of an argument.
 

Mark Baber

Moderator
Member
Jul 4, 2000
6,359
375
433
Moderator's note:

A number of messages that strayed from the subject and became personalized have been removed.

Stay on subject, folks, and stay away from the personal commentaries.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Jim Currie

Member
Apr 16, 2008
6,582
1,357
323
NewtonMearns, Glasgow, Scotland.
How were captains paid? I mean was it time in grade, size/type of ship, the route they ran? Some other factor? And one other question if you don't mind. Did they have any say in the commands they had? As in "no I'd rather stay on the New Zealand routes" Or was it just "my way or the highway"?
Captains (and other ranks) were paid in the same way as they are today. Some Companies paid better than others. One thing that most married officers vied for was a regular run ...i.e. a "liner" with a small "L". Lines were not all of titanic proportions nor did they all carry passengers. Once a captain was established on a run and was doing a good job, making the Company money, said Compay was reluctant to move him. However, captains died, retired, or left at short notice so had to be replaced. This meant that any Company captain who was ashore on leave would be called to fill in the vacancy
 
Nov 14, 2005
2,241
1,133
308
Captains (and other ranks) were paid in the same way as they are today. Some Companies paid better than others. One thing that most married officers vied for was a regular run ...i.e. a "liner" with a small "L". Lines were not all of titanic proportions nor did they all carry passengers. Once a captain was established on a run and was doing a good job, making the Company money, said Compay was reluctant to move him. However, captains died, retired, or left at short notice so had to be replaced. This meant that any Company captain who was ashore on leave would be called to fill in the vacancy
Ok. Thanks for the info. I was wondering if they got to negotiate a contract or if was simply this is what we offering. Was curious because my dad told me when he was on the Liberty ships that the crew were union merchant marines. He said it worked out good for the gun crews because they ate the same food which was a lot better than the fleet. But I'm guessing the officers were considered management. Again Thanks for the info.