Photos of Wilde


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ruth rose

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Photo of back view of an officer/the captain walking away solitarily on open sided deck. Frequently we read that this is "probably Cpt Smith ".
This tall and well-built officer looks much younger and decidedly sad....does anyone else feel this is a photo of the widowed Chief Wilde ?
 

Inger Sheil

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Feb 9, 1999
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Hallo Rose!

I've moved your post to a thread of its own.

The Father Browne photo you're referring to has indeed often, and probably erroneously, been referred to as Captain Smith. Browne did not make this identification, and given the timing of when the photo was taken it is unlikely to to be him. I suspect that it probably wasn't any of the Titanic's officers. I seem to recall that Butt was suggested as a candidate.

Great to see you posting here! Welcome aboard - looking forward to your insights on Wilde in particular.
 
Mar 28, 2002
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Nice to hear from you at last, Rose! Look forward to seeing you possibly in the future, maybe BTS?

By the way, I like the sound of the lamplit Turkish Tea Garden and the Stargazing roof on your website.

Cheers,

Boz
 
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ruth rose

Guest
Hello Inger..thanks !!
Please explain why you feel it is unlikely to be an officer ? Remembering that Chief Wilde was at the bows of Titanic when she struck, it is possible he went walkabout after the strains of the Watch.
Just my hunch...and I am sticking to it still !!

Hi there Boz....I have recently been to Southampton on the trail and hope to be there in April for BTS wake. Please do come...you and anyone else out there and enjoy the oddities of my B&B...astronomy and herb-massage also unique sea-salt bodyscrub.
 
Dec 31, 2003
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If a photograph existed of Captain Smith leaving his home for the last time, identification of the house might prove almost as difficult as identification of the lady clearly visible in the doorway. The presence of a waiting taxi would strike many of us as somehow unlikely. And the rather dapper 'sharp-dresser' in the bowler hat. Surely, that couldn't be him! Could it? With the real photograph being considered here, it would hardly amount to a dereliction of his duties for him to have appeared (for whatever reason and perhaps rather briefly) on deck. We may know of the need for him to have been elsewhere just a few minutes ago, and to return there again soon. Meanwhile, perhaps, he is pressing on ahead of us here.
 
Jun 4, 2000
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Ruth Rose, and why do you think it Wilde? Quid pro quo.
happy.gif
 

Dan Cherry

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Dec 14, 1999
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I had suggested it was Butt, because the photo Browne took before this one showed Butt at the port-side forward portion of A-deck, behind Jack Odell, and he was wearing the same type of coat and hat as the 'mystery' person walking aft on A-deck...
 

Inger Sheil

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Here's how Browne himself captioned the photo in question:

quote:

The Lower Promenade Deck. 187 yds long./In the distance is the R.M.S.P. "Tagus", about to / follow the western channel / by the "Needles", while the / "Titanic" swing to enter the / Eastern Channel by Cowes / & Portsmouth.
Browne tended to point out people of interest in his photos - for example, he captioned his photograph of Captain Smith seen looking down from the bridge wing cabin as 'The last glimpse of Capt Smith - Seen from the Tender.'

I see no reason for the identification of Smith as the figure in this photograph beyond wishful thinking on the part of those who would like this somewhat wistful, evocative photograph to be the image of the doomed Captain walking in solitude on a lonely expanse of promenade deck.

Given that the ship was not yet in open water and a pilot was on board, I think it would be exceptional for the Captain to be strolling in solitude along the promenade deck at that particular time. In the absence of any information as to why such an exceptional event would or did occur, let alone any actual reason to give us an i.d. for the figure as Smith beyond the fact he is wearing a long coat and cap (as, indeed, is Major Butt in a photo on the same page), I'd consider it very unlikely.

Dan provides at least something to hang a possible i.d. on - the man photographed from behind is in similar attire to a photo that could well have been taken both in close chronological as well as physical proximity to the promenade deck photo.

There were many duties to be attended to on sailing day, and soon Wilde would be on his 2 - 6 watch. I feel that the odds are against Browne randomly happening to catch an officer taking a shortcut through a passenger area - it's possible, I suppose, but Browne makes no mention (even in a generic way - 'ship's officer' or some such mention in his caption) of the figure as being a senior member of the deck crew. It seems far more likely to me that what was captured on film was a passenger rugged up against the weather and taking a walk - after all, there were a good deal more of them then there were deck officers on the ship! The headgear is not clear enough to identify a peak cap - glancing through Browne's photos, there are many images of men in flat caps that would answer equally well to the silloutte image in the photo.

I would very much like it to be an image of one of the Titanic's officers, as the image has a unquestionable haunting resonance. Inevitably, as with so many other unidentified figures in these photographs, we wonder what became of the man. However, I see no evidence to believe that it was any of the deck officers.​
 
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Bishop John Maximovitch

Guest
I never thought of Butt, but yes, that might be him.

What fascinates me are all the unanswered, and likley ultimately unanswerable questions regarding TITANIC and those who sailed on her.
 
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ruth rose

Guest
I am intrigued to read Fr Browne's caption and the excellent detective work by Inger and Dan Cherry - looking at the sequence of photos. It seems most likely to be Butt I do now agree.
In answer to the question posed...I wanted to remove the caption " Probably Cpt Smith " which so often accompanies this haunting photo...sometimes intuition can help fill in the facts...and the man in question I intuited as a younger man but powerful..certainly this would fit Major Butt. I still think he is in uniform. ( As a theatre person I like to think I have a feel for character )
I am researching Chief Wilde. Inger agrees that the group photo of officers always cited as the Titanic's is in fact of the Olympic and the Chief is not Wilde but Evans who was Chief for Olympic's maiden voyage. So many books and even the Science Museum website are continuing this disinformation. Well, at least we can put the right face on H.T Wilde's FRONT view !
 

Inger Sheil

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Feb 9, 1999
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quote:

I am researching Chief Wilde. Inger agrees that the group photo of officers always cited as the Titanic's is in fact of the Olympic and the Chief is not Wilde but Evans who was Chief for Olympic's maiden voyage. So many books and even the Science Museum website are continuing this disinformation. Well, at least we can put the right face on H.T Wilde's FRONT view !

Absolutely, Rose! It's a good illustration of how fast'n'loose some sources play their image identification. I have more information now on Evans' life, including a few interesting career highlights and at least one 'new' photo of the Olympic's first chief officer. I'm hoping to publish this data in some form or another over the next few months, and chip away a bit more at the erroneous i.d. of Evans as Wilde. Evans was also an interesting man in his own right, and - although it has been implied or even outright suggested in some sources that his career achievements were somehow second-rate - there is evidence to suggest that he was one of the more successful officers in the WSL.

I'm glad to see someone with a fresh approach to Wilde tackling the subject - as we've discussed before, I feel that there are great breakthroughs to be made in researching this remarkable man's life, and I'm very enthusiastic at the prospect of you doing just that.​
 
Dec 31, 2003
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It was important, I felt, to draw attention to the figure itself: by first ignoring the fact that whoever it might be is far from the bridge sometime during a crucial period. Therefor, the point becomes important that we would expect Captain Smith and his Officers to have their hats 'dressed' white. Unless due to the high-contrast from photographing 'into-the-light', the cap worn by this figure appears plain. That said, such may have been often the case. The figure cannot, I consider, be Major Butt. Their figures, caps and coats are quite different. Though we can discern something of 7 other figures in the photograph with Butt, its principal subject is the sailor. [Whose possible identity might be suggested in future] We can only just notice one other person near our mystery figure; who is also its principal subject. Facing pages: 'sailor' and 'X'.
 

Inger Sheil

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Feb 9, 1999
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quote:

The figure cannot, I consider, be Major Butt. Their figures, caps and coats are quite different.
Do you think? Comparing the two images, I think we lack the detail in the rear view mystery figure to state that with certainty. Such is the resolution (or lack of it) in this sillouetted figure that I wouldn't want to state it positively. I had thought that the coat looked slightly less voluminous and a fraction shorter on the unidentified figure, but as the man is in motion in the 'Lower Promenade Deck' captioned photo it is difficult to achieve a decent comparison. That being said, I feel that the strongest argument against it being Butt is the lack of an identification in the caption, given that Butt is identified elsewhere on the same page. As I suggested above, there were many men wearing coats and flat caps photographed in Browne's work, and there's little reason to believe that the man captured in this photo is one of the 'names' of the voyage. The odds are it was a lower-profile passenger who happened to be in the right place to make a rather good photo.

Monica and Bob, you're talking about the right man. There were a few photos taken on the Olympic's maiden voyage with a moustached (and older) chief officer is present, and - regardless of the fact that he bears no resemblance to Wilde - he has been identified as the man who would one day be Titanic's chief officer. Joseph Evans completed one voyage as the Olympic's chief officer, and was transferred as chief to the Oceanic.​
 
Jun 11, 2000
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Inger and Bob - thanks. It puzzled me because I had always thought Mr. Wilde rather attractive - but I'm afraid Mr. Evans doesn't do it at all for me. Frivolous, but there we are. Re the other photo in this thread, Butt or who? I can't get Bob's link to work, but even so, I doubt it I could add much to the discussion.
 

Bob Godfrey

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You're right, Monica, the link no longer works. But a solution is at hand - turn to page 303 in Titanic and her Sisters for the image in question.
 
Jun 11, 2000
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It doesn't really look like a civilian flat cap. There is a distinct headband gripping the hair, but the WSL caps were quite small, weren't they? And this one isn't. Any Salvation Army men aboard?
 

Bob Godfrey

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I agree that the the 'lid' of the cap (for want of a better term! - where are you, Randy?) looks too wide for an officer's cap. But the ordinary flat caps worn by male passengers on deck came in greater variety of shape than the compact modern type - on the very next page of Browne's album there is an example which fits the bill (in the foreground of the pilot boat photo). Also, on a spring day in sheltered waters I think an overcoat would be more suited to the needs of an elderly passenger taking a leisurely stroll than a hardy British tar going about his business. Finally, taking as a datum the height above deck level of the bottom of those pipes (about 8 feet) I don't get the impression that this man is exceptionally tall, as were the candidates so far considered.
 

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