Was Capt Smith lost in a daze during the sinking?

Captain Smith was a respected senior Captain with a lot of experience, but he was also a human being. So, the realization that his ship - the largest and the most luxurious one at the time - was terminally damaged and sinking would have been a shock, even if the maiden voyage was not planned to be his last like we were told by some early sources. There would also be the realization that no matter how well he and his crew worked, they would not have been able to save over a thousand of the people on board simply because there was no lifeboat space for all.

But being shocked did NOT mean that he was dazed or ineffective; in fact, I think he made all the right moves after the impact, even though we can perhaps question some of his decisions before that. The trouble was the aforementioned size of the Titanic; with a ship that huge, it was physically not possible for Captain Smith - or any other Master - to be everywhere at the same time or be seen and heard by most eventual survivors. Given the circumstances Smith had to work with his officers while maintaining overall control, which is what he did.

Most survivors from the port forward lifeboats would probably have seen Captain Smith during the sinking, including occupants of Lifeboat #4. Considering the maneuvers that boat went through before being loaded and lowered with corresponding confusion among the eventual occupants, some of them might have gotten the wrong impression that Smith was ineffective. I am not claiming that majority of his critics came from Lifeboat #4, but together with Lifeboat #6 - another port forward boat - the on board survivors perhaps carried a lot of collective "vocal clout" when it came to statements afterwards. From such things, subsequent enthusiasts and even some researchers can form opinions which might not necessarily be fair.
I think you got it right. I'm sure that he was probably taken aback by the situation initially. That's understandable. Maybe not so much in this thread but in others some have tried to make it out that Captain Smith was not a capable officer. I don't buy it. Could things have been done better that night? Sure. But we've had 111 years to figure some things out. They had minutes. If you poke around the link below, it covers his experience at sea pretty well. Anyone interested click on the tab-response to the disaster. Cheers.
 
Probably, but that is not what is being discussed in this thread. It is about whether Boxhall or any other crew member said later anything that suggested that Captain Smith was ineffectively going around in a daze during the sinking. I have not come across anything like that.

But some of Lightoller's statements during his testimony might have created that impression to some, or more likely, conspiracy lovers over the years "deduced" that the Captain was ineffective even though they knew otherwise. For example:

Senator SMITH.
You asked the captain on the boat deck whether the lifeboats should take the women and children first, if I understand you correctly?


Mr. LIGHTOLLER.
Not quite, sir; I asked him: "Shall I put the women and children in the boats?" The captain replied, "Yes, and lower away."

Senator SMITH.
What did you then do?


Mr. LIGHTOLLER.
I carried out his orders.


And a bit later on the same day:

Senator SMITH.
Did you see the captain after that final order with reference to the women and children?


Mr. LIGHTOLLER.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Where?

Mr. LIGHTOLLER.
Walking across the bridge, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Did you have any further communication with him?

Mr. LIGHTOLLER.
No, sir; none.

Senator SMITH.
So far as you know, was that the last place that he was seen?

Mr. LIGHTOLLER.
I could not say, sir.

Senator SMITH.
You don't know what occurred to the captain after that?


Mr. LIGHTOLLER.
No, sir.


The thing about tetsimony statements like those above is that they are precise and very matter-of-fact, perhaps too much so for a reporter's liking. Readers would have liked something more punchy even if it was a distortion of the truth and so they deliberately interpreted that such statements had hidden meanings that were never there. It would have taken just one of them to ask in his paper "Was Captain Smith dazed with disbelief during his ship's sinking?" and it woud have been misinterpreted, distorted, magnified etc into something that over time would be accepted by many as "fact".
That is the upsetting thing because it isn't a conspiracy minded person that started this myth, it was Don Lynch, a very well respected historian and Cameron's chief adviser on the movie.
 
So why did Don Lynch advocate this theory?
There are a lot of things that Lynch "advocated" despite knowing by then they were untrue or at least misunderstood. For example, despite knowing full well that Trevor Allison's nurse Alice Catherine Cleaver was not the same young woman as Alice Mary Cleaver, the one who was accused of murdering her child, he pushed the notion through in his book. AFAIK, he never even expressed an apology to her family when the facts were pointed out to him.

Lynch's portrayal of Murdoch is his book is completely wrong IMO; he suggests that Murdoch put the Engine Telegraph to full astern (an opinion that is now not accepted) and actually contributed to the collision.

IMO, a "respected historian" requires both diligent research to unearth facts but also an attempt at a fair and logical interpretation of those facts. His book is written in a style that had the broader reader rather than the genuine Titanic aficionado in mind. THAT is why I prefer books like OASOG or various works by the likes of Sam Halpern, Paul Lee and George Behe.
 
So Don was lying/bamboozling people the entire time? I feel betrayed. That's very upsetting that he slandered Alice Cleaver and never apologized. The very inaccurate 1996 CBS miniseries "Titanic" based an entire storyline on that B/S about Alice Cleaver from Lynch. James Cameron also took Don's crap about Captain Smith being weak and dazed and based Bernard Hill's character on it. The man literally makes stuff up and no one calls him on it. Has Don ever posted on this forum? I wish he would at least take responsibility for his numerous lies and shoddy research. Glad to know others feel the same way, I was hesitant to call him out b/c he is a supposed legend in the Titanic community. There is another supposed legend turned Cameron sycophant that also spews a lot of b/s as well but I will not say his name as he is still popular amongst many and I don't wish to get banned.
 
Boxhall started that myth about "full astern" but he wasn't even on the bridge. I have read that he was walking toward the bridge and allegedly heard that. Hitchens never said those were the orders. Even Ken Marschall said in "Titanic: Death of a Dream" that full astern was an order and that Murdoch made a mistake by issuing it. Marschall also stated that if Murdoch would have not said full astern and just ordered the wheel hard over that it is "assured that they would have missed that berg" Exact quote from the documentary. Yet like you said Arun there never was a reverse engines order but legit historians ran with this false narrative for years.
 
So Don was lying/bamboozling people the entire time?
That depends upon your point of view; while I would not use the word 'lying', "bamboozling" would be closer to the truth IMO. With passing years I have had less and less regard for the man, as well as his book. There IS some useful information in it, mostly with photographs and diagrams, but it is not even close to something like OASOG in terms of quality.

And yes, it is despicable that Don Lynch neither corrected his error publicly nor apologized to the Cleaver family. But then some people are like that.
 
So why did Don Lynch advocate this theory?

First, we all make mistakes.
Second, in the context of the movie, a LOT of what you saw there was the legend that Cameron had to make to sell the film. If he had made it as true as possible to the actual history, the people who's financial backing he needed would have pulled the plug. They came very close to doing just that.
 
In the context of the movie, a LOT of what you saw there was the legend that Cameron had to make to sell the film.
That I agree with completely. Cameron would have known that a lot of the script and characters were fictional but was compelled to make the film that way.

If he had made it as true as possible to the actual history, the people who's financial backing he needed would have pulled the plug. They came very close to doing just that.
While I also agree that it might have been the case, I have never been able to understand why. It is not as though successful semi-documentary films of factual events with limited artistic license have not been made. Not everything in life is based on a "Boy meets Girl" story; very little is, in fact. IMO, the best example is from the two major films about the Peral Harbor attack; Tora! Tora!! Tora!!! used the semi-documentary approach and very limited artistic license and yet IMO was a great film compared with the more recent Pearl Harbor with its stupid romantic triangle. Likewise, despite the factual inaccuracies, poor special effects and a rather dull script, A Night To Remember had its heart in the right place and was a far better film than Cameron's Titanic. Why are people like Roger Egbert so negative about a plot driven script rather than a character driven one? If you think about it, in majority of the real-life situations that ordinary people like you and I find ourselves in, there is no major "protagonist" character standing out.

I am sorry that I got away from the main topic of this thread in responding to MHS. I did not mean to.
 
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As someone who works in the film industry I can say without a doubt that if Cameron had not used the Romeo & Juliet fictional love story narrative device, we would not be having a 25th-anniversary edition released this year! It would have quickly disappeared or even more likely, simply not been made. Incidentally, those who point to "A Night to Remember" (1958) forget that actually on release, while popular, it did not do very well financially, especially in the US. I remember reading somewhere that it never made a profit.

Returning to the subject at hand, I recently had a discussion with Don Lynch who to my surprise still stands by his claim that Smith was "inactive." When I challenged him to supply supporting evidence he only pointed to Lightoller's account of asking Smith for a loading/lowering order - and Walter Lord's retelling of this. In reviewing both accounts I find no evidence of how this proves he was "inactive." In fact, I believe it is the opposite - he was too busy elsewhere to be standing around watching and waiting to give the order.

There is also the very valid point raised by the late David Brown that actually Smith may have intentionally resisted the "abandon ship" order as a strategic move to avoid a general panic.
 
I recently had a discussion with Don Lynch who to my surprise still stands by his claim that Smith was "inactive."
I am not surprised. Mr Lynch seems to be more than a little reluctant to change his stance, even when evidence points in a different direction. Those who own the early editions of his Titanic: An Illustrated History will probably have noted that on p132 of the hardcover copy, Lynch claimed that Collapsibles A & B were "lashed upside down" on the roof of the Officers' Quarters; it was most likely an oversight error but when I mentioned it in a letter that wrote at the time, he dodged the question not very cleverly and did not acknowledge that it was a mistake.

Dan, I wonder if when you met Lynch you brought up the subject of his failure to publicly acknowledge or apologize for his error about Alice Cleaver. I would have been very interested to know his reaction.

There is also the very valid point raised by the late David Brown that actually Smith may have intentionally resisted the "abandon ship" order as a strategic move to avoid a general panic.
Yes, I agree that it is a valid point. The way I think, more often than not an order to abandon ship can only save lives where trained crew, especially the Navy, are involved. Even in a seemingly hopeless situation, their training and experience are likely to contribute to some effective outcome, even if it was far from ideal. But where passengers, including children and women are involved, an order to abandon ship could well generate panic and pandemonium. Moreover, specifically in case of the Titanic, to what end were they gong to abandon ship? They were 400 miles from any land and surrounded by an icy ocean and so their best chances would have been to find a place in a lifeboat even though there were not enough spaces for all concerned.

Also, although the Titanic was steadily sinking by the bow, it appeared relatively stable till it lost its longitudinal stability around 02:15am, triggering the final plunge. That probably was an important reason why problems till then were restricted to pockets of restlessness here and there, like around Lifeboat #14, Collapsible C etc. If Captain Smith had picked up his megaphone and issued an order to abandon ship prematurely, it could well have triggered outright panic. Such an order could have caused many, who in actuality did manage to find places in lifeboats and survive, to jump into the sea prematurely and eventually die due to exposure.
 
Dan, I wonder if when you met Lynch you brought up the subject of his failure to publicly acknowledge or apologize for his error about Alice Cleaver. I would have been very interested to know his reaction.
No, we have not discussed that. I'll be honest I am not familiar with that story. But I was surprised on a separate occasion he expressed his opinion that the Wallace Hartley violin is fake and when I challenged him to supply evidence to prove this, other than trying to pick holes in the evidence, he was unable to supply anything to support his claim - a shockingly similar tactic used by Titanic conspiracy theorists that I deal with on a daily basis!

I have always liked Don and especially his measured approach to research. But frustratingly I think he often hides behind his name/fame when asked for evidence to support some of his claims.
 
Regarding Capt. Smith, I feel that he was never out of it. I do feel that he was unprepared for the incident. That could lead some to feel he was out of it, but I feel that no one on any ship at that time would have been prepared for such a large ship to sink. The orders reported by more reliable sources shows a lack of full understanding of the capabilities of the equipment on the ship. So Capt Smith was never out of it.

I also feel that anytime any of the officers shared things besides what they actually saw that it can be called into question. i think their direct observations tend to be accurate but their opinions do not.
 
I am not familiar with that story.
It is simple really and although a bit digressional to the topic of the thread, I'll outline it quickly.

Alice Catherine Cleaver was a 22 year-old nursemaid from London who was one of the British staff hired by Hudson Allison, the Canadian millionaire with business interests in the UK. Despite her youth, Alice Cleaver was quite experienced in her line of work, having worked in the capacity of a nursemaid for rich families since her teens. As far as is now known, she had an absolutely clean record and presumably good references, things which the Allisons would have carefully checked because her main responsibility was to look after baby Trevor Allison, the family heir.

After the accident Alice warned the Allisons of the likely danger and took responsibility of Trevor, according to her account with the full knowledge of his parents. They got separated, IMO partly because Alice went down to the lower decks to warn her other colleagues. In any case, Alice and Trevor were saved on Lifeboat #11 along with Mildred Brown, the teenaged family cook and another of the British staff hired by Hudson Allison to travel to Canada with them. As you doubtless know, Hudson, his wife Bess and their 3 year-old daughter Loraine were lost in the sinking, as was George Swane, their British chauffeur.

The only other survivor from the party was 36 year-old Sarah Daniels, Bess Allison's maid; Daniels was also from London and there is evidence of some personal animosity between her and Alice Cleaver. There was friction between them on board the Carpathia but after reaching America, Sarah Daniels slowly faded into obscurity. But around the same time, the remaining family and relatives of the Allisons, who until then had hailed Alive Cleaver as a heroine for saving baby Trevor, turned against her and practically accused her of being responsible for the deaths of her employers. Rumours arose that Alice Cleaver had a shady past in the UK including killing her baby born out of wedlock and then getting off serious punishment because of mental illness and diminished responsibility. That story was tagged on to Alice Cleaver for decades thanks to yellow journalism and many Titanic works that published it without verification. I am not sure if Don Lynch had heard of the true story behind the rumour when he wrote the book, but he was certainly made aware of it several times afterwards.

The unfortunate truth was that there was an Alice Cleaver from London who was in her early 20s in 1912 and who was accused of killing her child but subsequently pardoned for the reasons mentioned above. But she was Alice Mary Cleaver, totally unrelated in any manner to the poor young nursemaid on board the Titanic other than the similarity in their names. I have read that among those who tried to make Don Lynch correct the error in his book were Alice Cleaver's descendants but their pleas seemingly have had no effect to date.........as far as I know.
 
I don't think smith was in a daze, because after the ship went down its said that he saved a baby or young child and brought it to a lifeboat. he had enough sense to save a child even though he couldn't save himself. if I'm honest if i was dazed I'd probably be more worried about my own life than anyone else's.
 
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