Encyclopedia Titanica

Teddy Smith Hero: Boyhood recollections of the Titanic's captain

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A Genial Schoolfellow

"Teddy Smith has gone down with his ship, and out of the six of us lads who used to be schoolmates together only one is now left - myself."

From every corner of England, Mrs. Smith, the widow of the gallant captain of the Titanic who went so bravely to his death in the icy waste of the North Atlantic, has received letters of sympathy and support in her time of trial.

He was known to thousands who have crossed the Atlantic in vessels under his command - millionaires and princes of commerce, ambassadors and leaders of life in a hundred directions. But of his boyhood friends few remain to mourn his loss, and of those is Mr. William Jones, of Edmund Street, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent.

Ted Smith was a Hanley boy, and in the words of Mr. Jones, he was a "a genial and good schoolfellow; one always ready to give a kind of helping hand in any way to his mates."

Something like 48 years ago he was a scholar at Etruria, the school which the great and good Wedgwood, the potter of world-wide fame, established and maintained in Staffordshire.

"My memory," say Mr. Jones, "brings back many happy days spent with him at school, and also many happy hors before and after school-time. There were six of us in those days - six firm friends who stuck together, and Smith was the staunchest of us all. I remember how Vincent Simpson used to call on me first, and how we would call for Johnny Leonard. Then the three of us would knock at Ted Smith's door, and having collected the other we would run down Mill-Street and Etruria Road to school.
Always ready to help

"Four died peaceful deaths - I was at the bedside of three of them when they passed away. Ted Smith passed away just as he would have loved to do. To stand on the bridge of his vessel and go down with her was characteristic of all his actions when we were boys together. he was a brave soul as a boy.

He was always ready to help and give of his best. I have not seen him for some years; the last time was when he was on a visit here to his brother-in-law. He was then captain of the Majestic, and had been, I think he said, only two or three voyages with her. He was the same fine healthy spirit as in his schooldays.

I cannot express my contempt for those who so cowardly reported that he committed suicide before the Titanic sank. Ted Smith commit suicide in the face of danger? His whole life as I know it, and especially when he and I were boys together, gives the lie direct to such a report. I think if any man had dared to predict face to face with Ted Smith that if at any time he should be faced with such an emergency as that with which he met his death and had suggested that he would take his life that man would be minus a few teeth before the words were well out of his mouth."

One of Mr. Jone's most treasured possessions is a faded photograph of the group of the six lads who went daily to Etruria school, in which the bright, determined face of the boy who was to be the leading figure in the world's greatest maritime disaster stands out conspicuously.

Related Biographies

Edward John Smith


Brian J. Ticehurst, UK


Encyclopedia Titanica (2003) Teddy Smith Hero: Boyhood recollections of the Titanic's captain (Daily Sketch, Thursday 25th April 1912, ref: #2069, published 15 December 2003, generated 4th December 2021 02:25:31 AM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/teddy-smith-hero-boyhood-recollections-titanics-captain.html