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Are there any reports of other accidents or incidents concerning Captain Smith before he commanded the Titanic?

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Hi,

Yes, he did actually.

  • 27 January 1889: Approaching New York on her final White Star sailing, Republic I ran aground off Sandy Hook and was refloated five hours later. After she docked a 9 foot (2.74 m) length of 38 inch (0.97m) boiler flue exploded, scalding ten crew members, three of them fatally. Republic's captain, Edward J. Smith, reported that damage to the ship was slight. (Sources: The New-York Times, 28 January 1889; Eaton & Haas' Falling Star.) - Read more...
  • 7 August 1901: The second of two fires in a linen closet on Majestic I forced breakfasting saloon passengers (including John D. Rockefeller, Jr.) to flee to the promenade deck until the smoke cleared. No injuries were reported, nor was there any serious damage done to the ship. Smith was Majestic's commander at the time. (Source: The New York Times, 8 August 1901.) 
  • 4 November 1909: Arriving at New York with 881 passengers on board, Adriatic II went aground at 3:20 a.m. on a sand bank at the entrance to the Ambrose Channel. She was freed, undamaged, at 8:10 a.m. due to the combined effect of a rising tide and the discharge of water ballast. Adriatic's commander was Capt. Edward J. Smith. (Sources: New York Herald, 5 November 1909; The Evening Post (New York), 4 November 1909.) 
  • 20 September 1911, Olympic's collision with HMS Hawke, in which the warship lost her prow. Although the collision left two of Olympic's compartments filled and one of her propeller shafts twisted, she was able to limp back to Southampton. At the resultant inquiry, the Royal Navy blamed Olympic, finding that her massive size generated a suction that pulled Hawke into her side. Captain Smith had been on the bridge during the events. The Hawke incident was a financial disaster for White Star, and the out-of-service time for the big liner made matters worse. Olympic returned to Belfast and, to speed up the repairs, Harland and Wolff was forced to delay Titanic's completion, in order to use one of her propeller shafts and other parts for Olympic. Back at sea in February 1912, Olympic lost a propeller blade and once again returned to her builder for emergency repairs. To get her back to service immediately, Harland and Wolff again had to pull resources from Titanic, delaying her maiden voyage from 20 March to 10 April.

I hope this helps.

Best Regards

~ Brian


See A Captain's Career by John P. Eaton

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