Encyclopedia Titanica

Herbert James Haddock

Herbert James Haddock
Herbert James Haddock

Captain Herbert James Haddock was, in fact, the first Captain of the Titanic. He commanded her in Belfast before her delivery to the White Star Line.

He then took command of the Olympic from Captain Edward John Smith on April 1 1912. He was at sea in that vessel when the Titanic went down. Captain Haddock testified to the American inquiry and later also attended the British Board of Trade inquiry.

Shortly after the Olympic arrived back in England and was refitted with additional lifeboats Haddock was confronted by a strike by some of his crewmen. The men refused to sail on the Olympic owing to inadequate life saving facilities. Non-union firemen were brought into fill the gap but this led to a mutiny by seamen, 53 men were arrested and the case eventually went to trial in Portsmouth.

The White Star Line nearly suffered another disaster seven weeks after the Titanic went down when Haddock, though faulty navigation, narrowly avoided running the Olympic onto rocks near Lands End. For the next few voyages he was closely monitored by a White Star Line official.

Haddock was in command of the Olympic during her failed effort to rescue HMS Audacious in October 1914. Olympic was then laid up prior to conversion to a troopship, and the Admiralty placed Haddock in charge of a dummy fleet of merchant ships, stationed at Belfast. According to Mills' HMHS Britannic: The Last Titan, Harold Sanderson tried to have Haddock re-assigned in 1915, to command the Britannic when she entered service as a hospital ship, but could not succeed in convincing the Admiralty to release Haddock from his Belfast duties.

Haddock is thought not to have rejoined White Star after the war. His wife died in 1935 and Herbert himself passed away on 4 October 1946 and was buried at St Mary Extra Cemetery, Southampton.  Two of their four children survived him.

References and Sources

The New York Times, 6 October 1946, Obituary
United States Senate Hearings, 25 May 1912, Testimony
United States Senate (62nd Congress), Subcommittee Hearings of the Committee on Commerce, Titanic Disaster, Washington 1912
Simon Mills HMHS Britannic: The Last Titan

Newspaper Articles

New York Times (21 February 1903) LINER CEDRIC IN PORT
New-York Tribune (2 December 1910) GET GIANTS OF THE SEA
(2 December 1910) SKIPPERS OF NEW GIANTS
New York Times (6 June 1911) Change in Commodores
Capt. Haddock to Head White Star Line at Increased Pay
New York Times (22 April 1912) TO HOLD ISMAY TO THE END
Smith is determined that the Director-Manager of the White Star Line shall be held in this country until the investigation is closed
New York Times (6 October 1946) CAPT. HADDOCK DEAD, OLYMPIC EX-MASTER
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Titanic Crew Summary

Name: Mr Herbert James Haddock
Age: 51 years 2 months and 19 days (Male)
Nationality: English
Marital Status: Married to Mabel Eliza Bouchette
Occupation: Master
Last Ship: Oceanic
Embarked: Belfast
Disembarked: Belfast
Buried: St Mary Extra Cemetery, Southampton, Hampshire, England

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