Mr 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.


Articles and Stories

New York Times (1946) 
The World Evening Edition (New York) (1913) 
New York Times (1912) 
Western People (1912) 
New York Times (1911) 
New-York Tribune (1910) 
The Sun (New York) (1910) 
New York Times (1903) 

Comment and discuss

Leave a comment


Mark Baber, USA

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
Search archive British newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2013) Herbert James Haddock (ref: #2246, last updated: 13th September 2013, accessed 6th August 2020 16:33:45 PM)