Mr John Downing "Jack" Smillie (Saloon Steward, 1st Class) was born in Glasgow, Scotland around 1883 but little is known about his background or family life.
He worked as a boots steward aboard several crossings on Empress of Britain of the Canadian Pacific Line, being shown working aboard that ship on several crossings out of Liverpool in 1907 when he gave his local address as 36 Molyneux Road, Liverpool. He was shown on the 1911 census residing as a boarder at 16 Malmesbury Road, Freemantle, Southampton and he was described as an unmarried ship's steward; also residing at that address was another future Titanic steward, George Evans.
Smillie was on board the Titanic for her delivery trip from Belfast to Southampton and when he signed-on again in Southampton, on 4 April 1912, he gave his address as 16 Malmesbury Road, Southampton. He had previously served aboard Olympic and as a first class saloon steward he received monthly wages of £3, 15s.
Smillie died in the sinking and his body was later recovered by the Mackay-Bennett (#91) and buried at sea on 23 April 1912.
In 2012 a number of his personal items were put up for auction, including letters and a group family portrait, with an image of Jack inset.
NO. 91. - MALE. - ESTIMATED AGE, 25. - HAIR, DARK.
CLOTHING - Steward's white coat; uniform vest; blue pants; black boots.
TATTOO - On right arm; a woman.
EFFECTS - Postcard in pocket to J. Smillie.
References and SourcesAgreement and Account of Crew (PRO London, BT100/259)
Particulars of Engagement (Belfast), Ulster Folk and Transport Museum (TRANS 2A/45 381)
White Star Line (1912.) Record of Bodies and Effects (Passengers and Crew S.S. "Titanic") Recovered by Cable Steamer "MacKay Bennett"