Who Was the Captain of the Titanic?
Who Was Titanic's Captain? Did He Go Down with the Ship?
Captain Edward John Smith, 62, was Master of RMS Titanic. He was not only highly respected within the maritime community, but admired by passengers who had sailed with him.
Yes, like in the movie, the real life Capt. E.J. Smith went down with his ship. He was a true captain.
Though we don't know for sure where he was at the last, we do know that he did NOT enter a lifeboat, but perished in one of the great sea tragedies of all time.
Yes, Captain Smith, Master of Titanic, went down with his ship, in the honored tradition of the heroic sea captain. How much more heroic was he than the Captain of Costa Concordia, the ship that recently went down?
See what you think after reading a little about Captain Smith.
Page created 01/30/2012.
Captain Edward John Smith, Master of the Titanic
What a sea captain this man was! This man was Edward John Smith, born Jan. 27, 1850.
He was White Star Line's best. Each time a newer and bigger White Star ship was launched, Smith was given command.
He had been the master of the biggest and finest ships of the era, among them Majestic, Baltic, Adriatic, and Titanic's sister ship, the famous RMS Olympic**. Finally, he was tapped to command the new RMS Titanic.
Passengers loved this man, and clammored to cross the Atlantic on ships under his command. No, he was not just any sea captain.
**If you're interested, you can read about the fascinating careers of Titanic's sisters.
Titanic Captain: The Life of Edward John Smith - Available in Paperback and for your Kindle
Have you read this book about the Captain of the Titanic?
The remarkable career - and life - of this remarkable seaman ended in the cold waters of the North Atlantic with the sinking of the Titanic.
If you'd like to find out more about the life of the man who routinely took hundreds of lives in his hands as he took them to sea, and died like a man with hundreds of others the fateful night of April 14, 1912, this book will interest you.
Rather than the romanticized glimpses we get of Smith in the movies, this book is based on "original research drawing on the ship's logs, crew lists, newspapers, and first-hand accounts."
ALSO AVAILABLE FOR KINDLE
Did you know?
Did you know the name of Titanic's Captian before now?
Commander Edward John Smith, RD, RNR
What the letters after Capt. Smith's name stood for
RD stands for Reserve Decoration.
The Reserve Decoration was awarded between 1908 and 1999 to officers with at least 15 years service in the Royal Naval Reserve.
RNR stands for Royal Naval Reserve.
Captain was a Full Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Reserve, and as he had been a commander in the reserve during time of war, a ship under his command was allowed to wear or fly the Blue Ensign.
Smith commanded for the Royal Naval Reserve on the MAJESTIC. For his service as commander of the Majestic, which was requisitioned as a troop transport in 1899 during the Boer War, Smith was awarded the Transport Medal by King Edward VII.
Other Books About Titanic
Leaving Queensland, Ireland (modern day Cobh)
Last Land Ever Seen by Over 1500 on Titanic
This photo, taken by a friend, is of his last view of land - as his ship left Cobh, Ireland, to begin a Transatlantic Crossing.
This, or a similar view, would also have been the last land ever seen by Captain Smith and some 1500 others. Titanic, too, stopped last at Cobh, then known as Queensland, before beginning the crossing.
(Estimates vary, but most put the tragic count at between 1500 and 1518)
Captain Smith Never Entered a Lifeboat
But where was he?
Captain Smith never made it into a lifeboat. Only about 1/3 of those aboard ever did.
But, where was the Titanic's Captain at the end?
Several survivors claimed to have seen him moments before the end. Their stories don't really agree, but here are the supposed final sightings of the beloved master of the great ocean liner:
1 - Standing on the bridge, in near waist deep freezing water
2 - In the radio room
3 - Swimming away after having dived off the sinking ship
4 - Placing a child on one of the overturned collapasable lifeboats
Of course, we may never know his last act or where it took place, but we do know this beloved captain came to an honorable end that night.
(The photo here was taken by a passenger on RMS Carpathia, the rescue ship.)
Titanic: The Complete Story - 3 DVD Set from The History Channel
From the History Channel - the story of the world's most famous ocen liner, from before her first voyage began, through dives to present day dives to the shipwreck.
Thre volume DVD set
The Captain of Costa Concordia - vs. The Captain of Titanic
On January 13, 2012, the Costa Concordia cruise ship ran aground and partially sank off the Island of Giglio.
Captain Francesco Schettino called the kitchen and ordered dinner AFTER hitting the rocks that penetrated the hull. He was in a lifeboat himself by 11:30 pm, while many passengers in peril were still onboard. Passengers were still being evacuated well after 3:00 am. Though Italian Authorities had ordered him back on board to oversee evacuations, he never returned to the ship.
He now faces charges of manslaughter and abandoning a ship under his command with passengers still in danger. (A serious maritime offense)
The actions of Francesco Schettino, Captain of Costa Concordia, stand in stark contrast to those of Captain Edward J. Smith, Captain of Titanic.
What do you think of the actions of Captain Schettino on the night of January 13, 2012?
He was cowardly, and those who say he is today the "most hated man in Italy" are right to feel that way.
Inscription at the Capt. Smith Memorial Statue
A statue of Captain Smith was erected in 1914 in Beacon park. Here is the text of the inscription on it.
Commander Edward John Smith, RD, RNR.
Born January 27 1850, Died April 15 1912,
Bequeathing to his countrymen
the memory and example of a great heart,
a brave life and a heroic death.
What do you think?
Do you think the captain of Titanic thought about saving himself or not?
Kids are Curious about Titanic, Too! - Books about Titanic for Kids
More Children's Books on Titanic
- Books About Titanic for Kids - New Releases
Over a century afterwards, the sinking of Titanic still fascinates us. And that includes kids. Kids will read about what fascinates them. For many kids, Titanic is one of those things.
Captain Smith left behind
a wife and a
- Capt. Rostron of the RMS Carpathia to the Rescue
Read about Captain Arthur Henry Rostron, of the RMS Carpathia, who rushed to the rescue of the Titanic survivors, as they floated helplessly in lifeboats.
Please Take a Minute
Though it's been over a century since the tragic sinking of the R.M.S. Titanic, people are still intrigued by the ship, its demise, and the man who took her to sea. What do you think about Capt. Smith?
Please take a minute to leave your thoughts about the Captain of the Titanic.
(Or just to say hello)