Talk:Edward Smith (sea captain)

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—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:55, 10 April 2010 (UTC) "Had Smith survived, he would have commanded the Gigantic (Titanic's second sister ship) in two years on its maiden voyage."
What is the source for this, I had always found that the Smith was going to retire after the Titanic. MechBrowman 16:10, Jun 10, 2005 (UTC)

I agree with MechBrowman. Smith was going to retire after Titanics maiden voyage to spend more time with his wife and teenaged daughter. Gigantic, later named Britannic, was commanded by Captain Charles Barcklett (Not to sure on the spelling of 'Barklett').
Of course Britannic was commanded by another captain (as Captain Smith perished in the Titanic disaster), but that he planned to retire is nothing but a myth. It was stated as late as April 9th 1912 that Captain Smith would be in charge of the Titanic until White Star Line had completed "[a] larger and finer steamer". --SincereGuy 12:21, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
I have found a couple of modern sources that refer to quotes that Smith made that he was going to retire. While there is uncertainty (there may have even been uncertainty in his mind...or he may have been telling the press one thing, and his wife another!), I think it is inaccurate to call it a myth, so I've revised the text slightly. Akradecki 16:57, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
And what were their sources? Just because a myth is widespread doesn't make it true.--SincereGuy 19:50, 25 July 2006 (UTC)
Is there any way we can get some more sources on this man?--Bobthebuilder89 06:35, 24 September 2007 (UTC)
Sure...go to your local library and start doing research! AKRadeckiSpeaketh 15:05, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

Improper link?[edit]

After Smith's name, there is a link to the ambigious page RD. However, that page doesn't appear to include this meaning of RD. It seems like it should be un-linked or that page updated with the proper meaning. Adduce 16:09, 2 March 2007 (UTC) On closer inspection, it occurs later in the article. I'll make the update. Adduce 16:14, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for pointing this out. Even though it does explain it later, you're correct, the link should go to the right place, not a DAB page. I've fixed it now. Akradecki 03:37, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

The link to "biographical information on Edward Smith" does not work. (talk) 10:54, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for pointing that out. The linked article can be found on, but the same content is also at so I've replaced the link with one to that site. Charivari (talk) 23:19, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

Date of death?[edit]

It says that his date of death is April 15, but the Titanic sank on April 14. Shouldn't his date of death be April 14? [[User:SPARTEN II|SPARTEN II] 06:07, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

The Titanic struck the iceberg on 14 April at around 11:40 PM and did not sink till around 2:20 AM on 15 April 1912 so Captain Smith's date of death would be 15 April 1912.Sundrops55 03:33, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:Titanic Smith.jpg[edit]

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BetacommandBot (talk) 02:46, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

yacan1:no really if you READ it, it says that he died around 2:00 Am after midnight that night,and that means it would be the 15 when the boat started to sink on the 14th. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Yacan1 (talkcontribs) 18:29, 15 March 2008 (UTC)


Someones gotta change this "The Discovery of the Titanic, he claims that Captain Smith went into the bridge to await his fate at 2:13AM, three minutes before the final sinking"

I have read that book many times and now where in it does it say that. Besides, saying the time Smith apparently did that as 2:13 am is rediculas as the entire bow section of the ship had broken away before 2:13 am and I feel pretty confident that when it did, IT TOOK THE BRIDGE WITH IT.

That sentence not only is false but sounds completely obserd. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:11, 16 March 2008 (UTC)


Although commonly referred to as White Star's Commodore, Smith never held that title, which went unused from 1887, when Hamilton Perry was sacked, until 1922, when it was resurrected for Sir Bertram Hayes when Majestic II entered service. In addition, in the Merchant Marine, a commodore had no authority over other commanders and they did not report to him; all commanders, including the Commodore, reported to the marine superintendents at their various ports. Mab819c (talk) 07:11, 9 November 2011 (UTC)


There are some strange edits on this page. In the 'Hawke Incident' section someone has added 'He was awesome.' and under his picture someone has added 'Notes BEQUEATHING TO HIS COUNTRYMEN THE MEMORY & EXAMPLE OF A GREAT HEART A BRAVE LIFE AND A HEROIC DEATH ۞ (¯`·._.¤ BE BRITISH ¤._.·´¯) ۞' I don't want to edit it because I'm not a regular but I hope someone else will get around to it. -- (talk) 01:38, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

These have been fixed, see here and here. Nobody would have criticised you for removing the first one, because it was a nonconstructive addition. --Redrose64 (talk) 15:10, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
And the second one is a pack of lies. Very far from reality! (talk) 03:38, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

I didn't bother changing anything in the article, but have a lot of problems with it, mostly that it reads very pro-Smith, when I have read that his record wasn't particularly good. And his being a "millionaire's captain," the statement that many people only sailed on ships he commanded -- that doesn't do much for me. Suggests he's better with table conversation than the actual running of a ship.

More, there are two or three references to maiden voyages Smith commanded having been "without incident," as if somehow that's the exception rather than the rule. And, we are told, he made two trips to South Africa "both without incident." Wow. Applause, applause. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:901:203:BBBA:6017:F784:9F67:FC85 (talk) 01:57, 28 February 2016 (UTC)

Details of Smith's actions[edit]

It seems that Smith was simply trying to do his best that night. In fact, he was extremely busy during the entire evacuation. Here are several accounts of his actions. I have tried to put them in chronological order.

Extended content:  detailed chronology   (informative, but unsigned & unsourced)

Charles Mackay: He saw the Captain walking down the staircase.

James Johnson: He saw the Captain and Thomas Andrews going down to the engine room.

Paul Mauge: He said the Captain was down in the engine room.

Charles Stengel: He saw the Captain walking up the staircase. "He had a very serious and a very grave face. I then said to my wife, "This is a very serious matter, I believe."

August Weikman: "I met the Captain returning from G-deck who had been there with Mr. Andrews"

Harold Bride: "He told us that we had better get assistance" "He came into the cabin at frequent intervals" "He asked Mr. Phillips what other ships he was in communication with" "He worked out the difference between the Carpathia's position and ours" "The Captain kept in communication with us; we either went to him or he came to us."

Quartermaster Olliver: Captain Smith gave him a hand written message and he delivered it to the chief engineer.

4th Officer Boxhall: "I said, “Is it really serious?” He said, “Mr. Andrews tells me he gives her from an hour to an hour and a half.”

Helen Bishop: She saw Col. Astor talking to the Captain on the Grand Stair Case. "The Captain told him something in an undertone." She said Col. Astor then walked towards her and a group of women and told them to put on their life belts. She said a few minutes later the Captain told everyone to put on their life belts.

Robert Hichens: "I heard the Captain say “Get all the boats out and serve out the belts.”

Samuel Hemming: "I had an order come from the Captain to see that the boats were properly provided with lights."

2nd Officer Lightoller: "I asked him: "Shall I put the women and children in the boats?" The Captain replied, "Yes, and lower away."

3rd officer Pitman: "I went to the bridge and asked him if I should fill No.5 boat with women and get her away." Q - What did he tell you? A - "Carry on," or words to that effect.

John Poingdestre: "I heard the Captain pass the remark, "Start putting the women and children in the boats."

Charles Hendrickson: He heard the Captain instructing his officers to put the women and children into the lifeboats.

Robert Hichens: "I heard the Captain say, “Women and children first,” and the officer repeated the words from the Captain."

4th Officer Boxhall: He saw the Captain supervising the lifeboats as they were being lowered.

Frank Evans: Frank said "He came to the starboard action boat that I was lowering, sir. He passed some remark to a tall military gentleman there with white spats on, but what it was I could not say."

Paul Mauge: He saw the Captain encouraging the ladies to get into the lifeboats and telling them "It is all right".

Hugh Woolner: He saw the Captain enouraging passengers into the lifeboats. "He said "Come along, madam," and that sort of thing."

Thomas Jones: "The Captain asked me was the plug in the boat, and I answered, "Yes, sir." "All right," he said, "Any more ladies?" The Captain shouted again - in fact, twice again - "Any more ladies?"

Hugh Woolner: "I made one remark to him. He said: "I want all the passengers to go down on A-deck, because I intend they shall go into the boats from A-deck." I remembered noticing as I came up that all those glass windows were raised to the very top; and I went up to the Captain and saluted him and said: "Haven't you forgotten, sir, that all those glass windows are closed?" He said: "By God, you are right. Call those people back." Very few people had moved, but the few that had gone down the companionway came up again, and everything went on all right."

Major Peuchen: "The Captain said, "You had better go down below and break a window and get in through a window, into the boat." I said I did not think it was feasible, and I said I could get in the boat if I could get hold of a rope. He was doing everything in his power to get women in these boats, and to see that they were lowered properly."

4th Officer Boxhall: He saw the Captain using his binoculars and watching the ship nearby. The Captain told him to use the morse lamp and say "Come at once, we are sinking." and also to fire the distress rockets.

Mahala D Douglas: "The Captain said "I want a megaphone." Just before we got into the boat the Captain called, "How many of the crew are in that boat? Get out of there, every man of you."

2nd Officer Lightoller: Lightoller heard the Captain ordering the lifeboats to return to the ship with a megaphone. "I heard the commander two or three times hail through the megaphone to bring the boats alongside, and I presumed he was alluding to the gangway doors, giving orders to the boats to go to the gangway doors."

4th Officer Boxhall: The Captain told Boxhall to get into the lifeboat. After they rowed away he heard the Captain shouting through a megaphone and ordering the boats to come back.

Thomas Jones: "He told me to row for the light, and land the passengers and return to the ship."

James Johnson: As he was leaving the ship he said "The Captain told the officer to pull for that light and come back again."

Alfred Crawford: He saw the Captain helping the crew lower lifeboat No. 8. "Captain Smith and the steward lowered the forward falls of the boat I was in." "The Captain, he came there; he came there and lowered the forward falls, he assisted in doing so." "Captain Smith came to the boat and asked how many men were in the boat. There were two sailors. He told me to get into the boat." "He gave us instructions to pull to a light that he saw and then land the ladies and return back to the ship again." "Captain Smith could see the light quite plain, as he pointed in the direction that we were to make for." "He pointed in the direction of the two lights, and said: “Pull for that vessel; land your people and return to the ship.” Those were Captain Smith’s words."

Walter Wynn: He was told to get into a lifeboat by the Captain

George Rowe: He was told to get into a lifeboat by the Captain

William Burke: "The Captain gave the order to the sailors that were working with me to go aft and assist about the last boat which I thought was going to be launched on that side."

Harold Bride: "He came along in a very short period afterwards and told us we had better look out for ourselves."

Edward Brown: He saw the Captain approach with a megaphone in his hand. He heard him say "Well boys, do your best for the women and children, and look out for yourselves.” He saw the Captain walk onto the bridge alone.

Samuel Hemming: Samuel described a strong list to port 15 minutes before the ship went down. He said the Captain yelled out "Everyone over to the starboard side, to keep the ship up as long as possible." (Lightoller also heard this)

Charles Lightoller: He saw the captain on deck a few minutes later without the megaphone. As the ship went down, Smith carried out a final tour of the deck before heading towards the bridge only a few minutes before it and the rest of the ship's forward superstructure were engulfed by the sea. This was the last reliable sighting of Smith.

Death of Smith[edit]

Now, and for the last time. Somebody keeps modifying the section about Smith's fate when the Titanic sank. This or these people, in the effort to make 'official' the cinematographic image of Smith locking himself in the bridge and going down to the ship, kept repeating like parrots the account by Robert William Daniels of seeing Smith locking himself in the bridge and dying there, while they kept cancelling all the more reliable evidence from other survivors - including the enquiry testimony of the second radio officer Harold Bride, not one of the thousands of far-fetched newspaper accounts given by passengers like Daniels - that Smith may instead have jumped into the sea just before the bridge was submerged, and possibly even nearly reached collapsible B (notice: I say possibly, and indeed I wrote in the article that Smith's fate will remain uncertain, while these people states their theories as facts). They deem all these account, including an inquiry testimony, as "apocryphal", while the only certainly apocryphal accounts are those of Smith carrying a child to collapsible B, not merely reaching it before to die. And if we want to remain in theme of apocryphal accounts, let's talk about the account by Daniels, to which they desperately cling: it is not even certain that Daniels was really still aboard when the ship sank, and IF he was, he was in the extreme stern (newspaper account by the fireman Thomas Patrick Dillon, which is also the only source that placed Daniels aboard - many Titanic historians are instead convinced that he was already in a lifeboat by this time, see, and there is no way he could have reached the extreme stern if he was near the bridge when it began to flood, because from that moment to the moment the Titanic sank only five minutes or so passed, and there is no way he could have walked up the slanting deck for al the length of the ship. Moreover, all the survivor accounts (see enquiry testimonies! are unanimous in saying that the fore end of the boat deck, where the bridge was, was submerged in a very quick and violent manner, like a "tidal wave" had struck it: it had not flooded slowly like Daniels said. One more unjustified modify to that section and I will notify them for vandalism. Excuse me for being so rude but this has been repeated for nearly a year and without those people ever making a justification or asking anything, just erasing everything goes against what they state. --Olonia (talk) 12:36, 18 October 2013 (UTC)

Sounds like you're the one with wishful thinking? It'd be almost laughable to see a report for vandalism with sources still classified as REPUTABLE being reinserted as vandalism. Who is using the films or suchlike as foundation for referenced (quality) edits on here? Or are you loosely hearkening to films as a justification for your desperate reverts? I literally winced at the irony of your words "One more unjustified modify to that section and I will notify them for vandalism." It is ironic looking, back far enough through the history of this article how sentiments dictate over facts as we know them? Why does the term "wishful thinking over reputable polices" spring to mind? I suggest you review policies before you laughably make feeble threats. I'll leave this to concise editors to contemplate.

Harold Bride's testimony is not exactly reliable, wouldn't you agree? For example, he NEVER mentioned Smith jumping into the sea during his interview with a reporter! He even alleges that the ship's band played “Autumn” (possibly indicating “Songe d’automne”) rather than the popularly accepted “Nearer My God To Thee”. He is the only survivor who recalls “Autumn” and most Titanic historians feel evidence is weighed in “Nearer”s favour, since 1/ most survivors recall it, 2/ Bride was probably underneath collapsible B at the time, 3/ “Songe” is difficult to play without music and 4/ Wallace Hartley, the bandleader, said “Nearer” would be the way he wanted to go and that it was one of his favourite hymns/ I think the testimony of passengers on the ship (& by extension on the lifeboats too as a descriptive general pattern of sound) stating the band was playing “Nearer”. The sources - unlike your sentiments - are reputable. Where were you when this article stated Captain Smith had jumped overboard and Bride may have been correct. There are words in previous versions stating: "Tim Maltin, author of 101 Things You Thought You Knew About The Titanic - But Didn't! affirms that the witnesses "could here be mistaking Captain Smith for Lightoller, who we know did exactly this at this time, first swimming towards the crow's nest.". You could be described as being the bulldozing vandal here. Why not find sources (outside your personal bias and emotion) to disprove these referenced additions? Report us all if you wish, then explain how among other things, you are not violating WP:OWN on this page with your reverts too, other than blunt retrospective talk page messages. Unless another editor challenges you in the meantime, should you have 7 days to blend these sources out and provide clear referenced justifications for your reverts before I revert your edits? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:23, 17 January 2017 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 4 February 2014[edit]

In the last paragraph of the 'RMS Titanic' section, please change:
1996 TV miniseries   -to-   [[Titanic (1996 TV miniseries)|1996 TV miniseries]] (talk) 01:01, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

Done thanks, NiciVampireHeart 12:21, 4 February 2014 (UTC)


Since the article states that he was promoted to 'Commander', shouldn't the honorific prefix in the infobox be changed (from Captain to Commander)?  Possibly with the link: [[Commander (Royal Navy)|Commander]]  — Near the bottom of the article there is the text from a plaque where he is name begins with the honorific Commander, as well as the town hall tablet:  This tablet is dedicated to the memory of Commander [sic] Edward John Smith... — but this includes the "[sic]". This "error" (if it is) needs to be clarified somewhere in the article. ~: (talk) 04:15, 13 March 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 13 March 2014[edit]

At the end of 2nd paragraph of Bigger commands sub-section, please add {{cn|date=March 2014}} following: ... promotion to Commander.
See previous discussion for explanation. (talk) 17:06, 13 March 2014 (UTC)

Done{{U|Technical 13}} (tec) 17:25, 13 March 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 21 May 2014[edit]

The year of death for the wife of Captain Smith should not be 1912, per this wikipedia article. Below, in the family section, it states that Sarah Eleanor Smith was hit and killed by a taxi in London in 1931, so her year of death was not 1912, but 1931. (talk) 06:04, 21 May 2014 (UTC)

Red information icon with gradient background.svg Not done: 1887-1912 are the years of marriage, cf. Template:Infobox person, not birth year and death year of Sarah Eleanor. Sam Sailor Sing 08:23, 21 May 2014 (UTC)

Daniel Allen Butler on Smith's fate[edit]

I have added in the words of Daniel Allen Butler from his website saying that the shutters on the wheelhouse window would be closed at night for help with the bridge officers' night vision, and so that could explains why Hemming did not see Smith when he went in the bridge. I have also corrected the name of the book which makes the claim that Bride may have mistaken Smith for Lightoller. I added in the claims that Captain Smith was the officer who allegedly committed suicide.

Also, I removed the Captain Smith biography because it comes from a old unfinished website that make make 'official' the cinematographic image of Smith locking himself in the bridge and going down to the ship.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:17, 11 November 2014 (UTC)

You do need to cite your source for the Daniel Allen Butler quote, but clearly the automatic process was mistaken in regarding your edit as "vandalism". I've made a report and reverted the article back to your version. If anyone else changes it, it will be a human editor. By the way if you wish to continue editing, as I hope you will, you may do well to open an account: anonymous edits are regarded as more likely to be malicious - this is not always fair but it's the result of long experience: Noyster (talk), 09:57, 12 November 2014 (UTC)

Smith's actions[edit]

I am deleting the following;

"Captain Smith, aware that there were not enough lifeboats for all of the passengers and crew, appeared to have become emotionally paralyzed by indecision as he began to realize the enormity of what was about to happen. He did not issue a general call for evacuation, failed to order his officers to load the lifeboats, failed to supervise and coordinate the evacuation effort, did not adequately organize the crew, withheld crucial information from his officers and crewmen, and gave sometimes ambiguous and impractical orders; in one example in an hour after the collision, Fourth Officer Joseph Boxhall was still unaware that the ship would sink."

This is just one of those often repeated myths accepted as hearsay; the truth is that Smith was quite active from all eyewitness accounts in overseeing the loading and launching of the boats. There is no evidence he suffered a breakdown or became paralyzed by indecision. The truth is that Captain Smith was extremely busy during the whole evacuation. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) — Preceding undated comment added 16:20, 4 December 2014 (UTC)

I wouldn't blame you, the same text is in the general Titanic sinking article, along with other questionable stuff that I think was simply seen on the 1997 'Titanic' movie. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Gomez2002 (talkcontribs) 15:57, 27 May 2015 (UTC)

I just noticed that that article (great job, btw, it certainly deserves its star) contradicts the one covering captain Edward Smith. The "Sinking of the RMS Titanic" describes Smith's actions as indecisive and it claims that he displayed a lack of crew management skills in the aftermath of Titanic hitting the iceberg, but his biographical article on Wikipedia states the exact opposite - that he performed his duties in an admirable fashion given the extraordinarily difficult circumstances and never lost his cool. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:28, 20 February 2017 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 18 March 2016[edit]

additional Portrayal in the music video "Down amoung the dead men" (1978) by Flash in the Pan ( Rkirman (talk) 07:00, 18 March 2016 (UTC)

Red question icon with gradient background.svg Not done: it's not clear what changes you want to be made. Please mention the specific changes in a "change X to Y" format. —Skyllfully (talk | contribs) 19:21, 20 March 2016 (UTC)

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Death section[edit]

Somebody needs to clean up the final paragraph of the death section. The central part in bold, dismissing the idea he could ever have uttered "Be British" on account of being a sophisticated man who Americans and Canadians (Canadians, the original writer presumably was unaware, were of course part of the British Empire!) enjoyed the company of, is just throwing a particular political opinion (from recent decades) onto something from the past (and of course, completely unsourced speculation):

>> Newspaper reports said that as the final plunge began, Smith advised those on board to "Be British boys, be British!" Although this is engraved on his memorial and portrayed in the 1996 TV miniseries, it was just a myth popularised by the British press at the time; Smith was an experienced transatlantic captain and a cosmopolitan, sophisticated man. Had he been prone to this type of jingoistic statement, he certainly wouldn't have been so popular with the prominent Americans and Canadians who preferred to travel on ships he captained and to dine with him while on board. If he said these words to anyone, it would have been to the crew, but not one of the surviving crew members claimed he said this. Since Steward Brown's account of Smith giving orders before walking onto the bridge was the last reliable sighting, this would make Smith's last words simply "Well boys, do your best for the women and children, and look out for yourselves.” >>

To say that because he was an experienced captain and a sophisticated man he could not have been motivated by the ideals of the British civilisation at the time is utterly absurd. There is no source given - as of couse none could exist, it's just an opinion from today. What would one have said about Churchill for example - so much of how he spoke sounds alien today? Stirring appeals to Britain etc were not at all uncommon at the time. To give an example, Churchill had the following to say about lifeboat crews: "The Lifeboat drives on with a courage which is stronger than the storm. It drives on with a mercy which does not quail in the presence of death. It drives on as a proof, a symbol, a testimony that man is created in the image of God and that valour and virtue have not perished in the British race." Would that mean Churchill wasn't a sophisticated man with international experience? Of course not.

It seems to me that it should simply read (just by removing the political opinion):

>>Newspaper reports said that as the final plunge began, Smith advised those on board to "Be British boys, be British!" Although this is engraved on his memorial and portrayed in the 1996 TV miniseries, it was just a myth popularised by the British press at the time. If he said these words to anyone, it would have been to the crew, but not one of the surviving crew members claimed he said this. Since Steward Brown's account of Smith giving orders before walking onto the bridge was the last reliable sighting, this would make Smith's last words simply "Well boys, do your best for the women and children, and look out for yourselves.”>>

This would return the paragraph to encyclopaedic standards. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:10, 11 April 2017 (UTC)

Just a fact.[edit]

He was the same. Captain of the Olympic when she had her crash, which caused the delay of the Titanic launch TitanictheNewEvidence (talk) 19:52, 6 June 2017 (UTC)

Add this[edit]

I think we should add this to the page.... Any objections or queries?