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RMS Titanic - Captain Smith
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Captain Edward John Smith was born in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent on 27 January 1850 to parents Edward Smith, a potter, and Catherine Hancock, Smith attended the Etruria British School until the age of 13 when he went to Liverpool to begin a seafaring career. Smith joined the White Star Line in March 1880 as the Fourth Officer of the Celtic.
he was married on 12 July 1887,to Sarah Eleanor Pennington, Smith received his first White Star command, the SS Republic the same year, In 1888, Smith earned his Extra Master's Certificate and joined the Royal Naval Reserve qualifying as a full Lieutenant, This meant that in a time of war, Smith and his ship could be called upon to serve by the Royal Navy.
As he rose in seniority, Smith gained a reputation amongst passengers and crew for quiet flamboyance. Eventually Smith became the commodore of White Star Line, Some passengers would only sail the Atlantic in a ship commanded by him.
He became known as the "Millionaires' Captain" due to the fact that England's upper class were usually the ones who requested he be in command of the ships they sailed on.In 1904, he was given command of the largest ships in the world at the time, White Star's new Baltic After three years with the Baltic, Smith was given his second new "big ship," the Adriatic. Smith had built a reputation as one of the world's most experienced sea captains, and so was called upon to take first command of the lead ship in a new class of ocean liners, the Olympic — the largest vessel in the world at that time.
The maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York was successfully concluded on 21 June 1911, but as the ship was docking in New York harbour, it experienced a small incident involving a tug a few months later On 20 September 1911 Olympics’ first major mishap occurred during a collision with a British warship, HMS Hawke, Although the collision left two of Olympics’ compartments filled and one of her propeller shafts twisted, she was able to limp back to Southampton. To get her back to service immediately, Harland & Wolff had to pull resources from Titanic, delaying her maiden voyage from 20 March to 10 April. Despite the past trouble, Smith was again appointed the command of the greatest steamship the RMS Titanic, On 10 April 1912, Smith, wearing a bowler hat and a long overcoat, took a taxi from his home to Southampton docks. He came aboard the Titanic at 7 AM, After departure at 12:00 PM, the huge amount of water displaced by Titanic as she passed caused the laid-up New York to break from her moorings and swing towards the Titanic. Quick action from Smith helped to avert a premature end to the maiden voyage. At 11:40 PM, on 14 April the Titanic struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic, It is not known how Smith died on the night of the sinking, some claim Smith went to the bridge at 2:13 AM, ten minutes before the final sinking, Junior Marconi Officer Harold Bride reported seeing Smith dive into the sea from the open bridge minutes before the final plunge began, Titanic struck the iceberg at around 11:40 PM, but did not sink until around 2:20 AM the following day. This would make Captain Smith's date of death 15 April 1912.
Captain Smith Memorial Beacon Park, Lichfield, England
places to explore on this Deck
Crows Nest Warning: After lookouts Frederick Fleet and Reginald lee Sounded the alarm, officers on the bridge had only 37 seconds to respond before titanic struck the iceberg.
Lifeboat Drill: For reasons Unknown captain Smith cancelled the scheduled lifeboat drill due to take place on April 14, 1912
Titanic Dogs: From the nine on board Two dogs a Pekinese and a Pomeranian managed to make it into lifeboats and survived the disaster.
Smokestacks: One of titanics smokestacks was cosmetic as designers thought the ship would look more impressive with four funnels, however it did have a purpose as it provided ventilation to the turbine engine room and the reciprocating engine room.
Ripples in time: The sinking of the titanic probably changed the course of history, the loss of the world’s largest, most advanced ship deemed unsinkable not only brought about recommendations to the ship building codes, but unlike today communication in 1912 was difficult, there was no internet or mobile phones, for most of the population mail was the most common form of long distant communication, Titanic was effectively a floating post office when she sank seven million individual items of mail were lost and did not make it to their destination, this gives us food for thought as we will never know what was in all those letters.