Edward Smith (sea captain)

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Edward John Smith

Edward J. Smith.jpg
Captain E. J. Smith
Born(1850-01-27)27 January 1850
Died15 April 1912(1912-04-15) (aged 62)
Cause of deathDrowned in the ship; body never recovered
Resting place 41°43′32″N49°56′49″W / 41.72556°N 49.94694°W / 41.72556; -49.94694
OccupationShip captain
Employer White Star Line
Known forCaptain of R.M.S. Titanic and R.M.S. Olympic
Sarah Eleanor Pennington(m. 1887)
ChildrenHelen Melville Smith
Parent(s)Edward Smith
Catherine Hancock (née Marsh)


CommanderRNR (Retired)

Captain – White Star Line

Honorific rank of commodore, as the White Star Line's most senior captain

Edward John Smith, RD (27 January 1850 – 15 April 1912) was a British naval officer. He served as master of numerous White Star Line vessels. He was the captain of the RMS Titanic, and perished when the ship sank on its maiden voyage.

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom, officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland but more commonly known as the UK or Britain, is a sovereign country lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state‍—‌the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

White Star Line British shipping company

The Oceanic Steam Navigation Company, more commonly known as the White Star Line, was a British shipping company. Founded out of the remains of a defunct packet company, it gradually rose up as one of the most prominent shipping lines in the world, providing passenger and cargo services between the British Empire and the United States. While many other shipping lines focused primarily on speed, White Star branded their services by focusing more on providing steady and comfortable passages, for both upper class travelers and immigrants. Today it is most famous for the innovative vessel Oceanic of 1870, and for the losses of some of their best passenger liners, including the wrecking of RMS Atlantic at Halifax in 1873, the sinking of RMS Republic off Nantucket in 1909, the infamous loss of RMS Titanic in 1912 and that of HMHS Britannic while serving as a hospital ship in 1916. Despite its casualties, the company retained a prominent hold on shipping markets around the globe before falling into decline during the Great Depression, which ultimately led to a merger with its chief rival, Cunard Line, which operated as Cunard-White Star Line until 1950. Cunard Line then operated as a separate entity until 2005 and is now part of Carnival Corporation & plc. As a lasting reminder of the White Star Line, modern Cunard ships use the term White Star Service to describe the level of customer care expected of the company.

RMS <i>Titanic</i> British transatlantic passenger liner, launched and foundered in 1912

RMS Titanic was a British passenger liner that sank in the North Atlantic Ocean in 1912, after colliding with an iceberg during her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City. Of the estimated 2,224 passengers and crew aboard, more than 1,500 died, making it one of modern history's deadliest commercial marine disasters during peacetime. RMS Titanic was the largest ship afloat at the time she entered service and was the second of three Olympic-class ocean liners operated by the White Star Line. She was built by the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast. Thomas Andrews, chief naval architect of the shipyard at the time, died in the disaster.


Raised in a working environment, he left school early to join the Merchant Navy and the Royal Naval Reserve. After earning his master's ticket, he entered the service of the White Star Line, a prestigious British company. He quickly rose through the ranks and graduated in 1887. His first command was the SS Celtic. He served as commanding officer of numerous White Star Line vessels, [1] including the Majestic (which he commanded for nine years) and attracted a strong and loyal following amongst passengers.

Royal Naval Reserve volunteer reserve force of the Royal Navy in the United Kingdom

The Royal Naval Reserve (RNR) is the volunteer reserve force of the Royal Navy in the United Kingdom. The present RNR was formed by merging the original Royal Naval Reserve, created in 1859, and the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR), created in 1903. The Royal Naval Reserve has seen action in World War I, World War II, the Iraq War and Afghanistan.

SS <i>Celtic</i> (1872) transatlantic liner

SS Celtic was an ocean liner built for the White Star Line by shipbuilders Harland and Wolff of Belfast.

In 1904, Smith became the commodore of the White Star Line, and was responsible for controlling its flagships. He successfully commanded the Baltic, Adriatic and the Olympic. In 1912, he was the captain of the maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic, which struck an iceberg and sank on 15 April 1912; over 1,500 perished in the sinking, including Smith, who went down with the ship. For his stoicism and fortitude in the face of adversity, Smith became an icon of British "stiff upper lip" spirit and discipline. [2]

RMS <i>Baltic</i> (1903) ocean liner of the White Star Line that sailed between 1904 and 1933

RMS Baltic was an ocean liner of the White Star Line that sailed between 1904 and 1933. At 23,876 gross tons, she was the world's largest ship until 1905. She was the third of a quartet of ships, all measuring over 20,000 gross tons, dubbed The Big Four.

RMS <i>Olympic</i> transatlantic ocean liner

RMS Olympic was a British transatlantic crossing ocean liner, the lead ship of the White Star Line's trio of Olympic-class liners. Unlike the other ships in the class, Olympic had a long career spanning 24 years from 1911 to 1935. This included service as a troopship during the First World War, which gained her the nickname "Old Reliable". She returned to civilian service after the war and served successfully as an ocean liner throughout the 1920s and into the first half of the 1930s, although increased competition, and the slump in trade during the Great Depression after 1930, made her operation increasingly unprofitable.

The maiden voyage of a ship, aircraft or other craft is the first journey made by the craft in its intended duty. A number of traditions and superstitions are associated with it.

Early life

Edward John Smith was born on 27 January 1850 on Well Street, Hanley, Staffordshire, England to Edward Smith, a potter, and Catherine Hancock, born Marsh, who married on 2 August 1841 in Shelton, Staffordshire. [3] His parents later owned a shop.

Hanley, Staffordshire town in Staffordshire, England, United Kingdom

Hanley, in Staffordshire, England, is a constituent town of Stoke-on-Trent. Hanley was incorporated as a municipal borough in 1857 and became a county borough with the passage of the Local Government Act 1888. In 1910, along with Burslem, Tunstall, Fenton, Longton and Stoke-upon-Trent it was federated into the county borough of Stoke-on-Trent. Hanley was the only one of the six towns to be a county borough before the merger; its status was transferred to the enlarged borough. In 1925, following the granting of city status, it became one of the six towns that constitute the City of Stoke-on-Trent.

Staffordshire County of England

Staffordshire is a landlocked county in the West Midlands of England. It borders with Cheshire to the northwest, Derbyshire and Leicestershire to the east, Warwickshire to the southeast, West Midlands and Worcestershire to the south, and Shropshire to the west.

Smith attended the Etruria British School until the age of 13, when he left and operated a steam hammer at the Etruria Forge. In 1867, aged 17 he went to Liverpool in the footsteps of his half-brother Joseph Hancock, a captain on a sailing ship. [4] He began his apprenticeship on Senator Weber, owned by A Gibson & Co. of Liverpool.

Etruria, Staffordshire village in United Kingdom

Etruria is a suburb of Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England.

Liverpool City and Metropolitan borough in England

Liverpool is a city in North West England, with an estimated population of 491,500 within the Liverpool City Council local authority in 2017. Its metropolitan area is the fifth-largest in the UK, with a population of 2.24 million in 2011. The local authority is Liverpool City Council, the most populous local government district in the metropolitan county of Merseyside and the largest in the Liverpool City Region.

Marriage and children

On 13 January 1887, Smith married Sarah Eleanor Pennington at St Oswald's Church, Winwick, Lancashire. Their daughter, Helen Melville Smith, was born in Waterloo, Liverpool on 2 April 1898. The family lived in a red brick, twin-gabled house, named "Woodhead", on Winn Road, Highfield, Southampton, Hampshire.

St Oswalds Church, Winwick Church in Cheshire, England

St Oswald's Church, is in the village of Winwick, Cheshire, England. The church is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade I listed building. It is an active Anglican parish church in the diocese of Liverpool, the archdeaconry of Warrington and the deanery of Winwick.

Winwick, Cheshire a village located in Warrington, United Kingdom

Winwick is a village and civil parish in Warrington, Cheshire, England. Located within the historic boundaries of Lancashire, it is situated about three miles north of Warrington town centre, near Junction 22 of the M6 and Junction 9 of the M62. Winwick also borders Newton-le-Willows and Burtonwood.

Waterloo, Merseyside area of the Metropolitan Borough of Sefton in Merseyside, England

Waterloo is an area of the Metropolitan Borough of Sefton, in Merseyside, England. Along with Seaforth the two localities make up the Sefton Ward of Church. The area is bordered by Crosby to the north, Seaforth to the south, the Rimrose Valley country park to the east, and to the west the Crosby Beach and Crosby Coastal Park.


Early commands

Edward Smith joined the White Star Line in March 1880 as the Fourth Officer of SS Celtic. He served aboard the company's liners to Australia and to New York City, where he quickly rose in status. In 1887, he received his first White Star command, the Republic. In 1888, Smith earned his Extra Master's Certificate and joined the Royal Naval Reserve, receiving a commission as a Lieutenant, which entitled him to add the letters "RNR" after his name. This meant that in a time of war he could be called upon to serve in the Royal Navy. Smith retired from the RNR in 1905 with the rank of Commander. His ship had the distinction of being able to fly the Blue Ensign of the RNR; British merchant vessels generally flew the Red Ensign.

Bigger commands

Smith was Majestic 's captain for nine years commencing in 1895. When the Boer War started in 1899, Majestic was called upon to transport troops to Cape Colony. Smith made two trips to South Africa, both without incident, and in 1903, for his service, King Edward VII awarded him the Transport Medal, showing the "South Africa" clasp. Smith was regarded as a "safe captain". As he rose in seniority, he gained a following amongst passengers with some only sailing the Atlantic on a ship he captained. [5] Smith even became known as the "Millionaires' Captain". [6] From 1904 on, Smith commanded the White Star Line's newest ships on their maiden voyages. In 1904, he was given command of what was then the largest ship in the world, the Baltic. Her maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York, sailing 29 June 1904, went without incident. After three years with Baltic, Smith was given his second new "big ship," the Adriatic. Once again, the maiden voyage went without incident. During his command of Adriatic, Smith received the long service Decoration for Officers of the Royal Naval Reserve (RD). [7]

Olympic class command

Edward J. Smith, on Olympic, in 1911 EJ Smith.jpg
Edward J. Smith, on Olympic, in 1911

As one of the world's most experienced sea captains, Smith was called upon to take first command of the lead ship in a new class of ocean liners, the Olympic – again, the largest vessel in the world at that time. The maiden voyage from Southampton to New York was successfully concluded on 21 June 1911, but as the ship was docking in New York harbour, a small incident took place. Docking at Pier 59 under the command of Captain Smith with the assistance of a harbour pilot, Olympic was being assisted by twelve tugs when one got caught in the backwash of Olympic, spun around, collided with the bigger ship, and for a moment was trapped under Olympic's stern, finally managing to work free and limp to the docks.

From left to right: First Officer William M Murdoch, Chief Officer Joseph Evans, Fourth Officer David Alexander and Captain Edward J. Smith, all as seen on the Olympic. William McMaster Murdoch in RMS Olympic.jpg
From left to right: First Officer William M Murdoch, Chief Officer Joseph Evans, Fourth Officer David Alexander and Captain Edward J. Smith, all as seen on the Olympic.

The Hawke incident

On 20 September 1911, Olympic's first major mishap occurred during a collision with a British warship, HMS Hawke, in which the warship lost her prow. Although the collision left two of Olympic's compartments filled and one of her propeller shafts twisted, she was able to limp back to Southampton. At the resultant inquiry, the Royal Navy blamed Olympic, [8] [9] finding that her massive size generated a suction that pulled Hawke into her side. [10] Captain Smith had been on the bridge during the events.

The Hawke incident was a financial disaster for White Star, and the out-of-service time for the big liner made matters worse. Olympic returned to Belfast and, to speed up the repairs, Harland and Wolff was forced to delay Titanic's completion in order to use one of her propeller shafts and other parts for Olympic. Back at sea in February 1912, Olympic lost a propeller blade and once again returned for emergency repairs. To get her back to service immediately, Harland and Wolff again had to pull resources from Titanic, delaying her maiden voyage from 20 March to 10 April.

RMS Titanic

Despite the past trouble, Smith was again appointed to command the newest ship in the Olympic class when the RMS Titanic left Southampton for her maiden voyage. Although some sources state that he had decided to retire after completing Titanic's maiden voyage, [11] an article in the Halifax Morning Chronicle on 9 April 1912 stated that Smith would remain in charge of Titanic "until the Company (White Star Line) completed a larger and finer steamer."

On 10 April 1912, Smith came aboard Titanic at 7 am to prepare for the Board of Trade muster at 8:00 am. He immediately went to his cabin to get the sailing report from Chief Officer Henry Wilde. After departure at noon, 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 Titanic. Quick action from Smith helped to avert a premature end to the maiden voyage.

Illustration of the sinking of the Titanic Titanic the sinking.jpg
Illustration of the sinking of the Titanic

The first four days of the voyage passed without incident, but on 14 April 1912, Titanic's radio operators [lower-alpha 1] received six messages from other ships warning of drifting ice, which passengers on Titanic had begun to notice during the afternoon.

Although the crew was thus aware of ice in the vicinity, they did not reduce the ship's speed, and continued to steam at 22 knots (41 km/h; 25 mph), only 2 knots (3.7 km/h; 2.3 mph) short of her maximum speed of 24 knots (44 km/h; 28 mph). [12] [lower-alpha 2] Titanic's high speed in waters where ice had been reported was later criticised as reckless, but it reflected standard maritime practice at the time. According to Fifth Officer Harold Lowe, the custom was "to go ahead and depend upon the lookouts in the crow's nest and the watch on the bridge to pick up the ice in time to avoid hitting it". [14]

The North Atlantic liners prioritised time-keeping above all other considerations, sticking rigidly to a schedule that would guarantee arrival at an advertised time. They were frequently driven at close to their full speed, treating hazard warnings as advisories rather than calls to action. It was widely believed that ice posed little risk; close calls were not uncommon, and even head-on collisions had not been disastrous. In 1907, SS Kronprinz Wilhelm, a German liner, had rammed an iceberg and suffered a crushed bow, but was still able to complete her voyage. That same year, Titanic's future captain, Edward Smith, declared in an interview that he could not "imagine any condition which would cause a ship to founder. Modern shipbuilding has gone beyond that." [15]

Shortly after 11:40 pm on 14 April, Smith was informed by First Officer William Murdoch that the ship had just collided with an iceberg. It was soon apparent that the ship was seriously damaged; designer Thomas Andrews reported that all of the first five of the ship's watertight compartments had been breached and that Titanic would sink in under two hours.

There are conflicting reports about Smith's actions during the evacuation. Some say that he did all in his power to prevent panic and did his best to assist in the evacuation; Major Arthur Godfrey Peuchen of the Royal Canadian Yacht Club said "He was doing everything in his power to get women in these boats, and to see that they were lowered properly. I thought he was doing his duty in regard to the lowering of the boats". [16] Robert Williams Daniel, a first class passenger, also said:

Captain Smith was the biggest hero I ever saw. He stood on the bridge and shouted through a megaphone, trying to make himself heard. [17]

Other sources say that that he was very ineffective and inactive in preventing loss of life. Captain Smith was an experienced seaman who had served for 40 years at sea, including 27 years in command. This was the first crisis of his career, and he would have known that even if all the boats were fully occupied, more than a thousand people would remain on the ship as she went down, with little or no chance of survival. [18] As Smith began to grasp the enormity of what was about to happen, he appears to have become paralysed by indecision. He had ordered passengers and crew to muster, but from that point onward, he failed to order his officers to put the passengers into the lifeboats; he did not adequately organise the crew; he failed to convey crucial information to his officers and crew; he sometimes gave ambiguous or impractical orders and he never gave the command to abandon ship. Even some of his bridge officers were unaware for some time after the collision that the ship was sinking; Fourth Officer Joseph Boxhall did not find out until 01:15, barely an hour before the ship went down, [19] while Quartermaster George Rowe was so unaware of the emergency that after the evacuation had started, he phoned the bridge from his watch station to ask why he had just seen a lifeboat go past. [20] Smith did not inform his officers that the ship did not have enough lifeboats to save everyone. He did not supervise the loading of the lifeboats and seemingly made no effort to find out if his orders were being followed. [19] [21]

Just minutes before the ship started its final plunge, Smith was still busy releasing Titanic's crew from their duties; he went to the Marconi operators room and released Junior Marconi Officer Harold Bride and senior wireless operator John "Jack" Phillips from their duties. He then carried out a final tour of the deck, telling crew members: "Now it's every man for himself." [22] At 2:10 a.m., Steward Edward Brown 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. [23] This was the last reliable sighting of Smith. A few minutes later Trimmer Samuel Hemming found the bridge apparently empty. [24] Five minutes later, the ship disappeared beneath the ocean. Smith perished that night along with around 1,500 others, and his body was never recovered.


There are conflicting accounts of Smith's death. Some survivors [25] [26] said they saw Smith enter the ship's wheelhouse on the bridge, and die there when it was engulfed. [27] The New York Herald in its 19 April 1912 edition quoted Robert Williams Daniel, who jumped from the stern immediately before the ship sank, in its 19 April 1912 edition as having claimed to have witnessed Captain Smith drown in the ship's wheelhouse. "I saw Captain Smith on the bridge. My eyes seemingly clung to him. The deck from which I had leapt was immersed. The water had risen slowly, and was now to the floor of the bridge. Then it was to Captain Smith's waist. I saw him no more. He died a hero." [28] Captain Smith himself made statements hinting that he would go down with his ship if he was ever confronted with a disaster. A friend of Smith's, Dr. Williams, asked Captain Smith what would happen if the Adriatic struck a concealed reef of ice and was badly damaged. "Some of us would go to the bottom with the ship," was Smith's reply. A boyhood friend, William Jones said, "Ted Smith passed away just as he would have loved to do. To stand on the bridge of his vessel and go down with her was characteristic of all his actions when we were boys together." [29] Because of these factors, as well as accounts of Smith going inside the wheelhouse, this has remained the iconic image of Smith, perpetuated by film portrayals.

When working to free Collapsible B, Junior Marconi Officer Harold Bride said he saw Captain Smith dive from the bridge into the sea just as Collapsible B was levered off the roof of the officers' quarters, [30] a story corroborated by first class passenger Mrs Eleanor Widener, who was in Lifeboat No.4 (the closest to the sinking ship) at the time. [31] Also second class passenger William John Mellors, who survived aboard collapsible B, stated that Smith jumped from the bridge. [32] 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." [33]

Several accounts say that Smith may have been seen in the water near the overturned Collapsible B during or after the sinking. Colonel Archibald Gracie reported that an unknown swimmer came near the capsized and overcrowded lifeboat, and that one of the men on board told him "Hold on to what you have, old boy. One more of you aboard would sink us all,"; in a powerful voice, the swimmer replied "All right boys. Good luck and God bless you.". [34] Gracie did not see this man, nor was able to identify him, but some other survivors later claimed to have recognised this man as Smith. [35] [36] Another man (or possibly the same) never asked to come aboard the boat, but instead cheered its occupants saying "Good boys! Good lads!" with "the voice of authority". [37] One of the Collapsible B survivors, fireman Walter Hurst, tried to reach him with an oar, but the rapidly rising swell carried the man away before he could reach him. [37] Hurst said he was certain this man was Smith. [37] Some of these accounts also describe Smith carrying a child to the boat. Harry Senior, one of Titanic's stokers, and second class passenger Charles Eugene Williams, who both survived aboard Collapsible B, stated that Smith [32] swam with a child in his arms to Collapsible B, which Smith presented to a steward, after which he apparently swam back to the rapidly foundering ship. Williams' account differs slightly, claiming that, after Smith handed the child over to the steward, he asked what had become of First Officer Murdoch. Upon hearing news of Murdoch's demise, Smith "pushed himself away from the lifeboat, threw his lifebelt from him and slowly sank from our sight. He did not come to the surface again." These accounts are almost certainly apocryphal, according to historians featured in the A&E Documentary Titanic: Death of a Dream . Lightoller who survived on Collapsible B never reported seeing Smith in the water or receiving a child from him. There is also no way survivors on Collapsible B would have been able to verify an individual's identity under such dimly lit and chaotic circumstances. It is more likely based on wishful thinking that the person they saw was the Captain. [38] Captain Smith's fate will probably remain uncertain.

For many years, there were also conflicting accounts of Smith's last words. 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 is a myth popularised by the British press at the time.[ when? ] If Smith had said these words to anyone, it would have been to the crew, but not one of the surviving crew members claimed he did. Because 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." [33]


The statue of Captain Smith in Beacon Park, Lichfield, Staffordshire, England Captain Edward Smith statue, Beacon Park, Lichfield - geograph.org.uk - 403721.jpg
The statue of Captain Smith in Beacon Park, Lichfield, Staffordshire, England
Detail of the statue Captain Smith Statue.jpg
Detail of the statue

A statue, sculpted by Kathleen Scott, wife of Antarctic explorer Robert Falcon Scott, was unveiled in July 1914 at the western end of the Museum Gardens in Beacon Park, Lichfield. [39] The pedestal is made from Cornish granite and the figure is bronze. [40] Lichfield was chosen as the location for the monument because Smith was a Staffordshire man and Lichfield was the centre of the diocese. [41] The statue originally cost £740 (£70,000 with inflation [42] ) raised through local and national contributions. [41]

For his stoicism—the "stiff upper lip" self-discipline, fortitude and remaining calm in the face of adversity, which popular culture rendered into a British character trait, the plaque below his memorial statue states; [43]

Capt. of R.M.S. Titanic

In 2010, as part of the 'Parks for People' programme, the statue was restored and the green patina removed from its surface at a cost of £16,000. [41] In 2011 an unsuccessful campaign was started to get the statue moved back to Captain Smith's home town of Hanley. [44]

Smith had already been commemorated in Hanley's Town Hall with a plaque reading:

This tablet is dedicated to the memory of Commander [ sic ] Edward John Smith RD, RNR. Born in Hanley, 27th Jany 1850, died at sea, 15th April 1912. Be British.

Whilst in command of the White Star SS Titanic that great ship struck an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean during the night and speedily sank with nearly all who were on board. Captain Smith having done all man could do for the safety of passengers and crew remained at his post on the sinking ship until the end. His last message to the crew was "Be British." [45]

The plaque was removed in 1961, given to a local school and then returned to the Town Hall but remounted in the interior of the building in 1978. [46] The Titanic Brewery in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent is in honour of him. [47]


As a member of the Royal Naval Reserve, Smith wore his two decorations when in uniform: the Decoration for Officers of the Royal Naval Reserve and the Transport Medal.

Royal Naval Reserve Decoration.PNG    Reserve Decoration
Transport Medal BAR.svg    Transport Medal


Smith's mother, Catherine Hancock, lived in Runcorn, Cheshire, where Smith himself intended to retire. She died there in 1893. Smith's half-sister Thyrza died in 1921 and his widow, Sarah Eleanor Smith, was hit and killed by a taxi in London in 1931. [48] Their daughter, Helen Melville, married and gave birth to twins, Simon and Priscilla. Simon, a pilot in the Royal Air Force, was killed in World War II. Priscilla died from polio three years later; neither of them had children. Helen died in 1973. [3]




  1. Radio telegraphy was known as "wireless" in the British English of the period.
  2. Despite later myth, featured for example in the 1997 film Titanic, the ship Titanic was not attempting to set a transatlantic speed record; the White Star Line had made a conscious decision not to compete with their rivals Cunard on speed, but instead to focus on size and luxury. [13]

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The Olympic-class ocean liners were a trio of British ocean liners built by the Harland & Wolff shipyard for the White Star Line during the early 20th century. They were Olympic (1911), Titanic (1912), and Britannic (1915). All three were designed to be the largest and most luxurious passenger ships in the world, designed to give White Star an advantage in the transatlantic passenger trade. Two were lost early in their careers: Titanic sank in 1912 on her maiden voyage, after hitting an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean, and Britannic in 1916, after hitting a mine laid by the minelayer submarine U-73 in a barrier off Kea in the Aegean Sea during World War I. Olympic, the lead vessel, had a career spanning 24 years and was retired and sold for scrapping in 1935.

Passengers of the RMS <i>Titanic</i> Wikimedia list article

A total of 2,208 people sailed on the maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic, the second of the White Star Line's Olympic-class ocean liners, from Southampton, England, to New York City. Partway through the voyage, the ship struck an iceberg and sank in the early morning of 15 April 1912, resulting in the deaths of over 1,500 people, including about 815 of the passengers.

Crew of the RMS <i>Titanic</i>

The crew of the RMS Titanic were among the estimated 2,344 people who sailed on the maiden voyage of the second of the White Star Line's Olympic class ocean sea liners, from Southampton, England to New York City in the US. Halfway through the voyage, the ship struck an iceberg and sank in the early morning of 15 April 1912, resulting in the deaths of over 1,500 people, including approximately 688 crew members.

Lifeboats of the RMS <i>Titanic</i>

The lifeboats of the RMS Titanic played a crucial role in the disaster of 14–15 April 1912. One of the ship's legacies was that it had 20 lifeboats that could only accommodate 1,178 people, despite the fact that there were approximately 2,208 on board. RMS Titanic had a maximum capacity of 3,547 passengers and crew.

United States Senate inquiry into the sinking of the RMS <i>Titanic</i>

The sinking of the RMS Titanic on April 15, 1912 resulted in an inquiry by the United States Senate. Chaired by Senator William Alden Smith, the inquiry was a subcommittee of the Senate's Commerce Committee. The hearings began in New York on April 19, 1912, later moving to Washington, D.C., concluding on May 25, 1912 with a return visit to New York.


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