DEAD: ON THIS DATE
Edward Smith (aged 62
Captain of the RMS Titanic
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.
DEATH: There are conflicting accounts of Smith’s death. Some survivors said they saw Smith enter the ship’s wheelhouse on the bridge, and die there when it was engulfed. 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.” 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.”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.