The Titanic – Crew
In all, the crew of the Titanic comprised some 885 people:
Deck Crew – Officers, Masters at arms, Storemasters and able bodied seamen.
Engineering Department – Engineers, Boilermen, Firemen and Electricians.
Victualling Department – Stewards and Galley staff.
Name: Captain Edward John Smith
Born: Sunday 27th January 1850, Hanley, Staffordshire, UK
Age: 62 years 2 months and 19 days.
Married to Eleanor Smith.
Last Residence: at Woodhead, Winn Road, Portswood, Southampton, UK
Occupation: Ships Master
Last Ship: Olympic, Deck Crew
First Embarked: Southampton on Monday 1st April 1912
Died in the sinking.
Body Not Recovered
The Captain of the Titanic was Edward John Smith, 62. He was born in Hanley,Stoke-on-Trentin January 1850. He was the son of Edward Smith (potter) and Catherine Smith. His parents owned a shop.
He attended the EtruriaBritishSchooluntil the age of 13 when he went to Liverpoolto begin a seafaring career. He apprenticed with Gibson & Co., Liverpooland later joined White Star in 1880. It was here he gained his first command in 1887. He commanded the Republic, the Coptic, Majestic, Baltic, Adriatic and Olympic.
Smith gained a reputation amongst passengers and crew for his quiet flamboyance. Many passengers would only sail the Atlanticif the ship was commanded by him. After he became commodore of the White Star fleet in 1904, it became routine for Smith to command the line’s newest ships on their maiden voyages. It was therefore no surprise that Smith took Titanic in her maiden voyage in April 1912. This responsibility was rewarded with a salary of £1,250 per year and a no-collision bonus of $200. Because of his position as a Commander in the Royal Naval Reserve Smith had the distinction of being able to fly the Blue Duster of the R.N.R., most ships flew the Red Duster of the merchant marine.
Smith was married to Eleanor and they had a young daughter Helen Melville. They lived in a red brick, twin-gabled house onWinn Road, inSouthampton.
On 10 April1912 Edward John Smith, made the journey from his home toSouthamptondocks in a taxi. He embarked the Titanic at 7 am to prepare for the board of Trade muster at 8.00. He immediately went to his cabin to get the sailing report from Chief Officer Henry Wilde.
After departure at 12:00 noon the wash from the propeller caused a ship which was laid-up (New York) to break from her moorings and swing towards the Titanic. It was Smiths quick action which helped to avert a premature end to the Titanics maiden voyage. This incident was seen by many as a bad omen.
During the voyage Smith normally took meals at a small table in the dining saloon or in his cabin, attended by his personal valet, Arthur Paintin. On the night of April 14, he attended a dinner party held in his honour by George Widener and his family. This party was attended by the cream of 1912 society as it was represented on the Titanic. However Smith was seemingly concerned that the ship was entering the ice zone as he had received ample warnings during the weekend. He excused himself early and went to the bridge.
Lightoller was keeping watch and discussed the temperature with Smith far a while. Smith told Lightoller to alert him immediately if he was at all concerned. He then retired to bed.
About 11.40 p.m.Captain Smith was awakened by the collision and rushed to the bridge. He received the report of the accident from Murdoch and then made a quick inspection of the ship with Thomas Andrews. He immediately ordered the boats prepared but wavered when it came to giving the order to load and lower them Lightoller had to approach him for the order which he eventually gave.
Surprisingly little is known about Smith’s actions in the last two hours of the ships life. His legendary skills of leadership seemed to disappear, he was curiously indecisive and unusually cautious.
He was last seen on the bridge of the ship after he had given the final order to abandon ship. He appears to have made no attempt to save himself and his body was never identified (if recovered).
Name: Chief Officer Henry Wilde
Born: 21 September 1872, Walton, Liverpool, UK
Age: aged 39
Married: Wildes wife and twin sons (Archie and Richard) died December 1910.
Last Residence: at Walton, Liverpool, UK.
Occupation: Chief Officer
Last Ship: Olympic, Chief Officer.
First Embarked: Southampton on sailing date, 10 April 1912, Wilde reported for duty at 6.00 AM
Died in the sinking.