Edward John Smith
Edward John Smith
General Information
Born 27 January 1850
Hanley, Staffordshire, England
Died Atlantic Ocean
Drowned in the ship's wheelhouse
Occupation Captain of the RMS Titanic
Spouse Sarah Eleanor Pennington
Children Helen Melville Smith
Parents Edward Smith (father)

Catherine Hancock nee Marsh (mother)

Relatives Joseph Hancock (half-brother)

Thyrza Hancock (half-sister)
Simon Russell-Cooke (grandson)
Priscilla Russell-Cooke (granddaughter)

Edward John Smith was captain of the Titanic.


Edward John Smith joined the White Star Line in 1880 as Fourth Officer on the 'Celtic'.

Captain Smith was 62 years old and had plans to retire after the voyage to Southampton. Smith is also the White Star Line's premier captain. He had always wanted to take command of the Titanic since he had taken command of her sister, Olympic. During the voyage, Smith had been given several ice warnings from other ships in the Atlantic. He didn't know that the ship was heading for a collision course with an iceberg. When Titanic hit the berg, the impact woke him up and he rushed to the bridge only to find out that his ship had been badly damaged and that she would sink.

He also had some sort of a nervous collapse which might have coursed him not to leave his ship. A sailor tried to convince him that he should leave his ship. Smith refused and decided that he would not let the Titanic die alone and that he would share her fate. As the water was coming onto the deck, Smith gave the last order.

“Abandon Ship! Every man for himself!”

At that, people panicked and scrambled up the boat deck towards the stern of the ship fearful for their lives, and Smith walked onto the bridge and opened the door to the wheel house. His hands were trembling with fear. He knew that from the time the Titanic hit the iceberg that his ship was doomed and so was he.

He closed the doors to the wheel house and stood there looking at the rising water engulfing his ship. He unbuttoned his Navy Blue uniform and took out of his pocket the portrait photograph of his wife and daughter.

“Forgive me” were the last words he uttered as the water rose higher and higher around the bridge and pushed against the glass of the windows in the wheel house, he put the photograph back in his pocket. With that the glass shattered and the water engulfed the wheelhouse, Smith drowned whilst clinging to the ship's wheel. The Titanic sank a few minutes later, killing an estimated 1,500 people. The body of Captain Smith was never recovered.