The Millionaire's Captain

Today, 99 years ago, the R.M.S. Titanic sank to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. Approximately 1,517 passengers and crew died that night. It was a disaster that left the world shocked -- the unthinkable happened. People said she was unsinkable and that not even God could sink her, but they were quickly proven wrong.

Naturally, after such a great loss of life, people wanted someone to blame. Though he was one included on the death toll, Captain E.J. Smith was greatly accused. The British inquiry came to the conclusion that he was not at fault while the U.S. inquiry said that he was "indifferent to danger" and had "overconfidence and neglect".

The night of the disaster, Smith was resting in his cabin, leaving his second officer in charge. Sadly, none of them knew that by changing their course slightly to the south only put the Titanic’s route directly into the iceberg.
Some believe that the Captain was brave and gallant even to the end, while others view him as the complete opposite--almost as a cowardly figure--not even carrying out his orders like he should have (such as telling the officers to prepare the lifeboats), they describe him as being in shock of it all.

I believe that he probably was stunned with the fact the Titanic was sinking. It was supposed to be an unsinkable ship. Plus he knew that because of the lack of lifeboats, less than half of his passengers would have a chance of rescue.

We do know that Smith stressed ‘the law of the seas’ and shouted into his megaphone “women and children first!” repeatedly.

There are also diverse stories about his death. One survivor claimed seeing him swimming carrying a little girl to a lifeboat after the Titanic dissapeared into the ocean. Some have said he went to his cabin and took his own life. While others believe that he went down with his ship after telling his crew they had done their duty.

I don't think that the Captain should be blamed completely for the sinking of the Titanic. We will never know what exactly happened that decided the fate of the doomed ocean liner. Perhaps it was a series of things that caused the disaster. 

What we do know for sure though, is that the stories of the Titanic -- told and untold -- will never be forgotten.

(To see a timeline of the disaster, check out my other blog Titanic Memories)


Dawn Bibbs said...

Hi Katy! Thank you for visiting my blog. I'm so glad to know that people DO still read it :-). Hope you'll visit again soon. Have a great weekend.

Miss Jordan Elizabeth said...

This is certainly a very interesting story- and we can't forget that a popular slogan at the time was to the effect that "Not even God could sink the Titanic". Man's wisdom? Unfortunately pride comes before a fall and usually brings down others with it.

Thanks for your comment!

hannah m said...

I'm always intrigued by Titanic-related topics--very interesting post! Love how you wrote this in honor of its anniversary;-)

Lauren said...

Katy--I remember watching a documentary on the Titanic about 7 years ago, and that sparked quite an interest in it on my part. It's such a fascinating topic! Thanks for visiting my blog--I'm enjoying yours!