Captain Smith sighted? {EJ sightings} : LUSENET : TitanicShack : One Thread

I can't remember where on the web I read this, but I recall reading that there was a man who personally knew Captain Smith who swore some months after the sinking that he ran into him. He said that, not only did he see him, but that he even had a conversation with him, albeit a hurried one, as Smith appeared to be on his way somewhere. This man swears it was Smith, and apparently had a good reputation as no one seriously doubted his character credibility. Kip, do you, or does anyone else know if there is anything that might substantiate this? I know the record says he died at the sinking, but I found this interesting, because, hypothetically, if he lived, I'm sure he probably wouldn't have revealed himself, given the scrutiny Ismay was under. After all, if Smith had lived, would he not have gone down in history as being just as careless as Ismay, as opposed to the hero we see him as now?

-- Michael (, March 13, 1998


Response to Captain Smith sighted?

Michael, I too have heard this story although I think it is highly unlikely. In the many history books I have read on the Titanic, no one is really sure what happened to Captain Smith. Some say he went down with the ship (the most popular theory which James Cameron used), some say he shot himself, witnesses claim to have seen him diving off the bow and one story goes that he even swam to a life boat with a baby, but after placing the child in the boat he refused to come aboard. I know it's hard to take into account eye-witness accounts, but surely someone would have seen Smith somewhere if he had survived.

-- Sarah (, March 13, 1998.

Response to Captain Smith sighted?

I would think that some one else would have noticed. If he survived, how did he survive? He certainly was not on any of the lifeboats and that was the only way anyone survived. If Bruce Ismay, hiding in the sickbay of the Carpathia, could not escape back to England undetected, then certainly Captain Smith could not either. I equate this fable right up there with sighting Elvis at the local 7-11.

Regards, Peter

-- Peter Nivling (, March 13, 1998.

Response to Captain Smith sighted?

Michael, I remember reading that story also, quite some time ago, but 'darned if I remember where it was. I agree with Peter, though; this sounds like the sightings of Elvis or JFK.

If Smith had lived, I doubt that posterity would have treated him any differently. The US Senate Investigation laid the blame on him, albeit very gingerly; the British BOT inquiry exonerated him (but most observers knew that was a foregone conclusion). Latter day historians have not been as kind to EJ as the comtemporary press was; I doubt you'd find many serious students of the Titanic today who would consider Capt. Smith a hero.

The only reason Smith was remembered kindly while Ismay was pilloried was because EJ had the good grace to die at his post, while JBI ran away.


-- Kip Henry (, March 14, 1998.

I read this too, there is a link to the site from Dan's sight. I have not been to this site in a while, so I'm just assuming it is still there.

Personally, I agree with Peter. I don't think he could've survived and remained unnoticed.

-- Becky Gordon (, March 19, 1998.

I found some information about your request. It is contained in a book called "The Titanic Conspiracy" written by Robin Gardner and Dan Van der Vat. In this book, it is noted that after the titanic sank, a man did report see Captain E.J. Smith in Baltimore, Maryland. He reported to have have a small conversation with Captain Smith, and swore that he knew and recognized him. I am currently reviewing the book again for more detailed information. I will give the page number reference along with the name of the man who reported to see Captain Smith in a future message.

-- Joe Fanelli (, December 27, 1999.

As many have stated before, it would be very hard to believe that Captain Smith survived the demise of Titanic. I too read the account of Captain Perceval Pryal , a former shipmate of Smiths when he was in command of the Majestic. He claimed that he saw him at the location that was stated. He called out to Smith, who recognised him. After a greeting, Smith, who was obviously in a hurry said "It is good to see you, Pryal but please dont detain me as i am on business." After bidding farwell Smith hurried off. Pryal followed him, and Capt Smith turned and spotted him. He was then heard to say "Farwell, Shipmate until we meet again" and disappeared into the crowd. Pryal said he wouldve known smith even without his beard. Pryal underwent a psychological examination and was found to be quite sane.SO... perhaps smith did survive somehow, and was rescued. Stranger things have happened.

-- Steve (, April 26, 2001.

As they say, anything's possible! Personally, I'd like to believe he did survive. It does lend to the air of mystery that surrounds the Titanic. And, Michael, you most likely read it in the book Total Titanic by Mark Shapiro. That's the only place I ever remember seeing it.

-- Morgan Markowski (, February 06, 2004.

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