Edward John Smith

Date of birth: 27 January 1850
Place of birth: Hanley, Staffordshire, England
Marital status: Married
Spouse: Sarah Eleanor Pennington
Children: Helen Melville Smith (1898–1973)
Address: Woodhead, Winn Road, Portswood Southampton Hampshire England
Crew position: Titanic's Captain
Date of death: 15 April, 1912
Cause of death: Unconfirmed; body never recovered

Captain E.J. Smith's White Star Records

The White Star Line kept a document entitled the "Record of Service in Company" listing basic biographical information as well as a list of the employee's ships including rank, dates and holiday leave. Below is Edward Smith's record.

Captain E.J. Smith's White Star Line record. (Click image to enlarge)

It is interesting to note in the biographical section that there is "no record" of his place of birth. Did he deliberately avoid mentioning this, due to his working class origins in a landlocked area of England? It confirms that he spent four years as an apprentice in sail at A Gibson and that he joined the White Star Line on the 1st of March 1880. Under "Special Notes" it states: "Commander of S/S "Titanic drowned in disaster 15.4.1912.

The list of ships is strangely ambiguous, firstly missing the ships he served aboard for seven years from 1880 until his command of the Republic in 1887. During this time he worked aboard the Celtic, Coptic and Britannic. It does confirm he was Chief Officer from August 20th 1887 until the 27th of March 1888 but omits the name of the ship - it was the Britannic. It does confirm that he officially joined the Olympic as commander on the 15th of May 1911, although the maiden voyage was not until a month later on the 14th June 1911. It ends with a sentence in red and underlined: "Lost in 'Titanic' April 15th 1912.

There is an extra page of information also attached, related to the O.S.N.Co. (Oceanic Steam Navigation Company, a.k.a. the White Star Line):

In this section, his three addresses while in the Liverpool area are confirmed: 39 Cambridge Road, Seaforth, 4 Marine Crescent, Waterloo, and 20 Alexandra Road Waterloo. It does not mention his move to Southampton. It also breaks down his time prior to joining the White Star Line listing in fractions his time spent as an A.B., second and first mate and master.

Finally we have a list of first appointments in "Service of O.S.N. Co." - confirming a list of dates as he progressed in rank from Fourth Officer in 1880 to finally Commander in 1888. There is a curious note in brackets "on 'Republic' lying up" but it is not clear whether this indicates his appointment to Chief Officer in the line above, or Commander in the line below.

Records courtesy of Petra Feyahn