‘REVEALED’ for the first time in 2012.
Stories of his life in Liverpool 1898 – 1907. A telephone call to Waterloo 271 would change the course of history forever...
Captain Edward John Smith RD, RNR of Titanic.
Read for the first time ever about the MAJOR HISTORICAL TITANIC FACTS that took place here in his home in Marine Crescent Waterloo
The year is 1898, Captain Smith moved to his new home, it was here in Waterloo that their only child Helen Melville was born. A new beginning, a baby daughter, life couldn’t have been better.
Edward John Smith had worked for the White Star Line since the year 1880. Though he quickly rose in rank.
In 1895 he was given the captaincy of the 'Majestic' and held this position for 9 years.
When the Boer War commenced in 1899 'Majestic' was called upon to transport the troops to Cape Colony. Captain Smith made two trips to South Africa, both without incident, and for this service in 1903 he was awarded the Transport Medal by 'King Edward V11'. Smith was highly regarded and was referred to as a ‘Safe Captain’
Imagine if you will, returning home after the award ceremony with the King of England. The parties and celebrations with the gentry of the era.
If only walls could talk, if only....
It was whilst living in this house that Captain Smith made that infamous quote:-
‘When anyone asks me how I can best describe my experience of almost 40 years at sea, I merely say, uneventful.
Of course there have been winter gales and storms and fog and the like. But in all my experience I have never been in any accident, or any sort worth speaking about. I have seen but one vessel in distress in all my years at sea. I never saw a wreck and never have been wrecked nor was I ever in any predicament that threatened to end in disaster of any sort’
Quote from E.J. Smith 1907 made whilst living in this house.
By 1904, Captain Smith commanded only the newest ships of the White Star Line on their maiden voyages.
However, things were beginning to take their toll and the family had began discussing his retirement. Being away from the family for such lengths was becoming tiresome, he really wanted to spend more precious time with his wife and young daughter.
It was here in this house, that Ted made out his will, leaving everything he owned to his wife in the event of his death.
Whilst considering retirement, it took one single telephone call to WATERLOO 271 (The Smith family telephone number) to change the course of history forever.
Captain E.John Smith RD, RNR, was living here, when Bruce Ismay (President of White Star Line) offered him the most prestige’s post of any maritime Captain.
To command the ultimate vessel Titanic.
The unsinkable RMS TITANIC
Bruce Ismay lived just a few hundred yards away in Beach Lawn. The Ismays were his neighbours, friends and employer. Bruce was a familiar face in the Smith family household.
How wonderful to be given the command of such a vessel.
One final voyage before his retirement, to spend more time with his wife and daughter.
How proud he made his family.
In 1907 after accepting the position, Captain Smith uprooted his family from 17 Marine Crescent to move to Southampton in order to be closer to the White Star Line headquarters.
Many a Liverpudlian sailor moved there with him. They too would be proud to sail with ‘The Millionaires Captain’ as he was, by now, very fondly referred to.
How ironic that this was the final voyage for very different reasons.
Who could have foreseen what the future would hold?
One hundred years ago in 1912, the world experienced the tragic loss of White Star Lines' ‘Titanic’. The unsinkable liner on its maiden voyage. As many as 1517 souls lost their lives on that fateful night, including Captain Smith himself, who was last seen on the bridge. His words to his Officers and Crew, ‘Be British’
His body was never discovered.
Just 7 days after her husbands death, Sarah Eleanor Smith put her own personal grief to one side and wrote:-
“To my poor fellow sufferers: My heart overflows with grief for you all and is laden with sorrow that you are weighed down with this terrible burden that has been thrust upon us. May God be with us and comfort us all”
The only know picture of Eleanor and daughter Mel, used on the front cover of the Daily Mirror April 22nd 1912, was taken here in Waterloo.