Secondary accounts - no mention of an officer's suicide

George McGough, Able-bodied seaman

In the New York Evening World for April 20, 1912, George "Paddy" McGough said:

“Both Captain Smith and Junior Chief Officer Murdoch were now together on the bridge, the water being up to their armpits.  The next I saw of Captain Smith was in the water holding a child in his arms.  He swam to the raft on which was Second Officer Lightoller and gave the child to the mate.  That was the last.  He and the ship went down, and Murdoch -- God help me; don’t ask me what I saw.”

It is unknown as to what McGough was actually refering to, with his statement of "God help me, don't ask me what I saw".  He could be refering to a shooting - or any number of unrelated things.

McGough left the Titanic in Lifeboat #9, a little less than an hour before the ship sank.  He therefore was not in a position to see either Smith or Murdoch, and the events he described.  Second Officer Lightoller also never reported seeing Smith in the water, much less receiving a child from him.

Joseph Bruce Ismay, Managing Director of the White Star Line

Ismay was rescued in Collapsible C, one of the last lifeboats to leave the ship. According to an article in the New York Herald of April 19, 1912, when a reporter asked what Captain Smith was doing when he last saw him, Ismay said that he was “standing on the bridge.” He was then asked if it was true that he committed suicide. Ismay said that no, he had “heard nothing of it.” Ismay did not actually see what happened to Captain Smith.

William Mellors, 2nd Class Passenger

Mellors was rescued in Collapsible A, and was on the ship until the end. In his account, published in Logan Marshall's Sinking of the Titanic and Great Sea Disasters, Mellors said that “Captain Smith … did not shoot himself,” but that he “jumped from the bridge.” He did not say anything regarding the fates of the other officers.

Arthur Henry Rostron, Captain of the Carpathia

Captain Rostron, after landing the suvivors in New York, was also interviewed by the newspapers.  Following is from the Cleveland Plain Dealer for April 20, 1912:

"I have it from the lips of members of his crew who tried to save his life that he (Smith) did not committ suicide. He stuck to the ship until he was washed from the bridge. Then some of his men caught him in the swirling waters and landed him safely on the edge of a lifeboat".

For the full account, click here.

Harry Senior, Fireman

Senior was rescued aboard Collapsible B. He claimed to have seen Captain Smith leap overboard as the ship plunged under. This agrees with what Bride and Mellors stated. However, in the New York Times of April 19, 1912, Senior also claimed that Captain Smith was carrying a baby at the time and handed it to someone on Collapsible B. Entrée Cook Isaac Maynard was later claimed to be the man who took the baby from Captain Smith, according to Maynard's account in the Daily Sketch of April 29, 1912. The reliability of these statements is unknown.

Gunnar Isidor Tenglin, 3rd Class passenger

Tenglin gave numerous press accounts of his escape including this one from the April 25, 1912 issue of the Burlington Daily Gazette.  In this account he claimed to have been near Collapsible A from the time it was brought down from the roof of the officer’s quarters, until the time it floated off the ship. He does not report any shooting at A:

"We walked along from one lifeboat to another, but officers and crew were keeping the men back and loading the women and children. I noticed a number of boats that had been loaded on the upper deck stop at the second deck to take on women there. In many of these boats were men, but the officers made them get out and give place to the women. The lifeboats all gone, it looked to us as if we were doomed to perish with the ship, when a collapsible lifeboat was discovered. This boat would hold about fifty people and we had considerable trouble getting it loose from its fastenings. The boat was on the second deck and the ship settled the question of its launching as the water suddenly came up over the deck and the boat floated."

The same account does mention "There was no shooting on our side of the boat, but we heard the sound of shots from the other side", which could be a reference to Lowe firing shots at #14.

For the complete text of this account, click here .

Other accounts Tenglin gave seem to indicate he left in a lifeboat further astern, probably Lifeboat #15.