This photograph was long believed to show Captain Smith and some officers from RMS Titanic.

enter image description here

However, it actually shows Captain Smith and 8 of his officers from when he captained RMS Olympic. In order of left to right:

  • Standing: Purser Hugh McElroy, Third Officer Henry O. Cater, Second Officer R. Hume, Fourth Officer David W. Alexander, Sixth Officer Harold H. Holehouse.
  • Seated: Fifth Officer A. Tulloch, Chief Officer Joseph Evans, Captain Edward Smith and First Officer William Murdoch.

Is there a similar photograph for Captain Smith and his officers for RMS Titanic?

  • 2
    I've added a link to a page that gives an extended history of that picture, & re-structured the question a bit. Please feel free to rollback if you're not happy with any of it. – sempaiscuba Sep 9 '18 at 0:40
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    Found something odd. There are several copies (black & white) on various sites of the photo you posted...but on closer inspection the officers 2nd left standing, centre standing and 2nd right standing seem to have been 'flipped'. For example, 2nd right is looking to his left in your photo but to his right here and here. Second left is even more obviously not the same, but the officers on the ends and those seated are identical. – Lars Bosteen Sep 9 '18 at 4:46

This is the old problem of proving a negative, but there is no evidence for a known group photo showing all of the Titanic's deck officers. Given the large number of Titanic books, sites and "enthusiasts", it seems highly improbable that such a photo would not have appeared somewhere online.

Further, one officer only joined the Titanic shortly before she sailed; while this does not make it impossible for a photo to have been taken before departure, the time frame was limited.

The Life and Mystery of William Murdoch, a website dedicated to the aforementioned First Officer of the Titanic, asserts

Although you may find photographs labelled "Titanic's Officers" the fact is that there is no known group photograph of Titanic's officer's prior to or during her fateful voyage.

Similarly, Inger Sheil, a Titanic researcher and author of Titanic Valour: The Life of Fifth Officer Harold Lowe has stated in the Encyclopedia Titanica forum Titanic Photographs & other Images that there is no photo of all the officers which has been made public and that

if such a photo was taken it is either no longer extant or exists in a private collection.

The surviving, known photo with the most Titanic deck officers in it would appear to be one that was taken of the four surviving officers. The colorized photo below was made possible

thanks to Board of Trade applications and certificates recently released to the public by The National Maritime Museum

which meant

we can discover the height, eye colour, skin colour and any 'percularities' (such as tattoos) that each officer wrote in their application

enter image description here

"Titanic's surviving officers, from left: Fifth Officer Lowe, Third Officer Pitman (seated), Second Officer Lightoller and Fourth Officer Boxhall." Text & Image source

The 'original', larger, black and white photo can be seen here. For completion, the deck officers not in the photo above who went down with the Titanic were Captain Edward Smith, Chief Officer Henry Wilde, First Officer William Murdoch and Sixth Officer James Moody. Thus, in the OP's photo, only Smith, Murdoch and the purser Hugh McElroy were on the Titanic.

There is also this photo below, supposedly the last showing Captain Smith (I say 'supposedly' because the source is unclear).

enter image description here

Note that the purser and doctor do not count as 'deck officers'. Image source

An article in the Irish Post relates how David Blair, who was supposed to sail on the Titanic as Second Officer, was reassigned when Henry Tingle Wilde was brought on board as Chief Officer. Tingle only boarded the Titanic at 6am on the 10th of April, six hours before she sailed. Although it is not impossible that a group photo was taken, Captain Smith and his officers may well have felt that they had better things to do than pose for photos on the morning of the departure of what was then the world's largest ship.

| improve this answer | |
  • But if the White Star Line or the more narcissistic first class passengers had insisted (recall how the radio was misused for their business transactions)..... – Spencer Jun 27 '19 at 15:09

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