Two letters from the Titanic are in the news. One is a letter from Dr. John Edward Simpson, who died when the ship sank, He wrote to his mother on April 11, 1912, on notepaper headed RMS Titanic, and had it mailed from Cohb, Ireland, the last port of call prior to the ship sailing across the North Atlantic. The letter, which was owned by a collector in Long Island, NY will be returning Belfast to be part of a new Titanic exhibition.
A second, somewhat controversial, letter was written by Titanic survivor, Emily Richards, a second class passenger, who claims to have seen Captain Smith a drinking few hours before the collision. The letter written on board the Carpathia, which rescued survivors from the sinking, blames the captain for the sinking:
‘The Captain was down in the saloon drinking and gave charge to some-one else to stare(sic) the ship. ‘It was the Captan(sic) fault. ‘My poor brother George … drowned as far as we know now.’
Captain Smith who went down with the ship, was exonerated by by the British enquiry into the disaster and not all believe Ms. Richard’s account.
Was the captain of the Titanic drunk on the night the ship struck an iceberg? Letter written by survivor claims skipper was in saloon bar before liner sank
Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge said: ‘This was a woman whose emotions would have been incredibly raw having lost a loved one in the sinking.
‘She would have wanted someone to blame and clearly she blamed the captain.
‘As far as we know there are no other witness reports that put the captain in the saloon drinking on the evening of the sinking.
‘So Emily Richards’s account is not consistent with the dozens of others that exist.
‘It is very controversial but you can’t ignore the fact she was there. It puts a very different perspective on the events if it is true.
‘Captain Smith was largely exonerated by the British enquiry into the disaster and there are numerous accounts of him dying an Englishman’s death by chosing to go down with the ship.
‘First person accounts written on Carpathia headed notepaper are incredibly rare. I think only a handful have emerged over the last 15 years so there is a great deal of interest in this.’