English naval officer (1850–1912) who was the officer in command of the RMS Titanic and died when the ship sank. Scarce DS, signed “E. J. Smith,” one page, 8 x 6, October 30, 1896. A certificate of discharge issued to T. Riley a fireman aboard the S.S. Majestic. The document states Riley served aboard the vessel from October 7–28, 1896, and was discharged in Liverpool. Printed near the bottom is a certification statement which reads, “I certify that the above particulars are correct and that the above named Seaman was discharged accordingly, and that the character described hereon is a true copy of the Report concerning the said Seaman.” Signed at the conclusion of the statement by Smith as the vessel’s master, and countersigned by a shipping representative. The discharge also bears two “V.G.” stamps in areas for character of conduct and ability. Central vertical fold, scattered creasing and wrinkling, soiling and toning, a bit heavier to edges, two small holes to left side of sheet, Liverpool office stamp to lower right, paper loss to left edge, and some light scorch marks along extreme bottom edge, otherwise very good condition.
Smith joined the White Star Line in 1880 and assumed command of the Majestic in 1895. When the Boer War began in 1899, Smith and the Majestic’s crew (sans fireman Riley) transported troops to Cape Colony, without incident. For his service, King Edward VII awarded Smith the Transport Medal. As he rose in seniority, Smith became a favorite of the wealthy financiers and notables who frequently traveled aboard his ships, acquiring the nickname the ‘Millionaires' Captain.’ From 1904 on, Smith commanded the White Star Line’s newest vessels on their maiden voyages, including the RMS Titanic. An exceedingly rare autograph in any form. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.
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