They Said It.  Some Memorable Lines.

The author does not vouch for the authenticity of some of these quotations. Of some it may be said. "Se non é vero, é ben trovato."

I cannot imagine any condition which would cause a ship to founder. I cannot conceive of any vital disaster happening to this vessel. Modern shipbuilding has gone beyond that.

Captain Edward Smith, referring to Adriatic

I never saw a wreck and never have been wrecked, nor was I ever in any predicament that threatened to end in disaster.

Captain Edward Smith in 1907.

The captain can, by simply moving an electric switch, instantly close the doors throughout, practically making the vessel unsinkable.

Irish News and Belfast Morning News, June 1st, 1911, on the incomplete Titanic.

God himself could not sink this ship!

Unknown Titanic crewmember to embarking passenger, Mrs Sylvia Caldwell.

This is a marvellous ship and I feel very disappointed I am not to make the first voyage.

David Blair, who was originally going to be Second Officer on Titanic.

Certainly there was no sailor who ever sailed salt water but who smiled - and still smiles - at the idea of the"unsinkable ship".

Charles Lightoller, in Titanic and Other Ships .

Everyone had known full well, and for many years, the ever-present possibility of just such a disaster.

Charles Lightoller, in Titanic and Other Ships .

Send SOS; It's the new call and it may be your last chance to send it!

Harold Bride to John Phillips.


John Phillips to Harold Cottam, in reply to the news that Carpathia was coming to the rescue. (Thank you, Old Man).

If you will get to hell out of that, I shall be able to do something!.

Fifth Officer Lowe to J.Bruce Ismay.

It was not very parliamentary.

J.Bruce Ismay, at the US enquiry, on Lowe's choice of language.

Shut up! Shut up! I am busy. I am working Cape Race!

John Phillips, in reply to Cyril Evans' final ice warning.

It might have been.

Captain Stanley Lord, asked at the British enquiry if the rockets seen from Californian could have been a distress signal.

You never mistake a distress rocket.

Captain Stanley Lord, at the US enquiry.

I admit there was a certain amount of "slackness" aboard the Californian the night in question.

Captain Stanley Lord, in a letter to his Member of Parliament, Oct 17th, 1912.

Anybody knows what rockets at sea mean.

Lawrence Beesley, in The Loss of the SS Titanic.

It would be much nicer. You would never miss a message then.

Captain Stanley Lord, asked by Senator Bourne if it would be better to have two radio operators.

I do not think it is right to receive money for anything like that.

Cyril Evans, asked by Senator Smith if he had sold his story to anybody.

That silly man, who wouldn't use his wireless!

Captain Arthur Rostron, referring to Captain Lord.

You can't kick a man when he's down, my dear.

Charles Lightoller to Sylvia Lightoller, when persuading her to meet Captain Lord and shake his hand.

All Saved From Titanic After Collision.

Headline in The Evening Sun (New York), April 15th, 1912.

Ice, I suppose, sir.

Fifth Officer Lowe, asked by Senator Smith what an iceberg is composed of. (The question was not really silly. Boxhall had earlier testified that icebergs had been known to have rocks embedded in them).

This very provincial display of authority.

Joseph Conrad, the very English Pole, on the Americans daring to investigate the loss of a British ship.

I think all the women ought to have a gold medal on their breasts, God bless them.

Seaman George Hogg, at the US enquiry. Make what you like of that!

I am a civil servant, sir, and custom guides us a good bit.

Captain Maurice Clarke explaining to Lord Mersey why he had subjected Titanic to only a very limited lifeboat drill.

Overconfidence seems to have dulled the faculties usually so alert.

Senator Smith, on Captain E.J. Smith.

He was only doing that which other skilled men would have done in the same position.

Lord Mersey, pointing out that Captain Smith's cruising at high speed at night was the usual practice.

There is no object in providing power for a good speed unless it is intended to use it.

The Shipbuilder, commenting after the disaster, on the practice of travelling fast at night.

Had he not jumped in, he would have merely added one more life, namely his own, to the number of those lost.

Lord Mersey, excusing J. Bruce Ismay's instinct for self preservation

In London it was very necessary to keep one's hand on the whitewash brush.

Charles Lightoller, in Titanic and Other Ships .


One of the vitally important messages relayed by Phillips and Bride to Cape Race from the liner Amerika.

Some other Hand than mine was on that helm during the night.

Captain Arthur Rostron, reflecting on his safe passage among the icebergs to the lifeboats.

Did the Titanic go down by the head or the bow?

Senator William Alden Smith, having his usual trouble with nautical terms.

It is not given to everyone to be a hero.

Nautical Magazine, on J.Bruce Ismay.

All he said was that he had had a jolly good breakfast, and that he never thought I would make it.

Mrs W.Carter, in divorce proceedings against her husband. She claimed that his greeting to her on her arrival at Carpathia was evidence of his lack of affection for her.

I wish I had put on my corset before I left the Titanic - my back is killing me.

Survivor Nora Keane to Edwina Troutt, on board Carpathia.

We believe that the boat is unsinkable.

Philip Franklin, Vice-President of White Star Line, 8-00 a.m., April 15th, 1912.

We shall be obliged if you will remit to us the sum of 5s. 4d., which is owing to us as per enclosed statement.

C.W. & F.N.Black, musicians' agents, in a letter dated April 30th, 1912. It was sent to the relatives of Titanic violinist, Jock Hume.

State secrets.

Captain Stanley Lord, refusing to give Boston reporters his exact position during the night of April 14th.

It was as though we went over about a thousand marbles.

Mrs J.S.White, describing the impact with the iceberg.

If this is discipline, what would have been disorder?

Senator Smith, on the chaotic loading of the lifeboats.

The armchair complaint is a very common disease, and generally accepted as one of the necessary evils from which the seafarer is condemned to suffer.

Charles Lightoller, in Titanic and Other Ships.

I have never had an oar in my hand before, but I think I can row.

Unidentified Titanic crewman, quoted by passenger, Mrs J.S.White, who had a low opinion of the crew's boating skills, not without reason.

Here is a calamity which might well make the proudest man humble and the wildest joker serious. It makes us vainglorious, insolent, mendacious.

George Bernard Shaw, deploring the British tendency to turn the bungling Captain Smith and his crew into heroes.

So did the cat.

George Bernard Shaw, who saw nothing heroic about Captain Smith going down with his ship.

Wonderful thing, wireless, isn't it?

Captain Arthur Rostron, to Second Officer James Bisset, having told him the latest news on the known positions of icebergs. This was at around 10-00 p.m., April 14th, 1912.

There was too much brag and not enough seaworthy construction.

Sir James Bisset, on Olympic and Titanic.

It seemed more like an old fishing boat had sunk.

Captain Stanley Lord, commenting on the surprising lack of debris at the scene of the sinking.

Grand men, charming women, beautiful babies, all becoming horrible in the midst of the glittering splendor of a $10,000,000 casket!

Reverend Dr Charles Parkhurst, Presbyterian preacher in Manhattan, who saw the luxury of Titanic as a symbol of all that was wrong in the USA of 1912.

It was a huge ocean joy ride and it ended where joy rides generally stop.

Reverend James O'May, Methodist preacher in Chicago, preaching against the lifestyles of Titanic's pleasure loving passengers, Sunday, April 21st, 1912.

Titanic, name and thing, will stand as a monument and warning to human presumption.

The Bishop of Winchester, preaching in Southampton, 1912.