FALSE. Although it is true that Captain Smith had attended a dinner party earlier that evening held in his honour by the Wideners, he never drank whilst at sea, and this party was no exception, as Mrs Widener’s affidavit at the US Inquiry confirmed:
STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA, County of Philadelphia, ss Titanic:
Mrs. George D. Widener, being duly sworn according to law, deposes and says as follows:
‘I was a passenger with my husband, George D. Widener, and my son, Harry Widener, on the steamship Titanic of the White Star Line on her voyage from Southampton on the 10th day of April, 1912. On the night of Sunday, the 14th of April, 1912, my husband and I gave a dinner at which Capt. Smith was present. Capt. Smith drank absolutely no wine or intoxicating liquor of any kind whatever at the dinner.’
ELEANOR ELKINS WIDENER
Sworn to and subscribed before me this 29th day of May, 1912.
This evidence is corroborated by the testimony of Charles E. Stengel, at the US Inquiry:
CES111: (Senator Smith) ‘Was there any evidence of intoxication among the officers or crew that night?’
‘No, sir. I have a distinct recollection of a Mrs. Thorne stating, while talking about the captain being to dinner, that she was in that party, and she said, “I was in that party, and the captain did not drink a drop.” He smoked two cigars, that was all, and left the dining room about 10 o’clock.’
In fact, we know from Lightoller’s testimony, which is corroborated by Boxhall’s, that Captain Smith returned to the bridge at about five minutes to nine.
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