FALSE. We have already heard from Steward Brown that Captain Smith was seen walking towards the bridge at the very end, and Harold Bride testified as follows, at the US Inquiry:
HSB557: (Mr. BRIDE) ‘He jumped overboard from the bridge. He jumped overboard from the bridge when we were launching the collapsible lifeboat.’
HSB558: (Senator SMITH) ‘I should judge from what you have said that this was about three or four minutes before the boat sank.’
Mr. BRIDE: ‘Yes. It would be just about five minutes before the boat sank.’
However, Bride could here be mistaking Captain Smith for Lightoller, who we know did exactly this at this time, first swimming towards the crow’s nest.
In any event, Titanic’s barber, August Weikman, said that he had been washed overboard by the same large wave that Colonel Gracie mentions as carrying away his friend James Clinch Smith, and that he had then seen Captain Smith, also apparently washed off by the wave, swimming back towards the ship:
‘While this was going on I was on the upper deck assisting the passengers to the boats. I had a life belt on, and when the forward part of the ship listed I was washed overboard by a huge wave. Looking backward, I could see Captain Smith, who had been standing on the bridge, swimming back to the place where he had stood, having been washed off the Titanic by the same wave that had washed me from the ship into the water.’
Captain Rostron issued a strong denial of the Smith suicide rumour to the press, saying that some of Titanic’s crew had seen him washed off the bridge, reaching the edge of a lifeboat with their assistance, then falling off it again.
This simple account rings true and does tally with others, and combined with Weikman’s report, may also explain how the press could have woven into this true story the fiction that he swam with a baby to a lifeboat, and then went back to the ship.
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