John Smith on Encyclopedia Titanica

John Richard Jago Smith was a postal clerk on board the RMS Titanic. He was 35 at the time of the sinking.

Early Life Edit

Jago was born in the village of Lanarth, near St. Keverne, Cornwall, in 1877. He was the son of a farmer, John Smith, and his wife Mary. He had three siblings: Susan, Elena and James.

He became an employee of the Post Office and, by the early 1900s, worked at the Southampton branch as a postal clerk. He went on to work for the sea post department. This department placed clerks on White Star and American vessels, in order to sort mail and take care of other postal duties on board the ships.

In 1912, he lived at Trebarveth, St. Keverne, Cornwall, England. When he was in Southampton for work, he stayed at 45 Atherley Road.

Titanic Edit

Jago was assigned to Titanic in 1912, by the sea post department, alongside his colleague James B. Williamson. He also worked alongside three American clerks: WIlliam L. Gwinn, John S. March, and Oscar S. Woody. The postal workers' accommodation was near the third class accommodations on F Deck. The post sorting room was located in the fourth watertight compartment on G Deck. Mail was initially stacked almost directly below the sorting room, on the Orlop Deck with the first class baggage.

When the ship struck an iceberg, the mail room, located in the fourth watertight compartment, and the Orlop Deck immediately began to flood. Jago and the other clerks began attempts to carry the sacks of registered mail up from the Orlop Deck to the higher level on G Deck. The bags weighed upwards of 100lb each. Hardly five minutes had passed before the water was already rising on G deck. After realizing that their efforts were in vain, Jago left the other clerks and ran upstairs, where he met Fourth Officer Boxhall and told him the state of affairs in the mail room. Boxhall ordered Jago to report this to Captain Smith, while he himself continued below to see the damage. Jago reported this to the Captain, arriving at the same moment as the ship's carpenter, who also said the ship was taking on water.

Jago returned below to the sorting office, which was rapidly filling with water, already two feet deep. The postal clerks attempted to take some mail up to the D Deck level, hoping that the bags might be saved from the ship via the first class entrance. However, this didn't happen, and the postal workers eventually gave up hope of saving the mail.

Jago Smith died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified.

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