Over the years people have spoken about Titanic and learnt how it sunk on that dreadful night in April 1912, however some people are led to believe that it was in fact its sister ship the Olympic that sunk as part of an insurance scam.
Olympic (left) being maneuvered into drydock in Belfast for repairs on the morning of March 2, 1912 after throwing a propeller blade. Titanic (right) is moored at the fitting-out wharf. Olympic would sail for Southampton on the 7th, concluding the last time the two ships would be photographed together.
Within this article I will talk about that exact night and all the events that led to this theory. In the end I hope you will have a made your own decision as to which ship really lies in the North Atlantic Ocean at depth of around 12,500 ft. deep.
The reason behind people thinking that the ship is not really Titanic takes us back to the 20th September 1911 when the Olympic collided with the HMS Hawke just off the coast of the Isle of Wight.
A video showing the damage Olympic sustained during its collison with the HMS Hawke.
This incident caused many problems for the ship's owners, White Star Line as this meant that it would have to be taken out of service while they repaired it but this also meant that the maiden voyage of Titanic had to be put back from the 20th March to the 10th April. This at the time was something that White Star Line could not afford to do as they had legal bills to pay and the cost of repairing the Olympic as well. This meant that they had to come up with away to claim back not only the money that they would have missed out on due to Olympic not being in service (loss of revenue) but also the money they couldn’t claim back from the incident. So they came up with a plan…
…The plan was simple, switch Olympic with her sister ship Titanic and sink it to claim compensation. No one would know they had swapped the ships (except the people in charge: J.Bruce Ismay, Lord Pirrie, Thomas Andrews and J.P.Morgan) as if you looked at the ships when they were sitting beside each other you would not know which one was which unless you looked at the name plates on both ships.
Top Left: White Star Line Chairman, J.Bruce Ismay
Bottom Left: Harland and Wolff Owner, Lord Pirrie
Top Right: Chief Designer of Titanic, Thomas Andrews
Bottom Right: Owner of White Star Line, J.P. Morgan
As soon as the plan was set in motion they went about changing the Olympic to look exactly like it's sister ship by covering the floors with carpet as the Olympic has tile flooring and the passengers and crew who had been on Olympic then Titanic would have been able to see the footprints left by previous passengers. If they didn’t do this people would have wondered why this brand new ship that no one had been on was covered in footprints and stains from spilled drinks.
Other parts of the ship would have been changed as well for example taking out cabins on 'B’ Deck from the actual Titanic and replace them with the Olympics’ promenade to make the switch that all the more believable.
There is one thing that allows people to be tell the difference between the two ships are the portholes on the 'C' Deck.
When the Titanic was pictured while being built it had 14 evenly spaced portholes but when it left Southampton on doomed maiden voyage on April 10th 1912 it had 16 unevenly spaced portholes.
This is not the only piece of evidence that can be gathered to help back up this theory. There are also people who had built the Titanic back in the ship yard Harland and Wolff in Belfast that over the years had come out and said that the two ships were in fact swapped and if they told anyone, White Star Line told them it would basically be the last job that they ever did. So obviously they would have kept quiet but they didn't because the families of the people who built the ship know about the scam.
James A. Fenton aka "Paddy the Pig"
Paddy Fenton is someone who had told his fellow seamen that they were in fact switched.
A man in Australia, sent a letter to the Northern Star newspaper on July 31st 1996, which talks about a conversation his son had with Paddy. Here's an extract of that letter, "When the surviving crew got to port they were all taken aside and met by two men, one in a high position in the company, the other man was in a very high position in the Government. The Government man read the crew the “Official Secrets Act’ explaining that if they told of the real reason for the sinking, or the rumours of an insurance scam, they would serve a minimum of 20 years in jail and would never get a job when they got out."
There was also something else that could help to back up his theory and that comes in the form of the owner J.P.Morgan and fifty other first class passengers.
J.P.Morgan was amongst many people who cancelled his trip at the last minute as he was of ill health. When in actual fact he had been spotted in France, two days later and appeared to be in perfectly well health. J. Bruce Ismay's wife Julia and their children also cancelled due to his wife's ill health before however they were spotted on a motoring holiday in Wales.
Ismay and his wife Julia
J.P.Morgan also had seven valuable bronze statues removed one hour before the ship left Southampton. This situation leads many people to believe that they both knew what was about to happen with the ship on it's maiden voyage especially after J.P.Morgan had publically spoke out to the country and certified that he would definitely be aboard the ship. Was the real reason behind this lie from J.P.Morgan due to the fact he knew the ship was going to sink?
Another thing that has confused people is the fact that the ship named SS Californian was able to find coal when the country was in the middle of a coal strike and then there was the fact that when it had left London there was no passengers on board. Instead there was was a small cargo of of blankets and warm clothes was this perhaps for the passengers and crew from Titanic. For some reason Captain Lord did not waste anytime in getting out of the port and into the North Atlantic and the fact he didn't sell any tickets for the voyage to Boston when there would have been hundreds of people wanting to cross the Atlantic makes this seem more than likely that there had been a plan put in place to claim compensation on the ship.
With Captain Lord being in a rush to get into the North Atlantic Ocean he had left the wireless chart in which he needed, behind. Of course the SS Californian was only one of six ships that would have been in a 140 mile radius of Titanic.
Something else that is unusual is that, when the supposed Olympic was taken out of service in 1935 (arriving in Jarrow, UK on October 13th 1935 to be stripped and broken down) part of the wood panelling and other parts including the Aft first class staircase, was taken and used in the White Swan Hotel, Alnwick, UK.
The panelling used shows number on the frame that says 401 this was the number that was given to Titanic when it was being built in Belfast, Ireland. However, if the panelling had been from Olympic the number would have been 400 not 401. Does this prove that the two ships were actually switched or is it just perhaps a strange coincidence that both these numbers appear on the frame of the wood panelling which belonged to Olympic or was this done on purpose to help with the cover up of the switch?
Another thing is when you look at the at anything to do with advertising for the Titanic and White Star Line for that matter, the ship that was always used was Olympic and its interior every time they needed pictures.
The picture of the ship is the same one used for Olympic.
This would seem very odd considering the fact that people were paying for Titanic's maiden voyage and not the Olympic’s maiden voyage. Was this done deliberately to help with the switch?
Some evidence of the switch