The Titanic 'Switch' Theory; Exposed

Titanic: Facts & Fallacies


Latest update: 27th December 2021

The Titanic story has something for everyone and in so doing entranced generations for more than a century. This has resulted in the creation of a large number of myths and legends that have no grounding in fact. This regularly updated page endeavours to establish known facts and fallacies involving the Titanic, with a quick access menu so it can be linked to directly.

Any corrections, suggestions or feedback please use the website contact form.

Quick Access Menu:

Overall structure:

A. Main Story
B. Design and Construction
C. Maiden Voyage
D. Disaster
E. Post-disaster
F. Wreck

A. Main Story

1. ”Wreck of the Titan" was not a prophecy
2. The Titanic was not 'switched' with the Olympic
3. Sinking not orchestrated by JP Morgan to stop the Federal Reserve
4. Exact passenger and crew numbers are known

B. Design and Construction

1. Titanic was not financed with US money
2. Titanic was not built with faulty steel or poor quality rivets
3. Titanic was said to be "unsinkable"
4. Titanic's rudder was not too small
5. Titanic had a three bladed centre propeller
6. Titanic had more lifeboats than legally required
7. Titanic was not cursed because its hull number read "No Pope"
8. Titanic was both RMS Titanic and SS Titanic
9. You cannot compare the Titanic with a modern cruise liner

C. Maiden Voyage

1. It was not necessarily Captain Smith 's last voyage
2. Titanic was not fully booked
3. There were cancellations - but nothing unusual
4. There was no cursed mummy in the hold
5. Coal bunker fire had no major role in the disaster
6. Kate Odell's photograph is the last known photo taken of Titanic
7. Titanic was not trying to set a speed record
8. There is no evidence Bruce Ismay forced Captain Smith to go faster
9. A cancelled boat drill on Sunday would not necessarily had any effect
10. Captain Smith and his officers did not "ignore" ice warnings
11. "Lost" Mesaba message was actually within known area of ice
12. Titanic was not travelling at "reckless speed"
13. Captain Smith did not "turn the corner" late
14. "Missing" binoculars would not have changed the situation
15. Titanic's "shut up" wireless message was not rude

D. Disaster

1. A mirage did not cause the disaster
2. Solar storm would have little impact on the disaster
3. Head On Collision would not necessarily have been better
4. There was no steering error
5. There was no full astern order
6. The Captain and his officers were not drunk
7. Captain Smith was not in a daze
8. Titanic was not the first ship to use the "SOS" distress call
9. J Bruce Ismay was not a "brute" or "coward"
10. Third class passengers were separated but not locked behind gates
11. Stoker Frank "Lucky" Tower did not survive three sinkings
12. Stewardess Violet Jessop did survive Olympic, Titanic and Britannic
13. Black woman did not die aboard Titanic
14. An officer possibly shot passengers and then himself
15. Distress rockets Titanic fired into the air were not the wrong colour
16. Extra lifeboats would have saved more but certainly not everyone
17. Californian could not have saved everyone
18. The Mount Temple was not the "mystery ship"
19. The last song was most likely Nearer My God to Thee
20. The Titanic was openly reported as splitting in two
21. There was no heroic dog called Rigel
22. No one could have survived on the iceberg
22. The time difference when Titanic sank

E. Post-disaster

1. The most likely photograph of the iceberg was from the “Bremen
2. Titanic's lifeboats disappeared after December 1912
3. Titanic's lifeboats were not put on the Olympic
4. Titanic Inquiries were a whitewash
5. Third ship unofficially "Gigantic", officially "Britannic"
6. Lightoller was not a "war criminal"
7. Titanic was not the main contributing factor to White Star's demise
8. The scrapping of the Olympic was inevitable
9. Wallace Hartley's violin was likely strapped to his body when recovered
10. "Titanic II" is unlikely to ever sail; Romandie is in dry dock

F. Wreck

1. The exact location of the wreck site is established
2. The Titanic was possibly discovered before 1985
3. The Titanic discovery was part of a undercover Navy operation
4. Shoes are not necessarily where bodies lay
5. Wreck cannot be raised



A. Main Story


1. "Wreck of the Titan" was not a prophecy

Much is often made of a 'prophetic' story released 14 years prior to the sinking. First and foremost, the author, Morgan Robertson did not call himself a psychic or a prophet. He was simply an American author of short stories and novels and as the son of a ship's captain it is not surprising that he wrote a short novel about a ship called the "SS Titan" in 1898 entitled "Futility, or the Wreck of the Titan".

There are indeed many similarities -the ship is deemed unsinkable, carries insufficient lifeboats, hits an iceberg in the North Atlantic in April resulting in a large loss of life. However what few are quick to point out are also the many differences - for example Robertson's ship has a paddlewheel and was on its third (not maiden) voyage. "Titan" was also a popular name at the time, and Robertson clearly knew shipbuilding trends and made some reasonable guesses. In another book about submarines he wrote about early use of a "periscope" which shows he was keenly interested in new technology. But it is also of note that he changed some details in the book post-Titanic disaster, realising that there was profitability in the similarity.

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2. The Titanic was not 'switched' with her sister the Olympic

A sadly very popular but deceptive conspiracy theory, is that the Titanic was swapped with her older sister ship the Olympic in an elaborate insurance scam. Firstly, it must be said that the Titanic sinking was no different than a jet plane crash today (Titanic was the equivalent of a jet liner today i.e. used in the mass transportation and cross continental immigration of people - it was not a "cruise" liner). As is widely accepted by airlines, there is no such thing as a "good crash" for airlines - and neither would there be for the White Star Line. A simple fire would have sufficed - and be far easier to execute.

But more specifically, this claim is patently false for several key reasons:

1. There is no financial motive as the White Star Line partly self-insured their ships and was in profit at the time
2. The wreck has been positively identified as the Titanic - it has her name, builder's ID and her unique design all testify to her as 100% Titanic
3. There is no evidence of a 'switch' - no document, photograph or eyewitness testimony despite the mammoth task involved considering the large number of major and minor structural differences.
4. There are many false claims made about the 'switch theory -mostly incorrect photograph interpretation - which have been exposed and debunked.

More information here: www.titanicswitch.com

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3. The sinking was not orchestrated by JP Morgan to stop the Federal Reserve

It is claimed in the theory that JP Morgan "killed off" his three main competitors to the Federal Reserve who also happened to be passengers aboard the Titanic - Straus, Guggenheim and Astor - by sinking the ship. There are however 2 key main issues:

1. There is zero evidence of such a plan, despite the fact it would be hugely complex.
2. Astor and Guggenheim did not publicly give their position on the Federal Reserve and Straus was actually in *favour* of it, sinking this theory completely.

More information here: https://www.titanicswitch.com/federal_reserve.html

Also check here Reuters Fact Check team article:
https://www.reuters.com/article/factcheck-titanic-conspiracy-idUSL1N2LF18G

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4. Exact passenger and crew numbers are known

It is common for many books and documentaries to state that "705" survived while "1500" died. Neither of these numbers is correct. After extensive research (notably by Phil Gowan, Lester Mitcham, Hermann Soldner) the exact numbers have been ascertained to be:

Total number of people on board – 2,208
Total number of survivors - 712
Total number of perished - 1,496

Incidentally, these numbers are in line with what Captain Rostron of the Carpathia estimated - he calculated 711 survivors. For more information see also the books “On a Sea of Glass” and “Report Into the Loss of the SS Titanic: A Centennial Reappraisal”.



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B. Design and Construction

1. Titanic was not financed with US money

A common misconception is that the Titanic was built using US money (i.e. via J.P.Morgan or IMM). However author Mark Chirnside's research shows this is false:

"White Star was not supported by IMM's resources. IMM was supported by White Star. Construction was financed through capital raised in the United Kingdom. This article explains in detail how: White Star financed the ‘Olympic’ class ships and others by borrowing the money from largely United Kingdom-based investors, mortgaging its own fleet; White Star borrowed the money, rather than IMM, to take advantage of its stronger financial position and lower borrowing costs; The new ships provided additional security underlying IMM’s own debt, without increasing the money IMM itself borrowed; Dividends paid by White Star from 1908 to 1912 helped IMM meet its debt interest payments."

More information:
https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/olympic-titanic-britannic-an-issue-of-finance.html

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2. Titanic was not built with faulty steel or poor quality rivets

The phrase "amateurs built Noah's ark, but professionals the Titanic" is supposed to highlight how even professionals can get things 'wrong'. However, those who propose that Titanic was built with inferior quality materials ("brittle steel") or faulty rivets forget several key issues:

1. Her older sister, the Olympic, was built of the same quality materials and survived several collisions and yet had an enviable career until being scrapped in 1935 - in fact she was called "old reliable." Indeed the White Star Line tender, the Nomadic, built from the same materials, still exists down till this day! Author Mark Chirnside also notes: "Not many people realise that the steel used was tested and passed according to the standards of Lloyds classification society, even though White Star liners were not classed at Lloyds. Nor is it widely known that H&W opted for a particularly high specification for the material used in particular parts of the ship such as the rudder."

2. Scientific tests are often inaccurate or biased, or based on faulty or incomplete assumptions. For example Titanic researcher and Navy wreck explorer Parks Stephenson noted about one test trying to prove Titanic's "brittle" steel and faulty rivets the following issues:

* It is stated that Titanic was in freezing -2ºC water from Queenstown to her sinking off the Grand Banks but neglects to show that the Titanic was in the warmer Gulf Stream for most of her journey, entering the -2ºC water in the Labrador Current only 4 hours before the collision.

* There is no discussion on how long it takes for cold to affect the granular structure of Titanic's steel plating to such brittleness, nor any mention of the effect of the 38ºC+ temperatures of the operating boiler room on the inside of the steel plating.

* There is no discussion of the thickness of Titanic's steel and how long it would take the outside cold waters of the Labrador Current to fundamentally affect the ductility of 1"-thick forged steel plating that is simultaneously being affected by hot ambient air on the dry side.

* In my discussions with the professors of the University of Washington Materials Lab prior to conducting my own ductile-brittle experiments on a faithfully-recreated section of a riveted joint in Titanic's hull, their conclusion was that the mixing of temperatures, the thickness of the steel and the short time that Titanic was in the cold current most likely did not alter the molecular properties of her steel plating. Images of the wreck seem to bear this out...there are folds in Titanic's steel plating caused by the impact with the ocean floor that demonstrate the steel's ductility in those cold waters on the day of her sinking.

* Titanic's rivets were not made of "junk" - the historical fact is that the majority of Titanic's hull rivets were made of steel, in addition to the wrought-iron ones used where the pneumatic riveter could not reach, meaning there would be differing characteristics at play.

* All 3 of my tests with riveted seam samples (reproducing the exact pattern used in Titanic at the J-K strake landing) failed to reproduce the so-called "unzipping" effect. When one rivet failed, the surrounding rivets picked up and spread out the load. With a horizontal load imposed on the test samples (as would have been experienced during a side-swipe brush with the iceberg), only one rivet failed, the rest held their strength. Where we experienced a multiple failure of rivets (but not because of "unzipping") was when we subjected the sample to a vertical shearing stress (as would have been experienced in a grounding on the iceberg).

For more information please check: "A ‘Rivetting’ Article" by Rudi Newman:
https://www.academia.edu/2441774/Another_Rivetting_Article..._-_an_Historical_Rejoinder_to_Metallurgical_Studies_of_the_Titanic_Disaster

Other references:
https://titanichistoricalsociety.org/titanics-brittle-steel/

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3. Titanic was said to be "unsinkable"

The September 1910 White Star publicity brochure
clearly states that the ships were designed to be
"unsinkable".

There are some who claim that the Titanic was never called "unsinkable" - but that claim is false. The term "unsinkable" or "practically unsinkable" were often used at the time on many ships in both the White Star Line and rival company Cunard prior to Titanic. For example for the Cunard's Mauretania in 1906 - 6 years before Titanic:

"Indeed, the subdivision by watertight bulkheads and decks is the most elaborate that could be devised for a passenger vessel, the number of separate watertight compartments -- 175 -- rendering the ship practically unsinkable."
- The Shipbuilder, Autumn 1906, "The Cunard Liner 'Mauretania'."

The Shipbuilder, Autumn 1906, "The Cunard Liner 'Mauretania'

If Titanic was allegedly "cursed" by being labelled "unsinkable" then why did that not also apply to the Mauretania?

In regards to Titanic, the reality is that it was referred to as "unsinkable" as early as 1910. For example, the September 1910 White Star publicity brochure that describes the ongoing construction and future amenities of both the Olympic and Titanic includes the sentence on page 4: "these two wonderful vessels are designed to be unsinkable."

For more information and further references please see George Behe’s “How the Titanic Became Unsinkable” at http://wormstedt.com/GeorgeBehe/page2.htm

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4. Titanic's rudder was not too small

The claim that Titanic's rudder was too small is often used in an attempt to attribute blame to her design. Actually her rudder was not too small, both in terms of its comparison to other ships of her size and also as borne out by her sister the Olympic which did not have her rudder replaced or altered after the Titanic disaster and went on to have a very successful career.

The Olympic's rudder braced for
launching day.

Titanic author and researcher Jonathan Smith states: "The rudder, or lack of a decent size rudder, is a myth. Titanic's turning circle was aided by both the rudder and her hull size. Olympic had exactly the same set-up as Titanic and both ships passed tests which were carried out by the Board of Trade. Even Olympic out-manoeuvred enemy attacks during the war with that same rudder set-up…. I trust Olympic's 24 year career as confirmation the set up was reliable and worked…. The only basis people use that the rudder was "too small" is due to what happened to Titanic. It wasn't brought up beforehand. The fact of the matter is that people scrape the bottom of the barrel to find a cause for blame. The rudder being "too small" is one. They forget to mention that the rudder was attached to a hull that was 850ft in length at the waterline moving through water at 26mph with a displacement of tonnage exceeding 50,000+.The Olympic-class rudder appears to have a little more surface coverage compared to the rudders of Mauretania and Lusitania and their stern and propulsion design."

Another Titanic author Samuel Halpern notes that Captain Smith said the Olympic steered "very well" but also a difference in size could have resulted in an entirely different outcome: "If Titanic's turning response time would have been slightly shorter than it really was, then the bow would have cleared the berg causing the berg to strike further aft, probably opening up multiple compartments in the machinery sections, thus creating an instability leading to a significant list and eventual capsizing."

More information: https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-rudder.html

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5. Titanic had a three-bladed centre propeller

Titanic's centre propeller as visualised by Vasilije Ristović.

For many years it was assumed that Titanic's centre propeller was 4 bladed, simply because photographs of the Olympic showed her centre propeller had four blades. There is no photograph of Titanic's centre propeller. However, the Olympic was the exception, almost all other ships of the time had a 3 bladed centre propeller. Recent research and discoveries made by authors Mark Chirnside and Sam Halpern have confirmed that Titanic's centre propeller was indeed three bladed.

Mark Chirnside concludes: "Essentially, H&W’s own records state that Titanic had a 3-bladed centre propeller. (There’s no evidence for 4 and no conflict of evidence: 4 was simply an outdated assumption which became accepted as fact over the decades before the H&W evidence was available.) As human beings, we’re all subject to familiarity bias. In other words, we only demand photographic or other additional proof of a 3-bladed centre propeller because of the existing belief to the contrary. The evidence we have is very clear."

Bill Sauder explores this question here (YouTube video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D92IKrURvmg

Here is a dossier with the evidence: https://www.markchirnside.co.uk/TitanicThreeBladedCentrePropeller.html

Other references:
http://www.markchirnside.co.uk/TitanicThreeBladedCentrePropeller.html
https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/mystery-titanic-central-propeller.html
https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-centre-propeller-new-evidence.html
https://www.titanicology.com/Titanica/ObjectOnTheBarge.pdf

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6. Titanic had more lifeboats than legally required

The lack of lifeboats is often referred to as a main cause of the large loss of life and indeed Titanic did not have enough lifeboats to carry the entire complement of passengers and crew. However there are three key points worth noting:

1. Titanic had more lifeboats than legally required. The White Star Line actually exceeded the number required. According to author Mark Chirnside in his article "Titanic's Lifeboats: Fact & Fiction" (2019): "The number of lifeboats was increased between the production of that design concept in July 1908 and Olympic and Titanic’s completion in 1911 and 1912. Another change was that the number of passengers and crew was reduced, so that Titanic’s lifeboat capacity (expressed as a proportion of the maximum passengers and crew she could carry) increased by about 39 per cent. The lifeboats supplied exceeded the requirements of the regulator, the British Board of Trade." Source: https://www.markchirnside.co.uk/pdfs/Titanic_Lifeboat_FalseClaims.pdf

2. Lifeboats for all passengers was not considered necessary prior to the Titanic disaster - it was thought that lifeboats were for primarily transferring people from one ship to another in the event of a disaster, rather than holding everyone aboard at sea. Ships like Titanic were almost always on busy routes where there would be dozens of other vessels nearby at any given time so the concept was that in the event of an evacuation all passengers would be transferred. The Titanic sinking of course changed that mindset.

3. It must also be noted when discussing the alleged lack of lifeboats that not all of Titanic's 20 lifeboats were launched in time anyway - collapsibles A and B were not launched, but floated off the boat deck.

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7. Titanic was not cursed because its hull number read "No Pope"

The "No Pope" legend falters on two key facts:

1. Titanic's hull number was not "390904" (the number which viewed as a mirror image spells out "NO POPE"). Her hull did not have a number - her Board of Trade designation was 131,428 and her builders ID, the yard number assigned to her by Harland & Wolff was 401.

2. Virtually all of Harland and Wolff’s workforce was Protestant, not Catholic, and therefore would not have been “spooked” to the point of refusing to work due to a ‘NO POPE’ message.

Reference: https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/pope-and-circumstance/

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8. Titanic was both RMS Titanic and SS Titanic

Titanic lifeboat nameplate shows "S.S.Titanic" (Source: Liverpool Museums)

There are many who claim that Titanic was never "S.S. Titanic" ("Steam ship") but should always be written "RMS Titanic" (Royal Mail Ship). This is incorrect. Titanic was always "SS Titanic" (for example her lifeboats carried that designation: "SS Titanic"). Technically a ship could use the RMS prefix only while contracted to carry the Royal Mail, and if that contract finished would revert to a standard designation such as "SS". So Titanic was only RMS while under contract to Royal Mail. Ultimately she was always SS Titanic. The truth of this is borne out by the fact that all of her lifeboat nameplates were written as "S.S. Titanic" - just in case they lost the Royal Mail contract.

Reference: https://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/stories/carpathias-role-remembered

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9. You cannot compare the Titanic with a modern cruise liner

This popular meme is an unfair and illogical comparison

There are two key reasons why a comparison with a cruise liner is unfair and illogical:

1. Titanic was not a cruise liner. She was a passenger liner. There is a clear difference. A passenger liner - much like jetliners of today - are used to transport people internationally. In 1912 this was mostly for immigration and emigration purposes, as well as carrying mail (Titanic was a Royal Mail ship) and cargo. They often work on tight schedules and use main port routes. A cruise ship is not used for general transportation and immigration purposes - it is primarily used as a pleasure cruise, with a less strict schedule and routes determined by scenery and multiple ports of call. This is an entirely different objective to Titanic.

2. The scale in the "meme" is incorrect. The Photoshop artist has not taken distance into account and simply overlayed two images of the ships. In reality, the cruise liner would have to be at least 1000 feet further away from the camera and hence be much smaller than the image suggests. The reality of this can be seen by the size of the people on the cruise ship - if this image was to scale they would be giants.

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C. Maiden Voyage

1. It was not necessarily Captain Smith's last voyage

Captain Smith was aged 62 at the time of the Titanic's maiden voyage - although when he signed on he incorrectly stated he was 59. In 1910 Cunard put an age limit of 60 years for captains of their new ships Mauretania and Lusitania. However, this was not a legal requirement. Newspaper reports from 1911 had indicated he was due for retirement. The New York Times of June 6, 1911 reported: "Capt. E.J. Smith, R.N.R. the Commodore of the White Star Line, who is to command the new mammoth liner Olympic, will retire at the end of the present year, it is understood, as he will have reached his age limit. He will be relieved by Capt. H.J. Haddock of the Oceanic."

An April 10th, 1912 newspaper report denying reports
Captain Smith would retire after Titanic's maiden voyage.

However the New York office of the White Star Line announced on April 10th 1912,that Smith would remain in command of the Titanic until "a larger and finer vessel" was commissioned, which would have been the Britannic. The Halifax Morning Chronicle, 9th April, 1912 carried the same story, that Captain Smith would remain in command of Titanic "until the company completes a larger and finer steamer."

Hence we can conclude that Smith was on the verge of retirement for at least a year or so prior to Titanic - but he was not necessarily going to retire immediately after Titanic's voyage - that is a "what if" scenario we will never know the answer to. Perhaps Smith had not given the White Star Line his official notice. Or perhaps, since Captain Smith's name guaranteed bookings, the White Star Line might even have encouraged the rumours of retirement, not denying them until the last moment, in order to benefit from bookings by passengers not wanting to miss out on the famous EJ's 'last' voyage.

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2. Titanic was not fully booked

According to research by author Mark Chirnside, Titanic sailed half full: "There was accommodation available in all three classes for additional passengers. Using the best documentation we have available today, thanks to a number of international researchers’ hard work over many years, it appears Titanic had 324 first, 284 second and 709 third class passengers on board for a total of 1,317 passengers. By comparison, she had capacity for 787 first, 676 second and 1,008 third class passengers for a total of 2,471 passengers.2 This means that she sailed with about 53 per cent of her passenger accommodation occupied" ("Titanic: She Sailed Only Half Full?" By Mark Chirnside)

However, as Chirnside explains, there was no reason Titanic would have been fully booked as April was considered a low season for westbound traffic.

Reference: https://www.markchirnside.co.uk/pdfs/TitanicMaidenVoyageHalfFull.pdf

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3. There were cancellations - but nothing unusual

There are claims that "more than fifty first class passengers cancelled at the last minute" often with the implication that they knew something was going to happen, or even more extreme, that they were friends and business associates of JP Morgan, thus tying it into a Federal Reserve conspiracy.

Firstly, there were of course last minute cancellations, as is the norm for the time; similar happened to the Olympic's maiden voyage. However author Mark Chirnside writes: "When the Titanic sailed on her maiden voyage in April 1912, the number of passengers that she was carrying was very similar to the number that was booked onto Olympic for her maiden voyage the year before. It’s natural that there will be cancellations and while more than fifty might sound like a high number it’s hard to see that there is much significance in this fact as regards the switch theory... If a number of people had cancelled because of some sort of fear of a switch or insurance scam going on, it seems very likely that they would have spoken out after the disaster. There is no record of anyone doing so."

There is also often confusion over the crew - with some claiming that a large number of Titanic's crew signed off at the last minute. However this is confused with the local runners from Belfast, who would have returned to Belfast after Titanic's delivery trip, rather than journey on an international route, away from their normal waters.

See also:
https://www.titanicswitch.com/claims.html#20
https://www.titanicswitch.com/claims.html#21

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4. There was no cursed mummy in the hold

The "mummy" is still on
display in the British Musuem.

A legend states that the coffin of Princess of Amen-Ra, which had caused a number of mysterious deaths, was taken from the British Museum by an American archaeologist and shipped aboard Titanic. However there is no mention of any mummy in Titanic's detailed cargo list and perhaps even more conclusively the mummy which the story refers is still there in the British Museum to this day.

According to Snopes "this ghost story was concocted around the turn of the century by two Englishmen named William Stead and Douglas Murray... This ghost story made the leap from London to the Titanic after William Stead went down with the ill-fated ship on 15 April 1912... the coffin lid of the Priestess of Amun is still on display at the British Museum, just as it was when Stead and Murray created their infamous “cursed mummy” tale a century ago. Look for exhibit BM No. 22542, in the Second Egyptian Room." (https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/mummy-titantic/)

More information:
https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/Y_EA22542

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5. Coal bunker fire had no major role in the disaster

It has been widely known since 1912 there was a coal bunker fire aboard Titanic but it wasn't until a documentary appeared in 2017 (entitled "Titanic: The New Evidence") that there was a resurgence of interest. Despite what the documentary claimed, actually the coal bunker fire had little to no effect on the disaster. Notably a photograph allegedly showing a mark does not align with the coal bunker and even more importantly - there are no other photographs that show this mark in the same position.

For more information on the reality of the coal bunker fire, see here: https://www.titanicswitch.com/coalbunker_fire.html

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6. Kate Odell's photograph is the last known photo taken of Titanic

There have been many candidates offered as the "final photograph of Titanic". However, according to artist and Titanic visual historian Ken Marschall, the photograph below "is the last one known of the ship, taken from a tender heading back to Queenstown by first-class passenger Kate Odell who had just disembarked with her family and others."

Günter Bäbler, the president of the Swiss Titanic Society, agrees with Marschall’s analysis.

The last known photograph of Titanic was taken by
first-class passenger Kate Odell.
(Click image to enlarge)

More information here: https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/final-photograph-titanic/

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7. Titanic was not trying to set a speed record

Titanic was not capable of setting a record and certainly not the Blue Riband, a metaphorical award for the highest average speed in a crossing of the Atlantic Ocean. Titanic's top speed was 23 knots. Rival Cunard liners the Lusitania and Mauretania could both exceed 25 or 26 knots - so there was no competition. The White Line was aiming for luxury rather than speed.

Additionally, chairman and managing director of the White Star Line Bruce Ismay testified at the United States Inquiry that "we would not attempt to arrive in New York at the lightship before 5 o'clock on Wednesday morning... there was nothing to be gained by arriving at New York any earlier than that." (US Inquiry) However, contrary to this, it is quite possible that they were trying to beat her older sister Olympic's maiden voyage record. Indeed, the facts show that Titanic was being run for a Tuesday night arrival with an average speed of over 22 knots which if maintained would have meant a Tuesday night arrival. See the chapter “She was built for a Wednesday Ship” in Mark Chirnside and Sam Halpern’s article “Olympic and Titanic: Maiden Voyage Mysteries” (https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/maiden-voyage-mysteries.html)

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8. There is no evidence Bruce Ismay forced Captain Smith to go faster

Bruce Ismay was chairman and managing director of the White Star Line and travelled in the capacity of a passenger aboard Titanic. After he survived there was much speculation as to the role he played in the disaster including the insinuation that he persuaded Captain Smith to go faster for an earlier arrival. As already pointed out in the point above, Ismay testifed testified at the US Inquiry that there was no attempted to arrive early and that he had "never" consulted with Captain Smith about the movement of the ship, or he with him, "but what we had arranged to do was that we would not attempt to arrive in New York at the lightship before 5 o'clock on Wednesday morning...But that was arranged before we left Queenstown." (US Inquiry)

A primary source of evidence used to promote the idea that Smith was unduly influenced by Bruce Ismay is a conversation overheard by First Class passenger Elizabeth Lines, who gave a deposition at a liability hearing in November 1913 in which she said she heard Smith and Ismay discussing the "day's run" and most pointedly "We will beat the Olympic and get in to New York on Tuesday.”"

However, it must also be noted that we cannot be sure that Lines saw Ismay talking to Captain Smith - while she "knew him [Ismay] by sight" she admitted she "had never seen Captain Smith" before and it was a table steward who told her it was Smith.

The reality of the interaction between Smith and Ismay is pure speculation and likely has little bearing on the matter as it was standard practice to sail at speed anyway - what Smith did was not unusual for the time.

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9. A cancelled boat drill on Sunday would not necessarily had any effect

Indeed a "drill" or muster for the crew was planned for 11 a.m. Sunday 14th April aboard Titanic but did not take place, for reasons that are unknown although Lookout Archie Jewel later said it was due to the cold wind.

But first, it is incorrect to say that there was no "drill" aboard Titanic - actually there were several, including during her Board of Trade sea trials in Belfast and in Southampton prior to departure. Titanic's officers and crew were involved in these - including on the morning of her departure from Southampton. Additionally, it seems that aboard the Olympic, Captain Smith performed most of this drills while in port in New York on a Sunday.

Second, it is important to note that rather than a "drill" it was actually a "muster" of the crew at their assigned lifeboat stations and did not involve any passengers, so its effect on the actual evacuation that took place later that night is limited. Some of the crew involved in the muster would have been missing, since the stewards would need to look for and rouse passengers, resulting in an entirely different set of crew and circumstances.

More information here https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/the-forgotten-drills-aboard-titanic.html

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10. Captain Smith and his officers did not "ignore" ice warnings

A common myth is that Captain Smith and his officers ignored ice warnings. Actually, they had received several messages in the days leading up to Sunday April 14th and had plotted the reported positions. Specifically, Smith received a message from the Baltic that ice lay almost directly in their path in Lat 41° 51'N, 49° 52'W.

Smith and his officers, as with highly experienced mariners of their time, were familiar with operating in the vicinity of ice and relied upon the longitude of the ice area rather than the latitude, and also upon the action of the sea against the ice to give warning in good visibility. Based on this Captain Smith briefed his officers, including Second Officer Lightoller during lunch time on Sunday the 14th that they would be meeting ice. On the night in question, they had calculated they would meet ice by at least 11pm. Junior Sixth Officer James Moody was in fact given the task of calculating the proximity of ice and his conclusions were that they would meet ice between 9.30pm and 11pm. Consequently extra precautions were made. For example, at 7.15pm, First Officer Murdoch requested Lamp Trimmer Samuel Hemming to 'go forward see the fore scuttle hatch closed as we are in the vicinity of ice, and there is a glow coming from that…I want everything dark before the bridge.’ The lookouts in the crows nest were also ordered to keep a sharp lookout for ice.

Additionally, Captain Smith maintained a "southern track" a lane that would normally ensure they were south of any ice, and so likely to avoid anticipated hazards as per the ice messages. But Smith could never have imagined that he would meet with such rare weather conditions (flat calm, no moon, no swell) that would essentially make the iceberg invisible. For that, he cannot be blamed.

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11. "Lost" Mesaba message was actually within known area of ice

There are some who claim, including Second Officer Ligthtoller, that an ice warning from the SS Mesaba was not delivered to Captain Smith and if they had received it disaster could have been averted. However there is no evidence that the message was not received by Smith or his officers as Senior Wireless officer Jack Phillips, Captain Smith and First Officer Murdoch were all lost. Perhaps it was received. And even if it wasn't delivered, the plotted coordinates in the ice message were actually within the known area of ice that Smith and his officers already knew about and had calculated they would reach between 9.30pm and 11pm. The "lost" SS Mesaba message is hence a red herring.

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12. Titanic was not travelling at "reckless speed" - it was normal for the time.

Captain Smith and his officers are often criticised for travelling at almost full speed despite having received ice warnings, but actually this was the norm for the time - but only when the weather was clear and there was good visibility, weather conditions that existed on Sunday the 14th of April. Captain Smith was not the only master to do this - it was common practice. Maintaining high speed was for several critical reasons:

* In 1912 ships such as the Titanic were not cruise ships - they were passenger liners for mass transportation of people and cargo, much like jet aircrafts today, and had strict schedules to keep. Hence, time was of the essence.

* Speed aided manoeuvrability. Long ships such as the Titanic turned faster at speed and so it was considered prudent to maintain speed so as to avoid ice or other obstacles.

* Maintaining speed also meant exiting the danger zoon quicker and thus being exposed to risk for less time.

Captain Smith was not a reckless captain. The two previous incidents (the Olympic-Hawke collision and Titanic-New York near collision) took place when his ship was under compulsory pilotage (Trinity House Pilot George Bowyer was in command on both occasions). And indeed, according to author Mark Chirnisde we have an example of how Captain Smith behaved as the commander of the largest ship in the world on her maiden voyage, from June 1911. On the Sunday, the Olympic encountered fog and was slowed down for a few hours, delaying her 1 1/2 hours in total. If similar had happend to Titanic almost undoubtedly Smith would have slowed the Titanic down.

When Lightoller was told at the British inquiry that it "was recklessness, utter recklessness, in view of the conditions to proceed at 21 ½ knots" Lightoller replied that "then all I can say is that recklessness applies to practically every commander and every ship crossing the Atlantic Ocean."

As an example of high speed in less than favourable conditions, take Captain Arthur Rostron of the Carpathia - he raced to into the danger region, putting everyone on his vessel at high risk, narrowly missing collisons with icebergs. As Captain David G Brown noted "Rostron went full speed directly into the field of ice and icebergs with full knowledge that hitting one of those bergs had just sunk a larger, better compartmented vessel than the one he commanded. Nothing gave Rostron the right to risk the lives of his passengers and crew that night. In fact, his primary responsibility was to protect those people from harm by prudent navigation of his vessel. The lives of the people of Titanic were Captain Smith’s responsibility, not Rostron’s." (Encyclopedia Titanica)

The fact that Rostron ended up saving the 712 of Titanic's passengers means most overlook the risks he took - but they were the same risks that Captain Smith made and were simply the norm for the time. It took the Titanic disaster to change the mindset and to introduce safer sea practices and regulations.

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13. Captain Smith did not "turn the corner" late

Captain Smith did not take Titanic 10 miles southwest of the Corner point before turning for New York as Officers Pitman and Boxhall later said. According to author Samuel Halpern, that story came about as a result of an erroneous SOS position.

See: http://titanicology.com/Titanica/PitmansCorner.html

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14. "Missing" binoculars would not have changed the situation

An often repeated claim is that if the lookouts had been supplied with binoculars they would have seen the iceberg sooner and disaster could have been reverted. This is not correct, for some basic reasons.

Binoculars recovered from the Titanic wreck. Some
sources, such as the Shutterstock library, claim they
were recovered from the Crows Nest..

Firstly, the binoculars were not "missing" as is often claimed. Actually there was at least one pair of binoculars on the bridge. During the British Inquiry, Lightoller noted that they had binoculars on the bridge "a pair for each senior officer...and the Commander, and one pair for the bridge, commonly termed pilot glasses." Lookout Frederick Fleet even admitted this during the US Inquiry when acknowledged that he was an 'officer on the bridge had glasses and was using them.'

Secondly, binoculars (or "glasses" as they were often called) were not used to spot objects, but to identify them once spotted with the human eye. The reason for this is perfectly simple and is due to the fact that binoculars dramatically reduce your field of vision from 180 degrees to just a few degrees, resulting in the loss of peripheral and situational awareness if kept constantly to the eye. Essentially, they create a "tunnel vision" effect that reduces field of view. Lookouts instead would scan the area with their naked eyes and then, if available, use binoculars to identify an object once spotted.

Lookout Frederick Fleet once again admitted to this procedure during the US Inquiry saying that he would not have his eyes to the glasses most of the time explaining "if we fancied we saw anything on the horizon, then we would have the glasses to make sure." At the British Inquiry Fleet was also pushed on this matter and eventually stated:

Sir Robert Finlay: Do you agree with this. This is what Symons says: “You use your own eyes as regards the picking up anything, but you want the glasses then to make certain of that object.” Do you agree with that?
Fleet - Yes.

The other lookouts also agreed:

Do you mean you believe in your own eyesight better than you do in the glasses?
Yes.
Lookout George Hogg (B17518)

As a rule, do I understand you prefer to trust your naked eye to begin with?
Well, yes, you trust your naked eye.
Lookout George Symons (B11994)

This was not just Fleet and Hogg's opinion, but confirmed in other testimony during the inquiries:

Do you think it is desirable to have them?
No, I do not.
Captain Richard Jones, Master, S.S. Canada (B23712)

We have never had them.
Captain Frederick Passow, Master, S.S. St. Paul (B21877)

I would never think of giving a man in the lookout a pair of glasses.
Captain Stanley Lord, Master, S.S. Californian (U. S. Day 8)

I have never believed in them.
Captain Benjamin Steele, Marine Superintendent at Southampton for the White Star Line (B21975)

“Did not believe in any look-out man having any glasses at all.”
Sir Ernest Shackleton, Antarctic explorer

1846. They are a source of danger, Sir. They spoil the look-out.
21847. How is that?
The look-out man when he sees a light if he has glasses is more liable to look at it and see what kind of a ship it is. That is the officer’s business. The look-out man’s business is to look out for other lights.
Captain Bertram Hayes, Master of the White Star Line’s Adriatic

In summary Second Officer Lightoller when he was asked if binoculars would not have helped the lookouts identify what they saw as an iceberg sooner, replied: “He might be able to identify it, but we do not wish him to identify it. All we want him to do is to strike the bells.” (British Inquiry, B14293)

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15. Titanic's "shut up" wireless message was not rude

A popular scene in Titanic films is when the Californian's only wireless operator, Cyril Evans, is told to "shut up" by Titanic's chief wireless operator Jack Phillips. Narratively, it sets off an intriguing set of events in which the Californian's wireless is turned off - hence missing Titanic's later distress calls.

However the "shut up" message is often misconstrued as Phillips rudely insulting Evans, when actually that is not entirely accurate. It is correct that such a message was sent. At 11:07 on Sunday 14th of April 1912 Evans sent the following message to the Titanic:

Evans (Californian): “MGY this is MWL. We are stopped and surrounded by ice.”
Phillips (Titanic): "Shut up! Shut up!! I'm working Cape Race! Keep out!"

Indeed Phillips was busy "working" Cape Race. The wireless had broken down and a backlog of messages had accumulated. However the term often focused on - "shut up" is not as it seems. Phillips had used the code "DDD" which is translated "shut-up" but not with the same aggressive meaning that it has in normal conversational English. It was procedural code between operators meaning to 'give way' to ensure efficiency and was not meant to be interpreted as an offensive insult. Especially since all messages could be heard by any radio it is unlikely that Phillips would broadcast a message intended to be rude.

It must also be noted that on top of the backlog of messages, the Californian's message would have come across in Phillip's headphones as much louder than the faint transmissions from Cape Race, so may well have given him a jump. Evans was in effect interrupting Phillip's work. Author Tim Maltin explains: "When Evans interrupted Phillips, the loud spark from the Californian, lying only about 10 miles to the northward of Titanic, blasted in Phillips’ ears as he was listening to the much quieter signals from Cape Race, 400 miles away. This painful interruption would have obliterated the communication Phillips was sending, meaning he would have to begin his current sentence again. Phillips instinctively told Californian to ‘Shut up’ or ‘Keep out’, and explained: ‘I am working Cape Race.’ This was not unusual in the Marconi banter of the day, and would not have been taken as a great insult, but in his haste and pique, Phillips did not ask for Evans’s position and did not inform the bridge of this communication." (Check here for more information: https://timmaltin.com/2019/03/05/titanic-radio-operator/)

Author Samuel Halpern also notes about Evan's message: "The problem is that the message from Evans should have been prefixed with an MSG and it should have contained a position report. Otherwise, it was simply one operator chatting with another which had the lowest priority."

Michael Brady in his YouTube video also points out that the wireless operators were the "new breed of tech geek" and "chatted informally with abbreviations" such as OM ("old man") and GTH ("go to hell"). Some of the expressions could be seen as "shocking language" but they were a small group and most knew each other. Brady references Sir James Bisset's book "Tramps and Ladies" who recollects similar occasions and banter used over the wireless. Brady concludes that "Marconi men were used to talking to each other in a vulgar way… The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there… the real reason Jack Phillips was rude? He wasn't."

Check Brady's video here: https://youtu.be/CvLWcP_bD4w

As a further example of how the expression "shut up" was common code between operators, when the SS Birma, a British-built transatlantic passenger ship, responded to Titanic's distress call and eventually arrived on the scene at 7.30am, she picked up messages from RMS Carpathia reporting that they had rescued Titanic survivors, and the Birma offered supplies. The response from Carpathia was "shut up". This was attributed by Cannon to be part of a Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Company policy not to provide information to ships that did not use Marconi wireless sets. (More information here: https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/birma-bears-witness.html

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D. Disaster

1. A mirage did not cause the disaster

It is true that at the time of the collision there were unusual weather conditions that contributed to the disaster -notably a 'flat calm' that resulted in no swell, which made the icebergs difficult to see as there was no ocean breaking at their base, and additionally no moon, meaning there was no ambient light that would help illuminate the ice. However, the possibility of a mirage obscuring the iceberg via a false horizon does not apply for two key reasons:

A ) The highest part of the iceberg would be at or below the horizon and would be seen against the black background of the sea. Even if there was a mirage (and there is no evidence there was) it would not affect the situation as the height of the eyes of the lookouts in the crows nest would mean that the iceberg would be below the line of the horizon. Even if it was above the horizon when viewed lower, any false horizon would be behind the iceberg, therefore it could not hide or obscure the object in front of it.

B ) It was night-time - 11.40pm. It is notable that all examples of mirages creating false horizons are in the daytime - as it involves refracted light. However, at the time of the collision the sun had set three hours earlier and there simply was no light reflected off the sea that could be bent to create a false horizon. The sea was ink black.

It is quite possible that the conditions did contribute to a case of 'mistaken' identity between the Titanic and Calfornian, as investigated in this Smithsonian article:
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/did-the-titanic-sink-because-of-an-optical-illusion-102040309/

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2. Solar storm would have little impact on the disaster

It is a little known fact that at the time of the Titanic disaster an Aurora Borealis ("Northern lights") was indeed observed by eyewitnesses. But recently, this natural phenomena has been brought to the forefront by those who claim that it disrupted and/or scrambled wireless transmissions, skewed Titanic's compasses resulting in an incorrect SOS position, and interfered with the Carpathia's compasses resulting in her finding the sinking scene despite an erroneous SOS position.

However, Titanic explorer and researcher Parks Stephenson has noted that it likely had little to no impact on disaster. He firstly points out that while there was a solar storm it was not of any magnitude to have caused what is being claimed, being a "mild geomagnetic storm", but that also Titanic was operating on a radio frequency not known for interference unless it is a very large magnitude solar event:

"Titanic and the other ships that night in 1912 communicated with one another on the 600-meter wavelength, which equates to what we would now call the 500 kHz frequency, in the Middle Frequency (MF) range. It takes a very powerful event to disrupt frequencies that low. It was this precise quality that enabled the 500 kHz frequency to remain in use as an International Distress frequency with 24-hour watch until the 1990s, even as normal communications migrated to much higher frequencies. The Canadian Armed Forces still uses 500 kHz as an operating frequency for operations in the polar regions, where geomagnetic activity is routine. They have suffered only one atmosphere-related outage of 500 kHz in over a century of usage. Not only is the MF of 500 kHz very robust during periods of atmospheric interference, but we also have no historical evidence that Phillips encountered any problem in clearing out his message backlog with Cape Race the night and day before the disaster."

Stephenson also notes that even if Titanic's compasses had been affected, it would have had little effect on their course as it was not the primary means of calculating their position. "1) the iceberg’s position was neither fixed nor known, and 2) the year 1912 is not 2020…. the crew of Titanic, who had only recently transitioned from sail to steam, [used] navigation determined by mechanical clocks, nautical almanacs, celestial sightings and DR (dead reckoning, which is essentially an educated guess on where you are, based on what you know about where you were). . The last time the crew of Titanic knew where they were on the ocean’s surface was at around 1930 the night of the 14th, when Lightoller and Pitman took a set of star sights. Those values were handed over to Boxhall to calculate the ship’s position (a celestial fix based on the 1930 star sightings, but physically marked on the captain’s chart at around 2200). After he received the star sightings, Boxhall took additional star bearings to check for compass error; in essence, he performed a sanity check to see if the heavens and magnetic deviation matched…if you followed the process that I described above, you will notice that I didn’t mention anything about compasses, except where I described Boxhall conducting additional star sightings in order to check the local compass deviation against the stars in the sky."

Finally, as for the Carpathia's position, actually it was ultimately guided by the sighting of a green flare, from Fourth Officer Boxhall, about 20 miles away, not by a compass position.

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3. Head on collision would not necessarily have been better - also an unthinkable option

A popular Photoshopped image of what the Titanic
may have looked like after a head-on collision.

A frustrating comment frequently made is that if Titanic had hit the iceberg head-on it would likely have survived. But there are at least 5 key issues with this "theory."

A) First, it would be unthinkable for a RNR (Royal Navy Reserve) officer with the experience that First Officer William Murdoch had to give such an utterly insane order. It would be a catastrophic career ending decision. There is no professional or official guidance that would instruct him to do so and he would have been hauled before the courts with multiple negligence claims if he had done so.

B) Second - Titanic was travelling at almost its top speed and its impact with a solid wall of ice would not only have caused considerable damage but would have killed a large number of people in the bow section and injured many more throughout the ship . Remember that hitting the iceberg would mean a 45,000 ton ship going from 21 and a half knots to coming to a dead stop within a few feet - the momentum of such an impact would be enormous. The forward section, comprising of more than 250 crew and steerage passengers, would be destroyed with a large loss of life. Everyone standing would fall. Those in their beds would be thrown to the floor.

Titanic researcher Terri Bey makes an interesting point on this: "The Titanic was a passenger liner and her bow was built to collapse. An icebreaking vessel has a bow that is purposely made to break ice. Had Titanic hit the berg head-on, there would have been dozens, if not hundreds dead because there were passengers and crew who had their cabins in the bow area."

C) Third - we don't know the shape of the iceberg - it could have caused more damage. It is a well-known fact that an iceberg is only about 10% above water. With this in mind we do not know exactly what lay beneath that fatal iceberg. First Officer Murdoch came very close to pulling off a very complex manuever in which he "port around" the berg - so a head-on trajectory could have caused even more extensive damage to the ship than simply destroying the forward section, especially if the irregular shape of the iceberg penetrated other areas of the ship leading to multiple water-tight compartment failure, resulting in a sinking that would be too fast to accomplish any efficient evacuation.

D) Fourth - the damage could have been fatal. Even excluding the unknown shape of the iceberg, if we take just a forward collision with the iceberg the damage from that itself could have been fatal. Titanic's mass and momentum would result in her bow superstructure being crushed possibly up as far as the bridge area, warping bulkheads and ultimately causing watertight doors to jam (as happened on her sister ship the Britannic) which would lead to more rapid flooding overall a faster sinking or even capasizing of the ship.

Some also believe that a head-on collision would have created huge stress on Titanic's expansion joint, resulting in a serious breach of the hull causing the ship to sink within minutes, not hours. Other researchers such as Andrew Noll have speculated that the iron rivets holding the ship together could have failed causing a "rippling effect down the hull [that] could of opened up seams all along the hull leading to more flooding along the length of the ship."

Titanic researcher John Nutzmann also commented on this:
Even under the best of conditions of running into a wall of ice at 22.5 knots, one has to take into account of the ship’s momentum of 58,587.2 tons and having it come to a dead stop within several feet, as much as the ship could penetrate the iceberg. The energy generated by the collision would have been as much as 3,560,495,839.65 joules (1 ton of TNT = 4,184,000,000 joules). Titanic would likely have foundered in minutes, not hours, and would have taken all hands, as distress signals and the launching of boats would likely not have been possible in the time frame the ship would have had left.

Another Titanic researcher Jean Scuissiatto notes about the watertight doors:
Yes, it might have only crushed the bow, but who would have gone to close all the watertight doors very quickly on that section? People have the wrong idea that all watertight doors were automatic, when only 12 of them were, these were the ones on the lowest level. All others had to be manually closed by cranks. With the whole bow opened to the sea, she would have started to fill VERY fast, and if water made it's way to BR 6 and 5, she would be doomed and far worse than the actual scenario. And in this case I'm not even considering the watertight doors getting jammed by the hull twisting during the collision, something that happened on Britannic and could have happened with Titanic.

We also have a case in point for reference - Titanic's young sister ship the Britannic struck a mine on the 21st of November 1916. The impact caused the vertical watertight doors to jam and she sank 55 minutes later.

E) Fifth - It is very easy in hindsight to say what should have been done,, retrospectively. But ultimately, speculating on such a highly unlikely "what if" scenario is a waste of time - especially since no sane officer would consciously give an illogical order. Such a decision could have also led to a "buttery fly effect" of failures which would lead to a worst case scenario sinking with an even larger loss of life.

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4. There was no steering error

In September 2010, novelist Lady Louise Patten, Second Officer Lightoller's granddaughter, wrote a fictional novel entitled "Good as Gold" in which she claimed that confusion over rudder orders had caused 'an officer to steer into an iceberg instead of away.' Although in the media releases at the time she claimed it was based on truth, part of a 'family secret' there is actually no evidence to support her claim and ample evidence to prove it did not happen.

Lightoller was off duty at the time of the collision so did not witness the orders given. Patten herself was aged ten at the time the story would have been told, passed on to her by her grandmother 40 years after the event - a second hand tale that likely got confused in the telling as First Officer Murdoch's order of "hard-a-starboard" actually in effect is "hard-to-port" under the tiller commands at use at the time. There was also Sixth Officer James Moody standing behind Quartermaster Hichens who was at the wheel, to check the order was carried out correctly.

For more information as to why there was no steering error, please refer to this article here: https://www.williammurdoch.net/articles_18_Patten_steering_error.html

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5. There was no full astern order

Most cinematic portrayals of the collision sequence and until recently, many books, depict First Officer Murdoch ordering a "full speed astern" order in addition to "hard-a-starboard" leading to criticism of Murdoch as the reduction in speed resulted in less turning power. However, there is only one witness to this order - and he was not there when it was given: Fourth Officer Boxhall. Although he did not hear it called out as he approached the bridge, he puts the words in Murdoch's mouth during the conversation with Captain Smith, saying that he ran "the engines full astern" (US Inquiry) "reversed the engines" (British Inquiry) and "Full Speed Astern, Sir, on the Port Engine" (BBC interview October 1962).

However Boxhall is the only one person to mention the full astern order. Quartermaster Robert Hichens was at the wheel and only heard the order "hard-a-starboard" when he testified at both inquiries. Quartermaster Alfred Olliver (only questioned at the US Inquiry) only heard "hard a port" as he arrived on the bridge. Frederick Barrett, Leading Fireman working in boiler room 6 only reported 'the red-light signal to stop' (US Inquiry). Trimmer Thomas Dillon in the engine room reported the engines were "stopped" after the collision and then "half a minute" later "they went slow astern." (British Inquiry)

Reasons that most likely Boxhall's "full speed astern" did not happen:

1. No first-hand eyewitness testimony to the order being given (from those in the bridge/engine room/boiler rooms)

2. No eye-witness testimony to the effects of full astern (there would be noticeable movement) e.g. Lightoller does not believe the ship was ever ordered "full astern" notably saying that "I cannot say I remember feeling the engines going full speed astern." (British Inquiry)

3. The only 'witness' to this order - Fourth officer Boxhall - was not on the bridge at the time the order would have been given and also does not report hearing it, only "hard-a-starboard". He only mentions "full astern" when he puts the words in Murdoch's mouth during the conversation with Captain Smith. And later in 1962 changes this to "full speed astern on the port engine." so it is unreliable.

4. Mechanically, there was not enough time for the engines to be able to reverse in time.

5. Reversing the engines would reduce Titanic's ability to turn (Murdoch was very experienced and would know that).

One important factor to note is that Boxhall was not in the bridge area at the time the orders were given so any information he provides is second-hand. As Hichens reported "from what I am given to understand, Mr. Boxhall was approaching the bridge" (British Inquiry). And Boxhall himself said "I was almost on the bridge when she struck." (British Inquiry).

At the British Inquiry he was directly asked: "And you knew the engines were reversed, full speed astern?" But instead of answering yes, he does not directly answer the question but replies: "I heard the bells ring, but I did not know what the movement was until I got to the bridge." (British Inquiry) It was when he arrived on the bridge that he saw the telegraphs showing "full speed astern" (British Inquiry). However, it seems more likely that what he saw were the engine telegraphs set to "slow astern" as reported by Trimmer Tom Dillon in the engine room. Murdoch and /or Captain Smith was likely reducing Titanic's speed to then investigate the damage.

According to author Samuel Halpern, the actions of William Murdoch at the time the iceberg was first spotted were more deliberate than they were instinctive. He nearly pulled off a miracle. His overall conclusion is that Murdoch's response " was a masterful achievement in ship handling that met up with some bad luck." (More information see here: http://www.titanicology.com/Titanica/NarrowShave.pdf)

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6. The Captain and his officers were not drunk

Rumours started shortly after the sinking of the captain and his officers being drunk - both Captain Smith and Fifth officer Lowe were accused of drinking. Lowe was actually an "abstainer" stating under oath that "I never touched it in my life" and hence was highly offended by allegations of drinking and requested an official retraction.

24 year old second class passenger Emily Richards claimed Captain Smith was drinking in the saloon bar before the collision - but this is in contradiction to other eyewitness accounts. Captain Smith indeed dined with passengers on the night of the disaster. However, Saloon Steward Thomas Whitely said that while Captain Smith 'talked and joked with Mr Astor' but he 'did not see the captain drink anything; I do not think he even indulged.' (On a Sea of Glass, book). First Class passenger Harry Anderson said that Smith 'refused to drink that... night. When I insisted, he had a small glass of port, sipped once and left it.' In her brief affidavit to the Senate Committee investigating the disaster, Eleanor Widener herself wrote, “Capt. Smith drank absolutely no wine or intoxicating liquor of any kind whatever at the dinner.” Charles Stengel was insistent that captain smoked some cigarettes that night but definitely did not drink.

According to author Sally Nilsson (the great-granddaughter of Quartermaster Robert Hichens who was at the wheel of Titanic at the time of collision) First Officer Murdoch is guilty of a gross dereliction of duty as she firmly believes if he was not "out cold from the wine he had consumed at a celebration for his captain...lying on the lounge at the rear of the pilot house" the Titanic could have avoided the iceberg. Her claim is based on the evidence of a 'Luis Klein', a Hungarian man who alleged he was a surviving member of the crew with some sensational evidence involving officers and crew asleep "drunk or drinking". This resulted in the New York Times running stories such as "Officer on Watch Accused" on April the 22nd, 1912. However shortly thereafter Klein escaped before giving evidence and his reports were widely discredited. He is not to be found on any crew lists, Second Officer Lightoller testified he did not know him and the evidence Klein did provide does not fit with known evidence. Hence Klein has been widely accepted to be an imposter.

More information on false allegations of drinking can be found in the article here: https://titanicofficers.com/article_07.html

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7. Captain Smith was not in a daze

It is popular to portray Captain Smith as in a "daze" after the collision, almost catatonic. This was firstly based on reports such as Lightoller who described getting a nod as a reply from the Captain when he asked if he should load the boats. But the reason he only nodded was due to the volume of noise of the steam that was being vented due to the stopped engines. Also, Major Peuchen criticsed Smith's decisions and said "the captain was not quite himself." This was cemented into legend by the Hollywood portrayals of Smith in a state of silent shock.

However the facts are that he was very active throughout the evacuation, firstly making a thorough sounding of the ship, ordering radio distress calls in person and organising the safe evacuation of the ship. He was frequently seen both assisting in the launching of boats and directing lifeboats with a megaphone. Smith prudently chose not issue an "abandon ship" order until the last minute.

You can see a list of his actions and approximate timings here: https://titanicofficers.com/titanic_01_smith_11.html

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8. Titanic was not the first ship to use the "SOS" distress call

Another popular legend is that Titanic was the first to use the "SOS" distress call. While the call was relatively new, it had been used as early as 1909. For example, on 11 August 1909, the steamship Arapahoe, on a route between New York and Jacksonville, Florida, broke a shaft and began drifting off the North Carolina coast and used the "SOS" call.

For more information: https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/titanic-first-sos/

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9. J Bruce Ismay was not a "brute" or "coward"

Cinematic portrayals often show the president of the White Star Line, J.Bruce Ismay, as someone who interfered with the running of the ship (i.e. instructing Captain Smith to go faster) and eventually escaping aboard a lifeboat, taking the place of women and children. Ismay was indeed villainised by the press in the wake of the disaster - some even dubbed him J. “Brute” Ismay. The horrified public demanded a specific scapegoat for the disaster, and Ismay became that person. His exaggerated character also became a convenient and poignant storytelling device.

J.Bruce Ismay photographed at the United States
Inquiry. He was neither a "brute nor "coward".

However as brought out during the United States and British inquiries, there is no evidence that he unduly influenced Captain Smith over the matter of speed. Indeed, neither inquiry found him guilty of anything at all. But there is evidence that he helped extensively during the starboard evacuation, assisting with the loading and lowering of the lifeboats (although upsetting Fifth officer Lowe in the process, as he did not know who he was).

He did enter the last lifeboat to be lowered on the starboard side - something for which he received heavy criticism. Some claim that in doing so he saved himself at the cost of the lives of women and children - but that is not correct, for 2 key reasons:

1. He was following orders. Chief Officer Wilde and First Officer Murdoch were in charge of lowering collapsible C and reports indicate that they ordered Ismay in to the lifeboat - as they had done for several men on the starboard side where the "women and children" order was less strict, interpreted as "women and children FIRST" not "women and children ONLY." Both Wilde and Murdoch were armed with revolvers at this point, for crowd control, and Ismay entering the lifeboat must have been either instigated or at the very least cleared by them. Ismay was aboard Titanic in the role of a passenger, not a crew member, so obeyed the officers orders, as well as setting an example for other passengers, as many had been reluctant to enter. He was no different from any of the other dozens of men saved on the starboard side, for example, Cosmo Duff-Gordon, Sloper, Karl Behr, Stengel, Lawrence Beesley... all of whom were also ordered into lifeboats on Murdoch's orders.

2. He was not taking anyone's place The most common criticism is that he was taking the place of women and children - but that is not true - there were spare seats aboard collapsible C, it was not fully loaded when he entered. If Ismay had not taken that seat, it would have remained empty and he would be an extra number to add to the causality lists and one less survivor.

In the wake of a disaster, so many people want to find a scapegoat and hence "criminalise" certain people such as Smith or Ismay. However, the real cause of the Titanic disaster is far more subtle and also considerably more dangerous: complacency.

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10. Third class passengers were separated by gates but not systematically locked behind the gates during the sinking

While there were indeed gates which separated first, second and third class, this was actually a legal requirement set by US immigration authorities to avoid the spread of infectious diseases, rather than a White Star Line concept. Author George Behe has recently discovered that Olympic and Britannic both had Bostwick gates that were not shown on the commonly-available deck plans, and it's quite possible that Titanic had such unmarked gates as well.

However there is no evidence these gates were intentionally and systematically all kept locked during the sinking as often portrayed in films.

According to Tim Maltin "In fact, first class stewards were sent straight down to the third class to tell people exactly where the boats were….The law was that no passenger ship could go to America without these gates shut. It was only in a state of emergency that the gates were allowed to be opened. On the Titanic, the gates were opened as soon as a state of emergency was declared, 47 minutes after the ship hit the iceberg." (Daily Mail article)

The high number of third class passengers who died was more likely due to the longer distance to the lifeboat stations and also language barriers. According to Tim Maltin it was also due to reluctance because they 'did not want to' get in life boats. He states that, in 1912, boys were classed as adults from the age of 13, meaning teenagers were only allowed into life boats after women and children had taken their places. Because poorer families were going to America in search of a new life, they did not want to lose teenage or male members of their family. 'So you could imagine these women and men with families going to America,' Mr Maltin said. 'What you don't want to do is leave behind your 13-year-old son, your 14-year old son, your 15-year-old daughter. So what they did is they decided they would be better off sticking together. If they were going to leave the breadwinner behind dead in the icy waters of the Atlantic, what hope would there be for the mother on her own?' (Daily Mail article)

Walter Lord examined the question of third class gates in his book “The Night Lives On” and concluded that primarily language barriers, and an unwillingness of families to be separated, contributed to the high death toll in third class.

The highly recommended book "On A Sea of Glass" has an appendix section Q entitled "Trapped 'Like Rats'" which analyses the location of the gates and eyewitness accounts and concludes that it "seems very unlikely that many of the ship's Steerage passengers were deliberately locked down within the ship's lower decks…there is no evidence of a systematic 'extermination' of Steerage passengers in the historical record… while the historical record clearly shows some unfortunate incidents, these were apparently few and far between." (On a Sea of Glass, book).

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11. Stoker Frank "Lucky" Tower did not survive the Titanic, Empress of Ireland and Lusitania sinkings

A story about a man surviving all three disasters sounds like a legend -and indeed it is an urban legend, as no such man with the name Frank "Lucky" (or "Lucks") Tower appears in the crew list on any of these tragic voyages. There was a survivor named Frank Tower from the Lusitania, and a William Clark who survived both the Titanic and Empress of Ireland sinkings.

More information:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Tower
https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/lucky-tower.html

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12. Stewardess Violet Jessop did actually survive the Olympic, Titanic and Britannic.

In a remarkable story stewardess Violet Constance Jessop (2 October 1887 – 5 May 1971) survived the Olympic's collision with HMS Hawke (20 September 1911, the Titanic sinking (15 April 1912) and the Britannic sinking (21 November 1916) becoming known as the "Queen of sinking ships," and "Miss Unsinkable". Her memoirs have been published in abook entitled "Titanic Survivor".



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13. Black woman did not die aboard Titanic

In an attempt to create a racist element to the sinking there is a claim that a black woman named Malinda Borden perished on the Titanic. However this is false. There was no such woman by that name aboard Titanic.

Kyle Hudak's website covers this claim here: https://magnificenttitanic.tumblr.com/post/183179096477/was-a-black-woman-named-malinda-borden-on-titanic?

Also Snopes has an article on this false claim: https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/malinda-borden-titanic-lifeboats/

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14. An officer possibly shot passengers and then himself

Titanic's senior officers - Smith, Wilde, Murdoch and Lightoller were all armed with White Star Line issued Webley .455 calibre “pistols”( No. 1 Mark VI). There is substantial eye witness evidence of an officer or officers using their guns during the lifeboat evacuation - including the shooting of passengers and an officer suicide. The identity of this officer is subject to much speculation and the mystery will likely never be solved.

You can check the eyewitness evidence for and against here: https://www.williammurdoch.net/mystery.html

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15. Distress rockets Titanic fired into the air were not the wrong colour

The distress signals (rockets) fired into the air as Titanic was sinking were white, which were regulation distress signals. The eyewitnesses who said that they were coloured was likely due to the adapted night vision and the colour seen in wreck photography is likely due to corrosive elements.

Hence, the officers fired the correct standard distress signals (rockets) and claims that they were coloured and thus misinterpreted are misleading.

For more information: Signals of Distress – What Color Were They? (Revised: February 2021) by Samuel Halpern:
http://www.titanicology.com/Californian/WhatColorWereThey.pdf

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16. Extra lifeboats would have saved more but certainly not everyone

A common myth is that if Titanic had enough lifeboats for everyone nobody would have died. This is an oversimplificiation and is essentially incorrect for several key reasons/factors:

* General reluctance on the part of many passengers to enter. Especially wives who were unwilling to leave without their husbands.
* Language barrier and confusion among foreign passengers as to the urgency of the situation.
* More lifeboats could have led to further complacency and less urgency.
* Lack of time to launch all lifeboats. Only 18 lifeboats out of a total of 20 were launched before Titanic sank. On the 25th of May 1912 when Senator Smith visited the Olympic and a lifeboat was lowered with a capacity of 65 it took a total of 18 minutes, as described in Wyn Craig Wade's book "Titanic: End of a Dream" p. 279/280.
* Lack of crew to launch the lifeboats.
* Lack of crew to man the lifeboats once launched.

Thus, when considering the points above, an increase in lifeboat capacity, while likely leading to an increase in the number of survivors, would almost definitely have not saved all aboard Titanic.

However, author Paul Lee believes that if people were mustered correctly, all could have potentially been saved: http://www.paullee.com/titanic/everybodysaved.php

Interestingly, Bob Read has written an article also suggesting that loading Titanic's lifeboats to capacity would actually be dangerous, as they were never tested to full capacity, concluding that "what may have prevented a greater disaster was the common sense and intuition of Titanic’s officers who did not fully load her lifeboats before launching... the Olympic davit test evidence at least casts doubt on the adequacy of Titanic’s davits" ("New Evidence of the Possible Danger of Loading Titanic’s Lifeboats to Capacity", By Bob Read, D.M.D. http://www.titanic-cad-plans.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Davit-Failure-Article.pdf)

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17. Californian could not have saved everyone

The SS Californian could not have saved everyone.

Another common misconception is that if the Californian - often referred to as the "mystery ship" that did not respond to Titanic's distress calls - had responded and come to the rescue they could have saved everyone. The reality is that if they had made it onto the scene in time they would have not been able to save many.

According to extensive research on the subject entitled "The Californian Incident, A Reality Check" - "although it seems likely that at least a few additional Titanic passengers could have been pulled from the water alive if Californian had made it to the wreck site before 2:45am, Captain Stanley Lord and the Californian could not have saved the 1500 remaining passengers from the sloping decks of Titanic. No Captain could."

More information: The Californian Incident, A Reality Check, by by Tracy Smith, Michael H. Standart & Captain Erik D. Wood:
https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/californian-incident.html

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18. The Mount Temple was not the "mystery ship"

There has been a recent resurgence in this theory due to a 2020 documentary entitled "Abandoning the Titanic" which repeated claims that have already been debunked. In simple terms - it is impossible for the Mount Temple to have been the "mystery ship" for several key reasons, but most notably that it was geographically impossible. When the mystery lights were first spotted the Mount Temple was 46 miles west of Titanic and still steaming at full speed towards Boston. The Mount Temple in fact did not turn round to go to Titanic's rescue until about 12.30, 25 minutes after the stationary mystery ship was first spotted - and at such as distance that it was impossible to have been seen by the sinking ship. By the time the Titanic sank the Mount Temple was at least 26 miles west, with a 6 mile wide icefield between them.

Titanic author and researcher Dr Paul Lee analyses the claims, creating a CG simulation of the propose route and concludes that "since it can be proven quite ably, through simple navigation considerations… that the Mount Temple could not be the "mystery ship," does one really need to waste one's time considering the anecdotes of people who either repeated hearsay, weren't even on the ship, or wouldn't commit themselves to giving testimony or affidavits under oath?" Source: "The Titanic and The Mount Temple - A Tale of Two Ships" - by Dr Paul Lee http://www.paullee.com/titanic/mounttemple.php

In an excellent, peer researched analysis of the claims made in the "Abandoning the Titanic" documentary, authors and historians Mark Chirnside, Tad Fitch, Samuel Halpern, J.Kent Layton and Bill Wormstedt have written "Abandoning the Titanic, Abandoning Reality: The Truth About the SS Mount Temple" which step by step dismantles the various erroneous claims concluding that the "programme presented a highly biased, highly flawed, and very one-sided story.". For example it "totally ignored the overwhelming evidence that Titanic ended up facing northward… The Mount Temple was too far away for any‐one to have seen her from the TitanicMount Temple could not have been within visual distance of the wreck site until long after the Titanic sank….he show’s writers also chose to ignore any evidence that contradicted their many allegations."

To read the full analysis please check here: https://wormstedt.com/Titanic/Abandoning_the_titanic.pdf

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19. The last song played by the band was not Autumn - most likely the British version of Nearer My God to Thee

The exact song played by Titanic's band will probably never been known, but it was most likely Nearer My God to Thee, based on the sheer volume of eyewitness accounts from across the spectrum.

Much has been made of junior wireless officer Harold Bride's claim that the last song played by Titanic's orchestra was "Autumn" calling into question the popular portrayal of the bandsmen playing "Near My God to Thee" just as Titanic sinks. However, the claim that Bride heard "Autumn" is dubious. Firstly, Bride was a notoriously unreliable witness. Further, in George Behe's book about Titanic's bandsmen entitled "Those Brave Fellows" he notes that that in 1912 ten survivors wrote in primary sources that "Nearer My God to Thee" was the final song played, and the only survivor who mentioned "Autumn" at all wrote that "Nearer My God to Thee" was played after "Autumn" concluded. Behe also notes that Bride's "Autumn" story appeared only in a newspaper interview, rather than a primary source . while in contrast to Bride's newspaper interview, at least sixty other newspaper interviews with different survivors mentioned that "Nearer My God to Thee" was the final song played. Behe believes that Bride never mentioned the tune "Autumn" at all in his first-hand accounts or inquiry testimony. Instead, it was the reporter who wrote Bride's first newspaper interview who claimed that Bride heard that tune. Author Dr Paul Lee is of the same opinion stating that Bride doesn't say that "Autumn" was the last tune played. He simply says that he heard it.

Accounts of "Nearer My God to Thee" started aboard the Carpathia, revealing that it was not necessarily tabloid fiction. And it is notable that the band leader Wallace Hartley is reported to have told Leeds musician Elwad Hatley that if a ship would ever sink he would indeed play "Nearer My God to Thee". Authors of the book "On a Sea of Glass" after examining the evidence conclude that the "sheer volume of claims that 'Nearer My God to Thee' was played highly suggests that there is at least a kernel of truth to the stories… there is a strong possibility that both 'Autumn'… and 'Nearer My God to Thee were indeed played that night…First Class passenger Helen Candee, in her account of the sinking raises the possibility that both of these songs were indeed played by the band during the sinking: "And over them trembled the last strains of the orchestra's message: 'Autumn' first, then 'Nearer my God, to Three.""

As there are several versions of "Nearer My God to Thee" there is also conjecture over which one was played. According to Titanic historian and author Don Lynch "it seems like most of the people who claimed to have heard Nearer My God to Thee were British, so it's unlikely the American version was played."

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20. The Titanic was openly reported by many eyewitnesses of splitting in two - there was no cover up

Titanic splitting in half as portrayed
in the 1997 film "Titanic".

One of the frequent criticisms of the four surviving Titanic officers is that none ever stated that the Titanic split in half - a reality that, of course, was only confirmed with the 1985 discovery. The inference being that they colluded together to cover up what really happened. However, the likelihood is that they were not in the right position or angle to observe the split and hence decided rumours of the ship being torn in two were an exaggeration meant to further damage White Star's reputation. For example, Lightoller was forward of the ship when it sank and in the water, so was in a poor position to observe it. Also, the split was probably a lot less dramatic than Hollywood would have us believe and in a lot less light than many realise. Notably, three of the four surviving officers did hear "explosions" which in hindsight were quite likely the noise of the ship splitting:

Second Officer Lightoller: "the massive boilers left their beds and went thundering down with a hollow rumbling roar." (Lightoller's autobiography, Titanic and Other Ships)
Third Officer Pitman: "Four reports... they sounded like the reports of a big gun in the distance... I assumed it was bulkheads going, myself." (Senate Inquiry)
Fifth Officer Lowe: "Heard explosions, yes; I should say about four." (Senate Inquiry)

There were actually multiple accounts of the ship splitting at the time and it was openly reported. However many of the accounts were dismissed at the time as being tabloid exaggerations (along with other negative/biased rumours such as the officers all being drunk). There was no cover up. It took the discovery of the wreck to clarify what really happened.

More information:
https://wormstedt.com/titanic/The_Facts.html
http://www.paullee.com/titanic/sinking.php

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21. There was no heroic dog called Rigel

In what can only be described as an incredible and heartwarming story, "Rigel", First Officer Murdoch's large black Newfoundland dog that survived the sinking while his master did not, spends three hours in the freezing water searching for him to no avail. However, in seemingly typical Newfoundland-fashion, he ends up guiding the occupants of lifeboat no.4 to the safety of the Carpathia.

The only issue is that it is not true. First Officer Murdoch did not own a dog called "Rigel," "Jonas Briggs," who told the story, was never a crew member aboard the Carpathia and there is no other eyewitness account of "Rigel".

More information here:
https://www.williammurdoch.net/articles_09_Murdochs_herioc_dog_Rigel.html

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22. No one could have survived on the iceberg

There are several theories of what the crew could have done after the collision to save the passengers, but one of the most popular is that the passengers could have been offloaded onto the iceberg to await rescue.

Despite how ridiculous this theory maybe at first, it is actually quite simply out of the question, for the following key reasons:

1. After the collision the Titanic kept moving and the iceberg disappeared aft and was never seen again by any crew or passenger. By the time the Titanic came to a stop, the iceberg would have been several miles aways, and not visible to the naked eye. The Titanic also had turned to port, so the angle to the iceberg would have changed. And additionally, sea currents would have moved the iceberg, likely further away. It would have been a highly complex and likely fruitless task to try and find it. Not that it could have provided refuge anyway.

2. It was an iceberg, not an ice floe. While a floe is low, flat and relatively shallow, icebergs are more like a mountain, and rarely scaleable, with sheer cliffs, and no place to stand. Photographs of the possible iceberg that caused the collision look like an unlikely place of refuge for anyone but a few hardy passengers. It certainly could not take the nearly 1500 who lost their lives that night.

3. Access - a key question is how the passengers would access the iceberg even if it was near the ship (which it wasn't). There would need to be some kind of gangplank or rope ladder system in place - neither of which would have been feasible at the distances required, or in the dark with no light sources. Indeed, it would likely be concluded that the easiest way would be to ferry the passengers using the lifeboats - which puts us back to square one as it would be no different to the number who ended up in the lifeboats anyway. And accessing the iceberg from the waterline aboard a lifeboat would have been all but impossible - most passengers would have preferred to remain in the wooden lifeboats that on a freezing cold iceberg.

4. The inhospitable nature of the iceberg must also be considered. Most passengers were not dressed for the freezing cold temperatures, without coats or appropriate shoes and hence finding refuge on a piece of freezing, slipperly ice would be unthinkable - most would end up slipping off into the water, or succuming to hyopthermia on the ice cold surfaces. A few hours after the Titanic sank a swell and wind came up which would make this an even worse option. It would be surprising anyone could survive under those conditions.

5. Reluctance - what is often ignored with this theory is that most passengers were reluctant to get into the lifeboats until the last few minutes when it was obvious the ship was going to sink. Many lifeboats departed half-filled for this reason. This reluctance would have meant that the iceberg refuge theory would also collapse on this alone - there would simply not be enough passengers willing to take this option until it was too late.

A "Bright Side" video on YouTube investigated the theory and came to the conclusion that not only was it not feasible but it "would have made the disaster worse." More information: https://youtu.be/C5CEIxESSrs

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23. The time difference when Titanic sank

There has been some confusion over the correct time difference between Titanic time and GMT - the following chart clarifies the exact difference in time, which for New York, Titanic's intended destination, was 2 hours and 2 minutes:

Courtesy of Steve Hall. (Click image to enlarge)

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E. Post-disaster

1. The most likely photograph of the iceberg was not from the "Prinz Adalbert," but the “Bremen”.

The most common image of the "Titanic iceberg" is frequently the one photographed by M. Linoenewald, the Chief Steward of the SS Prinz Adalbert. That particular iceberg allegedly had a red streak at its base. However its shape does not match eyewitness descriptions and as Paul Lee explains in his website the location of the photograph would be incorrect as "the Titanic's iceberg would have drifted about 32 miles further south since midnight on the 14th/15th. It would therefore be out of sight over the horizon to the south."

(Check here: http://www.paullee.com/titanic/iceberg.html)

The iceberg photographed from the SS Prinz Adalbert, while is often shown as 'the' Titanic iceberg, is unlikely to be so. (Click image to enlarge)

The most likely candidate, all things considered, is the photograph taken from the Bremen.

Bremen/Rehorek

The iceberg photographed from the Bremen is the most likely candidate.
(Click image to enlarge)

The iceberg was photographed on April 20, from the German steamer Bremen by Stephan Rehorek, a Bohemian traveling from Bremerhaven to New York. This is the most likely of the candidates to have been 'the' iceberg - simply due to it matching the eyewitness descriptions and sketches, but interestingly also shows damage in the same area at which the Titanic would have struck.

Titanic seaman Joseph Scarrott described the iceberg at the British Inquiry that "it struck me at the time that it resembled the Rock of Gibraltar looking at it from Europa Point. It looked very much the same shape as that, only much smaller….As you approach Gibraltar - it seemed that shape. The highest point would be on my right, as it appeared to me."

However one aspect of the story raises some suspicion- in Rehorek's postcard to his parents he wrote "I have a photograph of the iceberg and will send it to you (...) I also saw the bodies of the drowned and the wreckage from the ship. It was a dreadful sight." Is it realistic to believe that the iceberg would remain in the same area as bodies and wreckage 5 days after the event?

For more information and analysis check here:
https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/the-iceberg-resurfaced.html

Other candidates:

1. SS Etonian/Captain Woods

The iceberg photographed from the SS Etonian is the most likely candidate.
(Click image to enlarge)

The iceberg photographed by Captain Wood of the SS Etonian, taken two days/40 hours before the Titanic's collision. However, as pointed out by Titanic researcher Jim Currie on Encyclopedia Titanica it cannot be the iceberg as "it is the wrong shape as described by AB Joseph Scarrott. Not only that but it was about 7 miles NW of the wreck site and would have to have been almost stationary i.e...had only move that distance in 40 hours. - which is 1074 ft/hour. Furthermore: the Photgraph was taken in Gale conditions. A Gale would have moved an iceberg of that shape a very great distance as long as it was blowing. and in the direction it was blowing." (Encyclopedia Titanica)

2. Carpathia/Bernice Palmer

Acording to the National Museum of American History (Behring Center) "Bernice Palmer took this picture of the iceberg identified as the one which sank Titanic, almost certainly identified by the survivors who climbed aboard Carpathia. The large iceberg is surrounded by smaller ice floes, indicating how far north in the Atlantic Ocean the tragedy struck." (https://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/search/object/nmah_1416178)

Bernice Palmer's photograph of an iceberg from aboard the Carpathia.

3. Minia/Captain De Carteret

Captain De Carteret of the Minia, a cable ship sent to the wreck site to recover corpses and debris, took this photograph, claiming it was the only iceberg in the area, with red paint on it as a sign it was "the" iceberg.

Captain De Carteret of the Minia took this photograph.

4. Birma

The SS Birma was a British-built transatlantic passenger ship that responded to the Titanic's distress calls. It arrived on the scene at 7.30am, although realised they were still 13 nautical miles from where the Titanic actually sank. Captain De Carteret took this photograph of a suspect iceberg.

Captain De Carteret of the Minia took this photograph.

5. Carpathia

The distant photographed was allegedy taken on the 27nd of May 1912 - more than a month after the disaster, so is unlikely to be the iceberg in question.

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2. Titanic's lifeboats disappeared after December 1912

What remains of Titanic's lifeboats after the disaster is an unsolved mystery. What we do know is that thirteen lifeboats were recovered by the Carpathia: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 & 16. The remaining lifeboats 4, 14, 15 and collapsibles A, B, C and D were deliberately left to float away after the Carpathia recovered their passengers and were never seen again.

Collapsible A was later recovered by the White Star liner Oceanic on May 13th while en route to New York. Collapsible B was spotted upside down by the crew of the Mackay-Bennett and was also photographed but the crew failed in their attempt to recover it and it was then abandoned. Later the captain of the SS Eisenach spotted a lifeboat in the vicinity 2 months later. It was covered in barnacles, but was not recovered. An unidentified collapsible boat was recovered some 18 months after the loss of Titanic, but it’s unknown if it was one of Titanic’s.

For the lifeboats that were recovered by the Carpathia, they were offloaded at the White Star Line piers on arrival in New York on the 18th of April 1912, before the Carpathia continued on to the Cunard pier. According to researcher Jonathan Smith in his article "DEBUNKING A MYTH: The Southampton Lifeboats Photograph Revealed" - "During the early hours of the morning [19th April 1912] the lifeboats were inspected, the missing contents including flags, name plates and number plaques, were documented and addressed during assessment which was later logged by Brooklyn lifeboat manufacturer C.M. Lane on the 20 April. Under marine laws the lifeboats were required to be checked by officials to establish their value and costs including any repairs needed to base overall evaluation of the crafts."

At some point officials and possibly souvenir hunters had removed anything of value from the boats - such as the bronze plates and plaques, although the lifeboats would still have retained their ID numbers stamped into the timber. Afterwards the 13 lifeboats were put into storage at the White Star Liner berths 58 and 59 between the months of April to December 1912.

The lifeboats were evaluated for their value in September 1912 during a hearing for the United States District Court investigating the liability of the Oceanic Steam Navigation Company, with valuations calculated along with any repairs required to bring a total wrecking cost.: "The Affidavit of Value dated 28 September by marine surveyor Henry H. Masters states that if the lifeboats had not been subjected to damage at the time of his inspection and they included the necessary equipment supplied then the value would have been at $5,700 and a repair cost of $1,180. A second marine surveyor was also called upon who on the same date valued the lifeboats, with all their equipment and without any damage, to the cost of $5,700 with the same repair estimate of $1,180. And so on the 3 October 1912 the lifeboats in the condition upon arrival at New York were considered to be at $4,520 in total. " ("DEBUNKING A MYTH: The Southampton Lifeboats Photograph Revealed", Jonathan Smith).

Titanic's lifeboats being examined in New York.

During this time, the Olympic had her number of lifeboats supplemented by additional folding Berthon lifeboats so as to maintain her Southampton-New York service - although initially this was subject to a crew mutiny delaying her first crossing after the Titanic disaster. During the Olympic's refit in October 1912, Titanic's lifeboats were still in New York being evaluated.

The book "Titanic in Photographs" noted that Titanic’s lifeboats were recorded in dry storage of the pier lofts of New York during December of 1912 - while work continued on Olympic. What happened after December 1912 is unknown and subject to speculation. Jonathan Smith surmises that "the case of them ever being used again is highly unlikely for the simple point that they may have been deemed unusable as crafts. … they were not of a type for upgrading or even downgrading for use with other vessels given their dimensions… with the superstitious nature of many in the Edwardian era it was equally bad luck to even consider another use for them. Like Titanic the lifeboats could have been subjected to their own wrecking having been turned to match wood and burned in a unfitting end to erase a sad reminder of one of the worst peace time maritime disasters of its era." ("DEBUNKING A MYTH: The Southampton Lifeboats Photograph Revealed", Jonathan Smith)

More information (Facebook note):
DEBUNKING A MYTH: The Southampton Lifeboats Photograph Revealed

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3. Titanic's lifeboats were not put on the Olympic

This photograph of the Olympic has erroneously been used to support the idea it was fitted with Titanic's lifeboats.

A photograph showing lifeboats in the foreground has often lead to the assumption that Titanic's lifeboats ended up aboard the Olympic in the summer of 1912, to supplement her limited number after the Titanic disaster. However that theory has been debunked by Jonathan Smith in his article "Debunking a Myth: The Southampton Lifeboats Photograph Revealed" where he notes that the original caption of the photograph does not reference Titanic at all (a glaring omission if it was true) . The photograph is actually showing the H.M.T. Dongola in June 1912 being prepared or a forthcoming annual review "with nine of her lifeboats removed from the vessel and their davit gear as they are cleaned, painted and made ready to be placed back on board for the approaching review." "Debunking a Myth: The Southampton Lifeboats Photograph Revealed", Jonathan Smith)

It makes sense that these are not Titanic's lifeboats - as the Olympic, during her refit that year, included new lifeboats and davits sets - increasing her original June 1911 number from twenty lifeboats to that of sixty-eight overall. So Titanic's 13 old and damaged lifeboats would have been no use for such a refit.

What really happened to Titanic's lifeboats is an unsolved mystery - see the point above.

More information (Facebook group, may require membership): https://www.facebook.com/notes/titanic-tech/debunking-a-myth-the-southampton-lifeboats-photograph-revealed/2415467501881691/ Back to Top menu



4. Titanic Inquiries were a whitewash

It has been said that the United State Inquiry and British Board of Trade Inquiry were a "whitewash." Certainly that term was used by key witness and senior surviving officer Charles Lightoller. He called the US Inquiry a "complete farce" and admitted that during the British Inquiry "it was necessary to keep one’s hand on the whitewash brush."

Lightoller photographed during the
British Inquiry, during which he later
admited he had his "hand on the
whitewash brush".

The United States Inquiry was, due to the scope of the disaster, a hurried affair, with the first few days taking place in New York within a day of the survivors arriving - on April 19, 1912, at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The proceedings were later moved to Washington, D.C., concluding on May 25, 1912 with a return visit to New York, taking a total of 18 days. The eight Senators involved in the questioning were not nautical authorities, and Lightoller was annoyed by their lack of expertise. He described the US Inquiry in his book as "a colossal piece of impertinence that served no useful purpose and elicited only a garbled and disjointed account of the disaster; due in the main to a total lack of co-ordination in the questioning with an abysmal ignorance of the sea....With all the goodwill in the world, the ‘enquiry’ could be called nothing but a complete farce, wherein all the traditions and customs of the sea were continuously and persistently flouted." ("Titanic and Other Ships", Charles Lightoller)

In England, an inquiry was instigated by the British Wreck Commissioner on behalf of the British Board of Trade, overseen by High Court judge Lord Mersey, and held in London from 2 May to 3 July 1912. The hearings took place mainly at the London Scottish Drill Hall, at 59 Buckingham Gate, London SW1. There were a total of 42 days of official investigation. Lightoller was once again one of the key witnesses and appeared over the course of 3 days - the 12th ,13th and 14th days of the Inquiry.

His opinion of this investigation was much higher than the US inquiry, but he also admits to having his "hand on the whitewash brush" when he later wrote in his book: "Such a contrast to the dignity and decorum of the court held by Lord Mersey in London, where the guiding spirit was a sailor in essence, and who insisted, when necessary, that any cross-questioner should at any rate be familiar with at least the rudiments of the sea…. [I]n London it was necessary to keep one’s hand on the whitewash brush. Sharp questions that needed careful answers if one was to avoid a pitfall, carefully and subtly dug, leading to a pinning down of blame on to someone’s luckless shoulders.” ("Titanic and Other Ships", Charles Lightoller)

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5. Third Olympic-class ship was unofficially going to be called "Gigantic", officially "Britannic".

It is often said that it was a myth that the White Star Line changed the third ship's name from "Gigantic" to "Britannic" after the Titanic disaster. But that is not entirely true. Essentially, there is unofficial confirmation that the name Gigantic was in use in the newspaper, posters and even in at least two supplier order forms. However, officially, from contract commencement on the 23rd of October 1911 - well before the Titanic sinking - the name had been recorded in the Harland and Wolff ship book as "Britannic" so it seems unlikely it would ever be called "Gigantic" - with or without the Titanic sinking.

Here is a list of various usage of the two names, first unofficially Gigantic, and then officially Britannic:

The Daily Mirror of 16 April 1912:

The Daily Mirror of the 1th of April 1912 clearly states that the next "great ship" would be called the "Gigantic".

She was also referred to as “Gigantic” in the Hingley’s order log and in the London and North Western Railway in their quote for transporting the anchor to Harland & Wolff. This means that someone official at Harland & Wolff who placed orders for the yard, contacted Noah Hingley & Sons (the worlds leading manufacturer of anchors and anchor chains and equipment), to place the order for the anchors, chains and equipment for hull number 433 (Britannic) where they used the name "Gigantic" in the order for it to be added to the company order. Also the Citroën company supplier used the name of "Gigantic" and kept using it as far as late 1913.

Hingley’s order log, with the name "Gigantic"
(courtesy of TRMA and Jonathan Smith).

London and North Western Railway in their quote for transporting the anchor to Harland & Wolff clearly uses the name "Gigantic". Courtesy of TRMA and Jonathan Smith.
(Click image to enlarge)

However, as recorded in the Harland & Wolff ship book, which is still preserved in Belfast, the name was Britannic from contract commencement on 23 October 1911.

In summary, it is quite possible that the White Star Line had toyed with the name Gigantic prior to the official contract name of Britannic in October 1911. The name Gigantic does fit within the Greek and Roman mythology which had created the names Olympic and Titanic. But clearly this never became official - perhaps as author Paul Lee points out, "There's also the fact that the names Olympic and Titanic referred to grandeur and size as they were the largest ships in the world when they entered service. By the time 433 was launched, it had been superseded by more massive ships - a fact that would have been known for many years. The name "Gigantic" would not be appropriate."

More information:
http://www.paullee.com/titanic/gigantic.html
http://www.paullee.com/titanic/The_Gigantic_Question_part1.pdf
http://www.paullee.com/titanic/The_Gigantic_Question_part2.pdf

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6. Lightoller was involved in the deaths of 36 sailors, but he was not a "war criminal"

There are some who claim Titanic's second officer, Charles Herbert Lightoller, went on to become a war criminal and even call him a "murderer".

Indeed, during world war one, in 1918, Lightoller was given command of the large River-class destroyer HMS Garry. On the 19th June 1918, the HMS Garry, under Lightoller's command, depth charged, rammed and sunk the German U-Boat UB-110, under the command of Kapitänleutnant Werner Fürbringer, off the Yorkshire coast, near the Tyne. There were no survivors of the crew of the UB-110, who numbered 36 all told, but the captain Werner Fürbringer survived. Lightoller subsequently faced criticism over the fact that the crew of the Garry had thrown coal at the survivors of the U-boat and that Lightoller had made no real effort to pick up any of the enemy sailors - he argued that he was more occupied by concerns for his own ship. In 1936 the captain of UB-110 claimed that Lightoller had continued to fire upon members of his crew as they surrendered, killing and spraying machine gun fire onto the hapless men.

HMS Garry was a Yarrow-type River-class destroyer of the Royal Navy

Lightoller's ill feeling towards the U-boat crew was even expressed in his autobiography, where he does not deny the claims but writes: “Towards the submarine men, one felt an utter disgust and loathing; they were nothing but an abomination, polluting the clean sea.”

However, to be labelled a "war criminal" you have to be sentenced as such. Actually, Lightoller's actions during World War One were investigated and he was cleared and eventually honoured - he was awarded a bar to add to his Distinguished Service Cross, and he was promoted to Lieutenant-Commander. A year later, on July 14, 1919, Lord Sterndale and the Prize Court awarded ₤180 as a bounty for the action they had taken and for the death of 36 German sailors. The money, distributed among the Garry's crew, is equivalent to five pounds for every member of the Kriegsmarine drowned in the incident.

More information here: https://titanicofficers.com/titanic_04_lightoller_11.html

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7. The sinking of the Titanic was not the main contributing factor to the White Star Line's demise

An assumption made by many after learning about the Titanic disaster and the fact that the White Star Line later merged with its rival Cunard in 1934 and then eventually by 1947 had disappeared as Cunard took 100% ownership, was that this was primarily due to the Titanic sinking.

Granted, the Titanic sinking was an expensive affair for the White Star Line. However it had been running at a profit prior to the Titanic tragedy and according to author and historian Mark Chirnside, "Titanic’s financial impact on White Star’s decline vs. Cunard is much exaggerated." He explains that the "White Star remained a significantly stronger company in financial terms in 1912 and afterwards. In my view, the causes were much more long term, stemming from financial mismanagement over three decades as part of IMM and then Royal Mail Group."

The most significant factor in the demise of the White Star Line was not the Titanic - it was that by the 1930s both White Star and Cunard were in serious financial difficulties due to the Great Depression, which had been set off by the stock market crash of 1929. The British government agreed to provide assistance only if the two competitors merged their North Atlantic operations. At the time of the merger the split was Cunard 62% and White Star 38% (as they sold off their Australasian service to Shaw, Savil & Albion also in 1934). Hence it is not surprising that Cunard eventually, as they returned to financial stability, returned to their original name of Cunard in 1950, rather Cunard-White Star.

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8. The scrapping of the Olympic was inevitable

A frequent comment about the Olympic, Titanic's sister ship, is that they shouldn't have scrapped the Olympic in 1935 but instead turned her into a floating hotel, like the Queen Mary.

However, it is an unfair comparison. The Queen Mary was retired in the 1960s...not the 30s (during the Great Depression), so cannot be compared. Interestingly, it was new ships like the Queen Mary in the 1930s that made the Olympic no longer profitable and hence scrapping made economic sense. Only in hindsight, many years later (post Hollywood/1985 Titanic discovery), would keeping her around have ever been considered a good idea.

If you are interested in more information check here: http://www.markchirnside.co.uk/pdfs/RMS_Olympic_Retirement.pdf

At the time the Olympic was scrapped, it was not economically viable to keep her in service or convert her into a hotel. There was very little interest in Titanic to justify it in the 1930s. It was not until the 1950s when books and films began to be produced that interest in the disaster started to develop, of course peaking with the discovery of the wreck in 1985 and then a blockbuster film in the late 1990s.

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9. Wallace Hartley's violin - on the balance of probability, was likely strapped to his body when recovered

Wallace Hartley's violin on display.

When band master Wallace Hartley's violin was first revealed in 2006 and later put to auction in 2013 it was touted as the "rarest and most iconic" piece of Titanic memorabilia. It for sold for £900,000 in just 10 minutes at auction in Wiltshire. But for some in the Titanic community there has been a large dose of skeptism as to whether it was really found on his body and thus as special as it is made out to be. However if you balance the for and against the conclusion is that it most likely found with his body:

Against:

* There is no record by the crew of the recovery ship the Mackay-Bennett of any valise containing a violin and sheet music connected to Hartley’s or any other recovered body for that matter. However - we must apply the adage - 'absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.' It is quite possible that the records were incomplete.

* Respected Titanic historians such as Jack Eaton and Charles Haas have expressed scepticism about the ability of a fragile object like a violin to survive the trauma of the sinking. However -we must remember it was inside a case designed to protect it, and the instrument was indeed damaged and unplayable.

For:

* Four newspapers on two continents over several days reported his body being discovered with a "music case" although without specifying its contents.
* A diary entry by his fiancée, Maria Robinson, of 16 July 1912, said a violin was saved from the water and returned to her, with the words: “heartfelt thanks to all those concerned in the return of my late fiancé’s violin”.
* It had taken seven years for the Devizes auction house, Henry Aldridge & Son, to authenticate the instrument, including nine experts.
* Michael Jones, of the United Kingdom’s Forensic Science service and recognised expert in trace analysis concluded on examining the violin that corrosion to its metal parts was consistent with emersion in seawater and was also consistent with the condition of metal objects recovered from other Titanic victims.
* A CT scan revealed that the violin’s shell had two hairline cracks leading down from its F holes consistent with it have been subjected to some trauma.
* Experts in the field of Titanic artefacts and memorabilia, Steve Santini, Craig Sopin and Stanley Lehrer agree with the conclusions of the investigation.
* It is presently on display at the Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge, before which it was vetted by historians.
* As one of the most vetted pieces of Titanic memorabilia in history, no one as yet has been able to supply evidence to doubt its authenticity.

For more information: https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/authenticating-the-wallace-hartley-titanic-violin.html

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10. Titanic II is unlikely to ever sail but Romandie dry dock one nearing completion

There is often confusion between Clive Palmer's "Titanic II" and the Chinese Romandisea Titanic. They are two entirely different projects:

"Titanic II" is unlikely to never become a reality.

"Titanic II" was planned by Australian millionaire Clive Palmer under the name "Blue Star Line". Initially announced in 2012, the US $500-million project was meant to see the ship launched in China in 2016, with a cruise from Dubai planned for 2018. This did not happen and it was anounced in 2018 that it will still cruise from Dubai in 2022 - but construction still remains to begin. Many believe is unlikely to ever happen.

The landlocked Romandisea replica is still under construction (as of 2021).

The Romandisea Titanic is an under-construction full-scale replica of the original RMS Titanic, located in landlocked Sichuan province, China. It was originally planned to be completed in 2017, but delays mean it is presently, as of 2021 still under construction.

More information: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romandisea_Titanic

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F. Wreck

1. The exact location of the wreck site is established.

There are some who claim that the location of the wreck is a secret - however it has been established: the location of the centre of the 5 boilers is 41°43.5″N 49°56.8″W.

For more information check Sam Halpern's website:
http://www.titanicology.com/DauntsRocktoCollision.html

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2. The Titanic was possibly discovered before Dr Robert Ballard's official discovery in 1985

According to the official story, the Titanic was discovered on the 1st of September 1985 by Dr.Robert Ballard of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in a joint French-American expedition with Jean Louis-Michel of IFREMER (The French Institute for the Exploitation of the Sea).

There are some anomalies in the story about how the Titanic was found - notably a Sunday London Observer newspaper article announcing the discovery the day before it was official found.

According to research by author Dr Paul Lee, it is possible that actually the Titanic was first spotted by a Royal Navy vessel, the HMS Hecate, in 1977. Classified reports are due to be released in 2027 - when perhaps the truth will be known.

For more detailed information check here:
http://www.paullee.com/titanic/titanicfound.html

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3. The Titanic discovery was part of a undercover Navy operation

On June 2nd, 2008 National Geographic broke the news that the 1985 discovery of the Titanic stemmed from a secret United States Navy investigation of two wrecked nuclear submarines, the U.S.S.Thresher and U.S.S.Scorpion. to discover the fate of the nuclear reactors that powered the subs. Completing the Navy mission Ballard had just 12 days left over to find Titanic.

More information:
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/article/titanic-nuclear-submarine-scorpion-thresher-ballard
https://www.nationalgeographic.co.uk/history-and-civilisation/2018/11/titanic-was-found-during-secret-cold-war-navy-mission

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4. Shoes are not necessarily where bodies lay

There are several images of shoes on the sea floor with captions indicating that these shoes are all that are left of a body that has disintegrated. Often such images are used when promoting anti-salvage opinions about the wreck.

This image from the Titanic wreck site often leads people to believe
a body once lay in this position.

However on closer examination the shoes may not actually be a matching pair and some are clearly from suitcases or bags that have since disintegrated, leaving the remains of packed clothing and not necessarily bodies.

The New York Times acknowledges: "Scholars say most of the people who died were probably in life jackets and swept far to sea by wind and waves. After the sinking, a storm blew up that was reported to have scattered bobbing corpses in a line 50 miles long." (Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/15/science/titanic-may-hold-passengers-remains-officials-say.html

Author Joe C Combs 2nd has researched the photographs and concludes: "To many, every shoe represents a body that was on the ocean bottom with the Titanic. This is not true….Those who claim a body for every shoe are jumping to conclusions without investigating the facts."

For example, for the most famous photograph released at the time of the discovery by Dr Robert Ballard, Combs notes that "some even going as far as to say these shoes were on a body that disintegrated. If that were true they would fsten the same way, the left shoe fastens on the outside of the shoe and the right shoe does not. Not a normal way of fastening shoes, Shoes either slip on, fasten infront, or BOTH shoes fasten on the outside."

Other photographs have similar anamolies, such as a heel of different heights,and an "angle of these shoes to each other makes it doubtful there were feet in them while they were laying like this."

Combs has a more logical explanation as to what happened to most bodies: "Titanic had 3,560 life vests on board, more than the number of people the ship was allowed to carry, certainly more than the 2200 people on board.…A cork life vest, like those on Titanic, when submerged in water for 48 hours only gains 3% weight from water. There was a current to the south of about one knot (one nautical mile), in 48 hours a person from Titanic in a life vest in the water would have floated about 48 miles south of Titanic. The last person found floating from Titanic was found, in a life vest, hundreds of miles from where Titanic sank 6 weeks after Titanic sank. The people in life vests, by the time those life vests became water-logged, would have sank to the ocean floor far from the site of Titanic wreckage.

Titanic Shoes: Myth & Reality:
https://joeccombs2nd.com/2012/04/29/titanic-shoes-myth-reality/

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5. Wreck cannot be raised

Unlike what is portrayed in the 1980 film, the Titanic wreck cannot be raised.

While a fictional film showing the Titanic being raised to the surface was released 5 years before the discovery of the actual wreck, the reality is that the wreck is too deep, in too many pieces and too fragile to be raised.

Over the years there has been many mostly outrageous ideas as to how to raise the wreck - electromagnets, balloon filled with helium, filling it with wax, vaseline or ping-pong balls or floating glass spheres, or even freezing the seawater around it with liquid nitrogen to turn the wreck into an icecube.

However since the Titanic split at the surface, the wreck is in two pieces - the bow and stern, with its mid section spread inbetween, so could never be raised in tact. Overall the wreck is in a heavy state of decomposition and extremely fragile. It also lies 12,500 feet in an inhospitable environment, covered in "rusticles" and prone to fast and destructive currents.

Nevertheless, a large section of the hull, named the "Big Piece" was indeed raised to the surface in 1998 by RMS Titanic Inc. - and will be the closest we get to raising the Titanic.

While the Titanic cannot be raised - a section of her hull was brought to the surface, dubbed the "Big Piece."