If you have studied Titanic long enough, you are sure to come across various conspiracy theories. They vary from the supernatural (mummy curse) to the exotic (the Iluminati). And some that are even a stretch for conspiracy theorists to wrap around (like time travel or German submarine sinking Titanic). Then there is the switch theory.
What is the switch theory? That White Star switched the ships so that the actual ship that sank was Olympic not Titanic. The reason varies on who is making the claim. Some years ago Robin Gardiner made the claim in his book Titanic:The Ship That Never Sank? that it was done so that White Star could collect damages on the new ship.
The underlying reason for the switch is the HMS Hawke collided with Olympic in 1911. Olympic was determined to be at fault and Lloyd’s of London refused to pay the claim to White Star. So they decided to switch ships and sink Titanic to claim insurance. Of course the planned sinking went awry and you know the rest.
The book is still out there and has some believers on You Tube and elsewhere repeating it as fact to this day. Enter into the fray Myles Power who decided to take on this claim on his YouTube channel. And it certainly has gotten a lot of interest as newspapers like the Daily Star reporting on it. Power spends a lot of time going through the claim and debunking it. At last check it had over 37,000 views and growing.
I read the book when it first came out and shook my head after I closed the last page. It ought to have been an alternative history book. He is not the first nor likely the last that has come up with wildly speculative (and sometimes entertaining) conspiracy theories. In the age of the Internet though, Gardiner is finding that his claims can be debunked for the whole world to see. No word from Gardiner on what he thinks about all of this. He is probably hoping you will spend money at Amazon to buy his book. Check out your local library and see if you can check it out for free.
FYI: Here is a post I did back in 2014 that goes through many of the various theories about Titanic sinking including the conspiracy and supernatural ones.
Relative of Titanic survivor accused of cowardice clears his name (5 May 2018,Hereford Times) Documents and letters written by Sir Cosmo and his wife, a famous fashion designer of her day, came to light in a cardboard box lying for over 100 years in a solicitor’s offices. “I received a phone call out of the blue saying they had found a box with my family name on it and would I like to have it,” said Sir Andrew. “Of course, I said yes.” The find reveals not just the events of that night, which show beyond doubt that the Duff Gordons acted quite properly, but also includes a long list of Lady Duff Gordon’s possessions.
World-renowned Titanic expert Gowan passes away (6 May 2018, Corsicana Daily Sun) “Phil was arguably the top Titanic passengers and crew expert in the world.” Trower said Gowan’s research of the people was groundbreaking in that he was the first to come up with concrete numbers, that are now called the Gowan Numbers. His research revealed that 1,496 people died on the Titanic, and 712 survived. His research was duplicated by others who came up with the exact same numbers, so his are considered the Gold Standard now, Trower said. “We could sit down to dinner as we did in 2013, and Phil could regale us with stories about the passengers, those who lived and died — his knowledge was limitless,” he said. “We could talk on the phone, in person, via email … but he hated text messaging. Refused to do it. He’d never have the same story twice — he had that deep of a knowledge of the stories.”
Haunting video of Titanic 100 years on exposes the cabins and hallways where 1,500 died (Daily Star, 27 April 2018)
The clip shows the cabins and hallways where passengers slept, ate and partied on their journey from Southampton to New York. It also reveals cooking utensils, bottles and cutlery, in a room where it is likely chef’s prepared meals for their wealthy passengers. Another angle displays the sheer size of the vessel – which remains a shipwreck near the Canadian island of Newfoundland.
Autistic boy overcomes obstacles to build largest Lego replica of the Titanic (WIVB.com,26 April 2018)
The world’s largest Lego Titanic replica is 24 feet long and five feet tall — and it was built by a very special boy. Fifteen-year-old Brynjar Karl Birgisson is on the autism spectrum, and he developed a passion for learning about the Titanic at a young age. When he turned 10, Brynjar decided to combine his passion for the Titanic with his other love: Legos. The painstaking task took 700 hours over 11 months and 56,000 Lego bricks to complete, but when he was finished, Brynjar had built the world’s largest Titanic replica made out of Legos.
Menu for first ever meal onboard the Titanic makes auction record (Antiques Trade Gazette,25 April 2018)
Henry Aldridge & Son offered the lots at its Titanic & Liner Auction on April 21, which made an overall auction total of around £330,000.
The menu for the first meal served on the ill-fated ship had been owned by Titanic second officer Charles Lightoller, the most senior member of the crew to survive the Titanic disaster. It sold for a hammer price of £80,000, a record for a menu from the ship. The menu was previously auctioned in 2003 when it sold for £28,000 at Sotheby’s, and a similar menu, with a strip missing at the bottom and owned by fifth officer Harold Lowe, sold at £51,000 at Aldridge’s in 2004.
His blood ran cold’: The act that sealed the Titanic’s fate (New Zealand Herald, 23 April 2018)
The nearest boat to the great cruise liner, the Californian, was less than 20 kilometres away, within eyeshot — and a crew member informed Captain Stanley Lord the Titanic was sending up distress rockets. Yet, surrounded by icebergs, he decided not to act. He didn’t wake his wireless operator, he didn’t try to contact the ship and he didn’t head towards it. “The hazard to himself and his command was too great to risk responding,” Titanic researcher Daniel Allen Butler told news.com.au. “The Californian did nothing.”
The rarely told story of Jack Phillips, the Titanic hero from Surrey (Get Surrey, 21 April 2018)
The story of Jack Phillips, the Titanic hero from Surrey, is a well-known one. The 25-year-old Godalming-born telegraphist was aboard the Titanic when it hit an iceberg on April 14, 1912. He stayed at his post until the ship sank, frantically contacting nearby ships and saving hundreds of lives. More than 1,500 people drowned but the Carpathia, a ship alerted to the Titanic’s plight by the signals, picked up 705 survivors. Jack sadly died during the disaster but his co-worker Harold Bride survived to tell the story. Following the 106th anniversary of the catastrophic sinking, Titanic enthusiast from Guildford, Mia Fernandez, 30, claims there is a part of the story that is rarely remembered.
The Titanic’s Irish Legacy (Irish America, 20 April 2018)
It was White Star Line who paid for the headstones that went up during the autumn of 1912. The Titanic bodies, those not claimed by relatives, were divided between three different graveyards, the biggest share going to the Fairview Lawn Cemetery. Here, 121 bodies are buried with 42 remaining unidentified. A gentle sloping of the ground made it necessary to lay the headstones out in three curved lines, reminiscent of the curve of a ship’s bow. One of the Titanic occupants is Jack Dawson whose grave, thanks to Leonardo di Caprio’s fictional namesake in the 1997 film Titanic, perhaps rivals Jim Morrison’s grave in Père Lachaise with hundreds of visitors leaving flowers and trinkets around it. The second graveyard, the Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery’s Titanic plot contains 19 victims, including Mrs Margaret Rice from Athlone, Ireland, who was travelling with her five young sons, none of whom were ever found. Four victims were never identified.
Why you’ve never heard of the six Chinese men who survived the Titanic (Washington Post, 19 April 2018)
That man would be one of six Chinese passengers who survived the Titanic, a little-known fact about the historic disaster that has largely remained untold or distorted, owing to a racially hostile environment toward Chinese people in the West at the turn of the 20th century. Now, the lives of these men — who they were, how they survived that fateful night and why they were barred from entering the United States — are being examined in a new documentary, “The Six,” by Arthur Jones and Steven Schwankert.
Michigan Organizers To Unveil Titanic Memorial In May (WKAR.org, 14 April 2018)
The Great Lakes Titanic Connection will reveal the Michigan Titanic Memorial in Marine City on May 12, the Times Herald reported . The memorial will list the 69 names of the passengers headed to Michigan who were among the 1,500 who died while sailing from Southampton, England, for the United States in 1912.The group raised $6,500 to pay for the memorial. The idea began when Margaret Micoff started collecting Titanic memorabilia for her boutique clothing store. She studied the Titanic’s history and stumbled across a community of people who were also fascinated with the story. “When you have that many people, and nobody has done a memorial like other states have done, I thought we should,” Micoff said.
106 years after sinking, Nova Scotians commemorate Titanic victims (CTV News,15 April 2018)
Deanna Ryan-Meister, president of the Titanic Society of Atlantic Canada, says she’s not surprised the disaster is still holding peoples’ attention after more than a century. She says it’s important to continue to honour those who started their voyage with hope and ended it with tragedy.
According to a recent court filing, Premier Exhibitions has settled the largest general outstanding claim. The landlord of Premier’s former New York exhibition site asserted claims of $12.6 million in unpaid rent. Under the settlement, the former landlord will get $5.5 million and the other remaining claims are disallowed.
1.Underwater Explorer Has A Deep Respect For Leadership(Lethbridge Herald, 4 Mar 18) Ballard is one of the featured guests at this year’s Greatness in Leadership conference taking place in March.He is best known for finding the RMS Titanic in 1985, while on a secret navy mission to investigate two sunken nuclear submarines. “I was a naval officer doing something else, and needed a cover,” he said from his headquarters in Connecticut “I must say, the Pentagon was pissed when I made the discovery. I apologized and said I’d never do it again.” In May, Ballard will hit the open sea to work with Ocean Networks Canada. He and his crew are assisting with efforts to provide improvements to a tsunami early warning system by investigating the Juan de Fuca plate, a tectonic plate subducting under the West Coast.
2.WSU Engineering Students Helping Remap The Titanic (King5.com,1 Mar 2018) Since Titanic was discovered in 1985, there have been dozens of voyages to the wreckage from government agencies and scientists. But the last time a tourist laid eyes on it was 2005, and the last scientific expedition was in 2010. Technology has also changed a lot in eight years. This time, their five-person sub named Titan will be armed with 4K cameras and a special laser to bring back the best images ever seen. “We can tell within millimeters what the hull is like and create a 3D image of it which we will use in our virtual reality presentation of the wreck,” said Rush.
3.US Museum Labelling Titanic A Failure Blasted By Belfast Councillor(Belfast Telegraph, 27 Feb 18) The Museum of Failure in Los Angeles is dedicated to displaying 100 items which are rated in terms of innovation and design before being subjected to the museum’s ‘Fail-O-Meter’. The Harland & Wolff-built luxury liner was deemed unsinkable by its designers but tragically sank on its maiden voyage in April 1912 with the loss of more than 1,500 lives. However, Councillor Sonia Copeland, who represents the Titanic District Electoral Area in east Belfast, said the inclusion of the ill-fated cruise liner in the exhibition is completely inappropriate. “I think it’s disgusting. The Titanic hit an iceberg. That wasn’t a failure of the shipbuilders – it was a failure of nature, so to speak,” she said.
4.Medals Of War Hero Who May Have Unwittingly Helped Sink Titanic Go Up For Auction(Belfast Telegraph, 27 Feb 2018) A special set of medals owned by a Titanic crew member whose memory loss may have sparked the liner’s tragic demise is set to go under the hammer. Crew member David Blair was a selfless man who once plunged into the sea to save a life and received an OBE – but he may have unwittingly caused the catastrophic sinking of the famous ship in 1912. That’s because Second Officer Blair was taken off the Titanic at the last minute – and accidentally held on to the key to a locker containing the crow’s nest binoculars. Titanic survivor Fred Fleet told the official inquiry into the tragedy that if they had the binoculars they would have seen the iceberg that took the ship to its watery grave sooner.
Titanic Hotel’ In London With Same Dining Room As The Fateful Ship Reopens After £85M Makeover (The Sun, 16 Feb 2018) IT’S been 106 years since the Titanic sunk after striking an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean. And now a hotel with strong links to the tragedy is due to reopen after a huge £85 million refurbishment – a day after the anniversary of the sinking of the ship.The former Hotel Russell in London’s Bloomsbury has been renamed Principal London, and reopens its doors on on April 16. The Grade II listed building was designed by Charles Fitzroy Doll in 1898, and the ornate dining room on board the Titanic, also designed by him, is said to be a replica of the hotel’s. Several passengers on the ship also stayed at the hotel before they set sail on the Titanic from Southampton. There’s also a bronze dragon in the hotel that’s the twin of one that went down on the ship.
Titanic Costume Exhibit Woven Into Vanderbilt Family History At Biltmore(16 Feb 2017,Citizen Times) With its new exhibition of costumes from the movie “Titanic,” Biltmore brings its costume shows back from England and Europe and lands its guests squarely in America. It’s an emotional homecoming that’s deeply personal for Biltmore’s founder. After all, George Vanderbilt had tickets on the Titanic for himself and his wife, Edith, in early 1912. “We have it in writing,” notes Biltmore associate curator Lauren Henry. “It’s not a legend, it’s a fact that Mr. and Mrs. Vanderbilt were booked to be on Titanic.”
Clerkenwell Titanic Victim Signed On The Day Liner Left(Islington Tribune, 16 Feb 2018) Among them was Everett Edward Elliott, who lived in Wilmington Street, Clerkenwell. At only 24 years of age, he signed on as a trimmer on April 10, 1912, on the morning the Titanic left Southampton. His body, recovered by rescue ship Mackay-Bennett, lies in Halifax municipal cemetery.
Premier Exhibitions Bankruptcy Mediator Sought(Bankrupt Company News,16 Feb 2018) Premier Exhibitions and its official committees of equity security holders and unsecured creditors filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court a joint motion for appointment of mediator and to schedule mediation. The motion explains, “The Parties believe it is in the best interest of the estate to mediate any and all matters arising out of or related to the Plan or any other restructuring or liquidating plan, any restructuring and liquidation options and alternatives, the sale of the Debtors’ assets, and any related issues that the Parties agree to mediate. The Parties believe that mediation will help avoid a prolonged confirmation fight among them.”
The Titanic Museum Hosts Secret Dinner Parties You’ve Got To See To Believe(15 Feb 2018, Delish) It’s a striking sight, for sure, but then again, just beyond it is a massive castle, an inn where it’s Christmas year-round, and a towering King Kong climbing a cartoonish copy of the Empire State Building. No, I’m not tripping. This is Pigeon Forge, TN, home to Dollywood, wax museums, and every kind of tourist attraction imaginable — but I’ve got my sights set on the unsinkable ship that, tragically, sank more than 100 years ago. There’s a secret dining room inside that serves a three-course meal worthy of the White Star Line, but only for groups of 35 or more.
1.Remembering SS Canberra, The Last Hurrah Of A Golden Age (Brisbane Times, 6 Feb 2018) Almost 60 years ago, in March 1958, a massive ship rolled into the ocean from the same Belfast shipyard that had launched the Titanic. Dame Pattie Menzies travelled half the way round the world to smash champagne on the hull of the SS Canberra, one of the last hurrahs of the golden era before jet aircraft replaced ocean liners.That era is remembered at a new exhibition which opened last weekend at London’s Victoria and Albert museum – where the Canberra has been chosen to represent the end of an era.
2.Last Chance To See The Titanic?(Radio Canada International, 5 Feb 2018) The Canadian firm Sub C, has partnered with the U.S. operation, OceanGate Inc. in a venture to take a handful of people down to the wreck in a deepwater submersible. OceanGate’s “Cyclops 2” which can hold five people, is the only privately owned submersible capable of descending to the depth of the Titanic. It may be the last anyone will see of the iconic ship. Canadian scientists Henrietta Mann and Bhavleen Kaur at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia in examining rust samples taken from the ship on earlier dives, had discovered a previously unknown iron eating bacteria since named “Halomonas titanicae”. In their study published in the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology in 2010, they estimated that the accelerated rusting and decomposition means the ship could simply crumble and basically disappear into a mere rusty stain on the ocean floor within a matter of years. In 2010 they gave the ship only another 15-20 to be recognisable.
London’s Victoria & Albert Museum will give visitors a taste of the golden age of luxury travel when its exhibition Ocean Liners: Speed & Style opens on Saturday. The show explores the history behind the 19th and 20th centuries’ most opulent cruise ships, starting with the steamship the SS Great Eastern of 1859 and including the SS Kronprinz Wilhelm, RMS Titanic and its sister ship, RMS Olympic, as well as RMS Queen Mary, SS Normandie, SS United States and the QE2. An earlier exhibition took place at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, and has been reimagined for the V&A, incorporating more than 250 exhibits, some of which have never previously been seen in Europe. The story starts in the mid-19th century when ocean travel became a more appealing prospect for wealthy passengers rather than a dangerous voyage which could result in a watery grave.
Ocean Liners: Speed & Style is at London’s V&A from Saturday until June 17, then V&A Dundee from September 15 to February 24, 2019. For more information, see www.vam.ac.uk
2.‘Titanic’ Costume Exhibit Opens In February At Biltmore (27 Jan 2018, Sampson Independent) Quickly on the heels of the 20th anniversary of 1997’s blockbuster hit “Titanic,” Biltmore will launch a new exhibition, Glamour on Board: Fashion from Titanic the Movie. The exhibition offers dazzling attire worn by actors Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, and many others from the film’s large cast. Staged throughout Biltmore House, the exhibition opens Feb. 9 and runs through May 13.
3.Titanic Recreation Virtually Incredible: Exhibition Re-Imagines Doomed Cruise Ship In Extraordinary Detail For VR Experience Of A Lifetime (13 Jan 2018, Daily Mail) More than three decades after the Titanic shipwreck was found at the bottom of the Atlantic, a new virtual reality experience takes users below the water’s surface to explore the site. Titanic the Exhibition allows history buffs to wander the reconstructed replicas of the bedrooms and hallways of the British liner and now includes the spectacular technology giving viewers the opportunity to journey through the wreckage. Stunning graphics made possible by front line innovation takes audiences into the shipwreck through a virtual dive vessel to the depths of the freezing waters.
1. Titanic Foundation Launches Tourism Development Plan(31 Jan 2018, Museums Association)
Titanic Foundation, the charity set up in 2007 to preserve and promote Belfast and Northern Ireland’s maritime and industrial heritage, has unveiled plans to further develop the Titanic Quarter’s tourism offer. The Titanic Quarter Destination Plan identifies 12 projects under three core themes – connectivity, visitors and heritage. Projects include the creation of an “outdoor museum”, the development of a Maritime Mile to link the waterfront from Donegall Quay to the tip of Queen’s Island, and the continued preservation and restoration of the area’s heritage assets.
2.Davenport Hotel Recreating Original Titanic Menu(26 Jan 2018, KXLY) Chef Adam Swedberg and his team have selected five of the original 10 courses served aboard the Titanic. Guests will be allowed to sample and taste original recipes in a historic setting similar to what First Class passengers aboard the Titanic experienced. No reservations are required to enjoy this unique meal. The Palm Grill opens daily at 5 p.m. and closes at midnight. The 5-course dinner costs $50 per person and wine pairings with the meal are at an additional cost.
3. Tickets for Dive to Titanic Wreck Are Up for Grabs — if you have $130K to spare (21 Jan 2018, Toronto Star) Their $130,000 seats were priced at the inflation-adjusted cost of a first-class ticket for Titanic’s doomed maiden voyage, and help fund the company’s research. Each participant gets flown out for seven days on the chartered research vessel and at least one dive to the wreck site on a five-person sub lasting six to nine hours. “We have some folks who are mountain climbers, we have others who’ve been to the South Pole,” Rush said.
“One guy, I think he snowshoed to the North Pole. It’s a varied group, but I think the unifying characteristic is they’re adventurous.”
4. Divers Believe They’ve Found Famed Luxury Ship That Sank In 1838 Off N.C. Coast (19 Jan 2018, Courier Tribune) A luxury steamship that went to the bottom of the Atlantic in 1838 with half its affluent passengers may have been found 40 miles off the coast of North Carolina. The disappearance of the Pulaski remains one of the nation’s most dramatic and deadly maritime disasters, partly because half of the people on board died, but also because its passengers included some of the most prominent families in the southeast. Among those lost was New York Congressman William B. Rochester and six members of the Lamar family, then among the richest families in the southeast. The ship was bound for Baltimore from Savannah when it exploded around 11 p.m. on June 13, 1838. One hundred of the roughly 200 people on board died, including many who were scalded to death by steam. Newspaper accounts tell dramatic stories of “panicky passengers in their night clothes, seeking refuge on the promenade deck as the bow rose out of the water and ripped apart.”
A handwritten note written by a first class passenger is up for auction at Henry Aldridge & Son reports The News. The note was recovered from the body of Titanic first class passenger Alexander Oskar Holverson.
“It is oversized, hand written on Titanic letterhead by a victim just a day before the ship hit the iceberg, mentions the food, the music and the elite on board, contains an ominous message with regards to the fate of the ship, was carried by its author into the Atlantic and, thence, on to the body recovery ship and shows evidence of its submersion in salt water.”
The note is expected to fetch £80,000 ($106,050 USD) when it comes up for auction on 21 October.