• Arjab Sinha

The Olympic: Tall tale or Deep Conspiracy

Arjab Sinha

Let me tаke you bаck to 10th April 1912; A glorious and perfect Wednesday. Just the day for the Behemoth that was the R.M.S. Titanic to set sail. Many people may not know this but the Titanic was disaster- prone from the beginning, almost colliding with her running mate the Oceanic and the SS City of New York. A crash was narrowly avoided with a matter of feet.

But enough divergence, what if I told you that maybe the Titanic never set sail that fine day.

What if this senseless loss of life and assets may just have been an elaborate insurance scam?

What if, on 14 April 1912 at 11:40 pm, it wasn't the Titanic but rather her sister ship the Olympic that crashed into the iceberg and met her fateful end.

Let me take you, my readers, on a voyage of speculation and evidence into the mystery that surrounds the Olympic and the Titanic and the infamous crash. Some context is required first to understand the true scale of this deception and intrigue. The Olympic and the Titanic were sister ships identical in almost every aspect. The Olympic had been in service for some time longer than the Titanic, and the two were sister ships identical in almost every aspect but one- the windows. This might seem like a small and trivial detail, but this will factor into the greater picture later.

Our tale starts with the Olympic on the 20th of September 1911, when it had a collision with the HMS Hawke off the coast of the Isle of Wight. This crash was immensely problematic for the owners, White Star Line, as it meant that not only would it have to be put out of service for months for repairs, its sister ship, the Titanic would launch at a later date than scheduled, causing financial losses for the company. So a plan was devised, switch the Titanic with her sister ship Olympic and sink it to claim the insurance money. Only a few people knew of this plan i.e. the people in charge:- J.Bruce Ismay, Lord Pirrie, Thomas Andrews and J.P.Morgan and it was impossible to distinguish between the two ships side by side without looking at the name plates.

As soon as the details were finalised modifications began to be made to make the Olympic identical , internally as well as externally. This Included carpeting the tiled floors of the Olympic, and removing the B-deck from the actual Titanic and replacing them with the Olympics’ promenade to make the switch that all the more believable.

Other discrepancies include the fact that shipbuilders who had worked on the Titanic back in the shipyards of Harland and Wolff in Belfast have come out and said that the two ships were swapped and White Star Lines had threatened them with the loss of their jobs if news of this reached the public.

The main red flag incident in my eyes is that of J.P. Morgan and a few other first class passengers.

A day before the launch of the ship, Morgan was unable to take part in the journey due to him being sick. Funnily two days after the ship had set sail, Morgan was spotted in France, seemingly in, perfect health. J. Bruce Ismay was also unable to journey due to his wife’s ill health but lo and behold they were spotted at a motoring holiday in Wales.

Also of note is the fact that J.P.Morgan also had seven valuable bronze statues removed one hour before the ship left Southampton.

Was the real reason behind this lie the fact that J.P. Morgan knew that the ship was going to sink. That we shall never know as J.P. Morgan passed away in 1913.

But now we come to the real clincher and that is the case of the windows. The windows of the Olympic were narrow and clustered whereas those of the Titanic were wide and uniform. The ship that was wrecked that day did not have wide, evenly spaced windows as can be witnessed below.

Another funny fact is that all the promotional material of the Titanic used images of the Olympic instead of the Titanic. Now this strikes me as strange as people were not paying for the Olympic experience, they were paying for the Titanic experience. Maybe they were just trying to get the people used to the image of the Olympic rather than that of the Titanic.

The final aria would be the fact that after the Olympic was taken out of service in 1935, its wooden paneling and other parts were taken apart and used in the construction of the White Swan Hotel in Alnwick, UK.

The paneling shows the number 401 and I find that fishy as the number given to the Olympic was 400 whereas the Titanic had the number… you guessed it …. 401.

But all in all this might just be hearsay, speculation and smoke and mirrors. The mystery surrounding the Olympic remains just that - mystery. One cannot definitively say that they were interchanged as the people who might have done are long gone, lost to the annals of time. In the end it will remain one of Life’s strange and mysterious ventures and it is the author's opinion that it should remain that way - an enigma.

About The Author -

Arjab Sinha is a student of science at St Joseph's ISC. He enjoys the finer arts and will pursue the most outlandish theories as long as it piques his curiosity.

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