Titanic and Olympic: How to tell them apart in photographs.

The RMS Titanic and the RMS Olympic were sister ships (along with the HMHS Britannic). So they can be very difficult to tell apart in photographs. In my first Titanic book Titanic, A Search For Answers, I published photographs of the two on page 20 (see below)

I used photographs of the Olympic on pages 28, 30, and 32; so I wanted people to be able to see the two ships together to enable readers to tell them apart. Even so, some readers wrote to me thinking those three photographs of Olympic were Titanic. This article will enable you to tell the difference between the two sister ships, and how to tell the difference between Olympic photographs taken before and after the sinking of the Titanic. So … let’s get to it. (click on the images to make them bigger.)

The following illustration shows an image of Titanic with before and after disaster images of Olympic with the differences marked on them. After that will be photos of identifiable images of Titanic and Olympic, images of Olympic often labeled Titanic, photos that could be either ship, and last photos of the 1911 and April 1912 Olympic.



We have been through this before. Your opinion, though impassioned, is not evidence.  Your saying something is a fact, does not make it so. I understand you have educated yourself quite well on the Titanic, unfortunately you have not expanded your education to encompass very much beyond the Titanic in the maritime field. Until you have something new to offer, your comments will not be posted as they have already been posted and refuted.


This image explains the visual differences between the Titanic & the Olympic, and the visual changes made to Olympic after Titanic’s loss

1911 Olympic photograph.

1911 Olympic photograph.

RMS Titanic.

RMS Titanic

This photograph of the RMS Olympic is often labeled “RMS TITANIC”.

Pre-Titanic loss, Olypic-class boatdeck.

Pre-Titanic loss, Olympic-class boatdeck (Titanic)

Pre-Titanic loss, Olympic-class boatdeck (Titanic)

Post-Titanic loss, RMS Olympic.

Post-Titanic loss, RMS Olympic.

Pre-Titanic loss, RMS Olympic photograph

Next Sunday, March 4, 2012, my article will explain the research methods I use when analyzing evidence in historical research in all my research work.

Here is the link for the British Report on the loss of the Titanic, “Loss of the Steamship ‘Titanic’.” You can buy the print book, or download the e-book for free.

 You may download a free sample of my book “Titanic, A Search For Answers” at your favorite e-book store, it is also available at Amazon  in print and E-book formats. This book has more than 35 photographs (hardcover has more) some which do not appear in most Titanic books. Such as a photograph of the tug boat which met the Carpathia and its Titanic survivors. The link to the next part of this article is below the next two photographs.

If you do not have a kindle, you can download a free app for your phone or computer.

Joe C Combs 2nd signing books

Joe C Combs 2nd signing books

I have added a photo mosaic of Titanic and Olympic at Ocean Dock in Southampton. Follow the shortlink to see this new addition. Thank you. http://wp.me/P1MLkF-7W

20 April 2012:  I have added this to help me answer Jon’s comment (made on 19 April 2012 below). Olympic arrived in Southampton in late April after Titanic sank. After provisioning the Olympic was due to sail again, however the black gang mutinied over the collapsible boats that had been added to Olympic after Titanic sank. The black gang did not believe the collapsible boats were safe. This was not settled until May 4.

Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RMS_Olympic) has a good write-up pn the Olympic class ships and talks about the mutiny and the refit after Titanic sank. Although, wikipedia states that Olympic was withdrawn from service and sent to the builders for the refit on 9 October 1912, I believe the correct date was actually 9 September 1912. I believe that Encycopedia Titanica will also say September 1912 ( http://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/). Encyclopedia Titanica is one of the best sites on the web for information and forum discussions about the Titanic and her sister ships.

RMS Olympic arriving in New York on her maiden voyage, June 1911. The over-hanging starboard bridge-wing can be seen. Photo from wikipedia.

RMS Oylimpic entering the Thompson graving dock for repairs while Titanic is under construction. The over-hanging starboard bridge-wing can be seen in the photograph. Photo from author’s collection.

RMS Olympic entering the Thompson graving dock on 11 September 1912 for a refit after the loss of RMS Titanic. Photo from Encyclopedia Titanica (www.encyclopedia-titanica.org)

111 responses to “Titanic and Olympic: How to tell them apart in photographs.

  1. Hi Joe,
    I would like make quite clear I do not for one minute believe the Olympic was switch for the Titanic. As I have said before the time scale it just not a enough time and over the years with over hundreds or may be thousand person involved with the project. Some one would of blown the whistle by now.
    That theory by Robin Gardiner and Andrew Newton, (The Shocking Truth Titanic) DVD of the switch. Make interesting reading and viewing, but they are just too many flaws in the theory of such a switch. That bit about the California ship was part of the plan too? It just unbelievable. As the Titanic had fired the rockets. Why would the California switched off her radio and not come to the rescue if she was part of the plan in the first place?

    • But it would make a great novel, you have to admit that Mike.

      You would not believe some of the comments that get made in support of that theory (though most of them are not approve because of their inflammatory and insulting language).

      I tell, people time and again they can respectfully disagree or go someplace else, but they just don’t listen.

      Mike, have you given anymore thought to writing an article for us? We really do believe you would do a great job. The decision is yours. But you are articulate and do have the knowledge.

  2. Hi ,
    That switch from Titanic to Olympic? Whether done after the big accident with HMS Hawke ship September 1911 or the propeller change in late February/early March 1912. I look at the time scale in both cases. There is just not enough time to the switch over. In September 1911 the Titanic is far from finished at this stage. In fact she is already behind on delivery schedule! The slipway in those days always took the longest time to build a ship. The Olympic took 22 months and 4 days on the slipway. She is the prototype for the Titanic which always take longer to build. But as for the Titanic she has already taken 26 months on the slipway? When you are building the same model for the second time around it should take a quicker time than the first model? That is another unanswered question why have taken longer? Have they over stretch them self? So at the time of HMS Hawke accident you are asking them to compress 4-5 months work into 2 months work? Impossible!
    The propeller change in early March 1912. Again the Titanic is still has some way to compete. Look at the photos of the two ships together in Belfast at the Thomas dry dock. The deck A of Titanic enclose windows have not been done or even started yet? Yet there is only 3 weeks before her sea trails! The 80-84 windows to be enclosed are no five minute job either. They have winding sliding frame so they can be open and closed via a crank handle.
    In fact its pretty well know now the Titanic is never competed. She a pile of missing furniture, empty picture frames, toilets missing, handle rails, kitchen equipment and other fitments too. They are still painting her right up the to the start of the maiden day crossing 10th April 1912. They are under huge pressure to get her sailing at all cost as she months behind delivery date.Taken more than 6 months longer to build over the sister ship Olympic and have spent quite a bit more money her too. This is only adding to the pressure to get your money back on the investment you have spend her? No paying passengers, no incoming revenue to pay for the investment!

    • Well they wouldn’t hand a frame without a painting in it. But yes, there was a lot of work that was incomplete. But in order for a switch to take place and for White Star Line to get away with insurance fraud, you have thousands of people who would know about the switch (crew of both ships, people who sailed on both ships, shipyard workers who worked on both ships). Those thousands of people would have to keep quiet about the switch. If just one person let the word get out – White Star Line would find itself up on charges of insurance fraud. (Not to mention that the insurance of the ships was spread out among several insurers. And the single largest insurer was the White Star Line itself).

      A good theory. Would make a great book or movie. But unfortunately I really do not think it is very realistic. Have a good day Mike. Talk with you later.

  3. Roy Carter

    My Grandfather was a master carpenter at Harland & Wolfe and did wonderful carving. He worked on the staircases of both the Titanic & Olympic. The main staircase of the Titanic was not finished at the time of departure from Southhampton. The gang was to stay on board for the trip to New York and finish the work at night during the crossing, but the captain complained of the noise of the work would be disturbing to the passengers and they were sent off just before departure.

    • Roy thank you so much for your comment. I would like to ask you to tell us about your grandfather. If you are willing to do that I will send you my email address so we can talk.
      People like your grandfather are a true treasure that our modern world is losing. We need to learn more about those great men and women who created the world of the 20th century.
      Thank you so much for sharing Roy.

  4. So, was there any possibility of a last minute switch, or is that theory just complete bunk? I’d never heard of it before yesterday, and I got curious.

  5. Destiny

    So, if the two ships are so difficult to tell apart, is it at all possible that a last-minute switch took place just for convenience, with only a few people aware? I don’t buy for an instant the full extent of the switch theory, that there were rescue ships in wait, that Titanic (supposedly actually the damaged Olympic) was purposely scuttled, and shit just went wrong in the process, but, could there have been a switch at all, just for convenience? I only just found out this ‘switch conspiracy’ was a thing the other day, when it was used as an example in my earth science class, and I got curious.

    • The ships are difficult to tell apart in photographs. The photograph is only inches in size, but the ship was 882 feet 9 inches long. If you were on board there were many things you could see to let you know which ship you were on.

      In order for the two ships to have been switched you would have had thousands of people who would have known about it and you would have needed all of those people to say nothing. Which we both know there is always at least one who can’t keep his mouth shut LOL

  6. Pingback: 10 Lesser-Known Facts About the Titanic

    • Yes you are correct. There were many photographs and even news reel movies of the Olympic’s maiden voyage, but no news reel footage of Titanic’s maiden voyage and few photographs.

      • Destiny

        Curiosity, why weren’t there any news reels about Titanic’s maiden voyage? Was it because they were still working on her so close to her launch (paintings as still going on on April 10, or something like that)?

        • They did not take any news reel footage of the Titanic because it was no big deal. The Titanic was the second ship in the class. The news reel footage was done the year before when the Olympic made its maiden voyage. The Olympic’s maiden voyage was the big deal. The theaters had already decided to run Olympic maiden voyage film and say it was the Titanic before the Titanic had even sailed.

  7. Hi Joe,
    1. Can some one ask me the question of the Olympic replacement propeller change late February/early March1912 at Belfast. Which side: Port or Starboard?
    2. After the sinking of Titanic the only one propeller visible in the sea bed or mud. Which side was that too? Port or Starboard?

    I haven’t forgotten the research on William Perrie and now finding he was a very big spender on him self and spending less and less time at Belfast at the high of building the Olympic & Titanic ships? Where it is poor old brother in law Alexandra Carlisle is left holding the fort and chief designer which is leading to a serious fall out between the two of them? Boy is that Pirrie a big spender on him self and all the deals he is doing with other shipyards in Clyde too? One has the ask the question has got any time left for the Olympic & Titanic days?

    • The “Olympic-Titanic switch” is a topic that has seen books written on both sides. However, when you step back to take a good look at the time period, industry, shipyard, and the White Star Line I am sure that you will see that the idea that a switch of the two ships could not have been pulled off. You are talking about thousands of people at H & W and White Star that would have known about the switch. It could not have been pulled off without people “spilling the beans.”
      As for Perrie and Carlisle they both had different jobs. Perrie was the managing director he had the entire shipyard to think of. Part of his job was to bring in new clients and to expand the company. The ship’s designer is concerned with the one ship he is working on. Harland & Wolff had several ships being built and several ships having work done on them at the time the Titanic and Olympic was being built. Perrie could hardly have been the man managing each project. Alexander Carlisle came back out of retirement after the Titanic sank with Thomas Andrews aboard because he had been working on the ship when he retired. With the death of Andrews, Carlisle became the one man who knew more about the ship than anyone. Carlisle was the original designer, Andrews took over with Carlisle’s retirement. Then Carlisle took over with Andrews’s death.
      It is better to look at the Titanic with a telescope and a microscope than just a microscope.

    • Christian Pierce

      I can’t speak for Mr. Combs, but I found everything from your tone to your statements to be highly irritating. Could you not have just come forward and stated that you believed the switch theory invented by Robin Gardiner to be true and spared us the attempts to cast aspersions on those involved with the Olympic Class?

      As for the theory, it’s nonsense. There was no financial incentive since the WSL were underwriters for a full third of Olympic and Titanic’s insurance policies and it was far from practical to pull off given the dozens upon dozens of differences between the two ships. If they really wanted to dispose of Olympic (and they didn’t), it would have been much easier and cheaper to just burn her in the docks.

  8. YourSoundman

    Image #15, labeled that starboard overhanging bridge wing can be clearly seen: https://joeccombs2nd.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/800px-olympic_in_new_york_cropped.jpg

    Fellow readers, to how many of you does that bridge wing appear to be overhanging?? Zoom in to examine.

    • This has already been discussed in detail, including a blowup of the photograph.

      There are many photographs of the Olympic. Some of the photographs the bridge wing looks flush and some it is obviously extended. Some Titanic fans have claimed that the bridge wing was extended after the Titanic sank. There are two problems with this.
      1- There are photographs of the Olympic with its pre-Titanic number of lifeboats and an extended bridge wing in the same photograph.
      2- These ships were built to provide the owners with a profit. Extending the bridge wing costs money and takes time (granted not much time, but you cannot do it while it is in service). The owners of ships do not make money by performing costly changes for purely aesthetic reasons. Changes would have to be to improve safety or profitability. Extending the bridge wing does not bring in more profit to the company. Extending the bridge wing also does not improve the safety of the ship. On a cursory examination it may seem to improve visibility. But when you look at the design and construction of the bridge wing (including the raised walk along the bridge wing bulkhead) you quickly discover that the extended bridge wing does not do that either.

      As I said this was already asked, answered, and discussed on this blog.

      • YourSoundMan

        “This has already been discussed”, “this has already been asked”, are just polite ways of ending a quest to confirm which ships we already know are in this blog’s photographs.

        • This from a man who will not even use his real name.
          No! It is NOT a polite way of ending a question.
          If you had taken the time to the previous comments in THIS thread where you commented – you would have seen several comments that were basically the exact SAME conversation. Nothing new.
          There are two ways to get your comment trashed 1) disparage a writer or someone who has made a comment on this page 2) make a comment that has already been made without adding anything new.

          There is a comment this week by someone on the “Titanic/Olympic” switch theory. Most comments on this don’t get posted – they bring nothing new to the table. This comment this week brings something new, so it got posted. I do not agree with the person making the comment, but he did bring something new to the table.

          You have attacked me personally with your disparaging comment. You got a pass this time. Next time your comment gets trashed if you break either of those two rules. Remember
          1) If you repeat a previous comment without adding anything new – your comment is trashed.
          2) If your comment is anything other than respectful to writers and comments on this page – your comment gets trashed.

          Other than that say what you want.

          • ChrisKUSA

            I was not attacking you. I was criticizing your technique of quelling a quest for the truth. And in all honesty I blame your curator friend, not you, for the mistake in photo #8 Leaving Southampton. The ship in photo #8 is Titanic. The vast majority of your readers have done their research and know it so. Scroll down and view the thumb votes. The difference between that version of the photo and others out there is its inferior quality. The contrast and brightness of #8 are inferior to that of most other versions of this photo. The name Titanic is lost to black.

            We readers have matched up dozens of versions of this photo, centered perfectly about the ship in question, and all elements, in some photos the name TITANIC on the port bow, in both in the full version and in variously cropped versions, along with #8 in this blog, all point to RMS Titanic. I’m sorry if this was “brought up before” but it needs to be said. Why won’t you just admit that your curator, at the very least, *might* be wrong? Invite him on here to explain himself.


            • By suggesting I am quelling free speech YOU ARE attacking me. As for the curator (He won’t give me permission to use his name and won’t come on here to discuss it. He says that when it comes to Titanic fanatics you either agree with them or they attack you there is no discussion or middle ground.) who gave me the photo – it is not my job to say he is right or wrong. Read my articles on the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley. There are two men who claim that they found the submarine, Clive Cussler and Dr. Spence. Each man claims the other was not the man who found the submarine. I give you each man’s story, but I never say which one I think found the submarine. That is not my job. It is my job to put the information out there and for you do decide.
              What I do is search for facts, and I present the facts that you find. Fact and truth is not the same thing, and if you are interested in truth you need to take a philosophy class. The truth depends on whose perspective you are using. Facts do not take sides and do not care whose perspective you are using.
              I am a man who was told by a boss that he would not promote me because he didn’t trust me, I was too honest. What he meant, but did not say is that he wanted someone who he knew would lie to protect the boss if it came down to it and that was not me in his view. So yes when you say I am suppressing truth you have attacked and insulted me.
              I have given you more leeway than most people get, and posted comments of yours which are argumentative without facts new to support your opinion.
              Titanic represents less than 10% of my written work and yet takes almost 50% of my time. Yet it is only with the topic of Titanic that people have made abusive comments towards other comments, guest writers, myself, and in some cases even my staff.
              I am a writer, not a Titanic writer. Titanic is just one of the many different topics I have written about. The time I spend on Titanic needs to represent the amount of my work that Titanic represents. If I posted each comment all I would do is spend 100% of my time on Titanic and 80% of the comments would merely be repeating what someone else has already commented on the thread.

              READ THE THREAD, if you have something new to offer – comment. If you have no new evidence, facts, or information, but you agree with a previous comment then hit the thumbs up button and move on.

  9. Hi Joe ,
    Just to add about the steering of the ship as on the ship steering wheel you always back in those days, turn the wheel the opposite way you waned to go.
    This is the standard practice as a tiller rudder. The ship wheel turning practice would remain that way until the mid 1930. where it was reversed as the same a bicycle handle bar. Very few had cars in those days but many had bicycles.
    it was know in a state of panic ship wheels were turned in the wrong direction! One cannot feel if that was the case of the HMS Hawke collision with the Olympic. But as for the Titanic they did turn the Ship wheel the correct way in trying to avoid the ice berg by turning the wheel hard over to Starboard (right) to turn the ship to Portside (left).

    • I understand about steering a ship and the difference in the way orders used to be given and why. I have studied ships and the shipping industry for almost 5 decades. I also spent a decade at sea qualifying many at sea watches stations including helmsman and lookout. My reference to cars is so people in the 21st century reading our comments have a point of reference to understand our conversation. The first modern car was built in Germany in 1890 and the first limousine was built in 1902, yet horses were still the most common means of transportation when the Titanic sank.

  10. Hi Joe,
    Thank you for your reply and makes interesting reading with a few comments? Yes it all very well saying that the Titanic did not need a longer sea trails than the Olympic. But 4-5 hours was just too short were only one certificate was given to say she was a floating vessel and the engines and steering gear all worked. They have run out of time and the other safety certificate is also required for paying passengers which is to be issued at Southampton.
    Also remember that the Board of Trade inspectors were poorly paid and under staff, having to deal with powerful business men who could make there lives very difficult for them?
    To me its clear the Titanic was just not ready for her maiden voyage as there is so many missing items and still painting her right up to the day of sailing on the 10th April! Those missing items would of not stopped the BoT giving the final certificate. But how can you give a sea worthy certificate to any ship with a coal bunker on fire? It like given a MOT certificate with the fuel tank on fire?
    I don’t disagree with you to say that many ships would set with coal bunker on fire. As with all certificates, one you have the certificate you can do what you like for another year!
    As the Olympic was all competed before leaving Belfast and well on the way of been run in too.
    Then when you look at the Captain. Its common practice when dealing with a large luxury liner that you are there at less 5-6 days before hand. As Smith was not there but Captain Herbert Haddock was there from the 25th March in Belfast. To me Haddock was to be the distant Captain for the Titanic maiden voyage.
    Poor old Smith who had a dreadful time for the last 8-9 months then given only day and half notice after the returning from another rough crossing with the Olympic! What is going on here? It just poor management from the top? Bruce Ismay is also under huge pressure from his boss Mr PJ Morgan who does not listen to excuses. One has to realise the Olympic ship is an finical disaster at this stage with the HMS Hawke collision and then the propeller accident and replacement. Not to mention they have now loss 3 return crossing a very valuable source of income to pay for the brand new ship. One has to question the passenger figures from Southampton to New York. As the maiden voyage were almost the same as Titanic just over 1300 hundred. That only makes the ship only 54% full? You will make a loss on that figure! The return figure were a lot better like over 90% full. The Southampton figures did improved a bit for the next 3 crossing. It sad to say the 5th crossing would of been very good figure! Then the costly High Court case over HMS Hawke which did not go there way and was put stress on White Star staff. Smith was well gutted on the out come of the court case.
    Morgan is in serous trouble with International Mercantile Marine Company facing huge losses. The shares in IMMC have crashed from $85 dollars to $18 dollars and no signs of recovery. The whole project of Morgan plan trying to dominate the Atlantic shipping trade has turned into a finical disaster. Which one knows if a company comes a loss making it only puts the employees under pressure too. Which rather has a habit of employees making more mistakes!
    Now that payment for the Olympic ship over 5 years! If the ship has cost £1.5 pounds. One has to ask if that included Harland & Wolff profit of 4-5%?
    If the payment is over 60 months you are looking at £25,000 pounds per month. However that is only the if it is going to the business plan! The finance people only work in percentages and margins.The finance are never satisfied until the ship is a 100% full! Nobody can guarantee to fill the ship full every time. So you have to settle for reasonable figure of return like 80-85% full to get your money back. Word of course even at 85% full the finance will always expect the figures to be higher? More important were is the break even line before you are making a loss. It has to be around the two thirds or 66% full. Then if you are only in the 70% -80% full making only a small profit its only going to take longer to pay of the ship.
    Just remember if you are only filling a ship 70% full, the finance will be quick to say why are you building a ship that size? As you are paying for a ship 30% bigger than required!
    To me it looks like the case the market research before building the Olympic class ships was very poor due to Morgan demanding the ships to be built to out do the two Cunard ships Lusitania and Mauretania. Cleary Morgan had under estimated the British Government coming to Cunard rescue and there financial arrangement for the two ship was a huge gift to Cunard and not to be turned down?
    The whole saga of Titanic has turn into a pressure pot with out a safety relieve valve.
    I am doing a research on William Perrie at present and coming up with things that are never mention? Can see how they are not helping on the progress of the Olympic class ships too? If interested let me know?
    Well I think I have said enough for now.
    Best regards,

    • I understand what you are saying Mike. But they did not need three days of sea trials for the Titanic. I have done sea trials on a ship coming out of the shipyard after being built. We were powered by a nuclear reactor and spent less than 24 hours at sea before going back to the shipyard to drop off the shipyard workers. Much of the equipment does not need the ship to be at sea in order to test it. The first ship in any class is always given a much longer sea trial. For the lead ship it is the very first time that equipment in a hull of that design has ever been tested and the trials are much longer. Most of the equipment can be tested with the ship tied up in port and it is tested as the shipyard gives control of the equipment over to the ships crew.
      There are many things in the Titanic story that just are not right, but most of that is not in what happened but in what the public believes. A good example of that is the “left turn only” myth. To people who understand the physics of how a ship turns, the damage on the Titanic clearly shows the ship was turning to the right when it struck the iceberg. That’s not opinion, that’s science. Good luck with your research and let us know what you find out. There are many more articles on the Titanic on our blog. We can also tell you of some other good sites to hit too. Best wishes.

      • YourSoundMan

        So if Titanic was turning to the right when they hit the ice, that could mean one of two things: They intentionally hit the ice on the starboard side, or, they collided with the berg on the ship’s PORT bow, while attempting to steer away from it.

        From a recording of officer Murdoch’s later description of what happened, he ordered the ship to turn to port to avoid the berg, and then to starboard so as to “swing her stern clear” – in his own words – of the berg.

        Of course, all turn commands were still the reverse of what they meant in 1912,(hard-a-port = a turn to the right, and hard-a-starboard = turn to the left) so there is plenty of opportunity for confusion.

        • Wrong on both counts, but I understand your confusion and that is my fault. What First Officer Murdoch was trying to do was to swerve around the iceberg just like you would in your car if a child or dog were to run into the street in front of you. Only he was doing it with a vehicle that weighed more than 40,000 tons and was moving at over 20 knots.

          A car turns from its from wheels and a forklift from its back wheels. You turn a car by moving the front of the car in the direction you want to go. But a forklift turns by moving the back of the forklift in the opposite direction you want to go. Ships turn like forklifts. Also, a ship has a pivot point during a turn. On any ship this pivot point is roughly one-third of the way back from the bow. So if you are turning a ship to port (left) everything in front of the pivot point moves left (port) and everything behind (aft of) the pivot point moves starboard (right). On the Titanic this pivot point was where the bridge was at.

          The iceberg was dead ahead and slightly to starboard (right) according to the testimony of the lookouts. So Murdoch turned to the port (left).
          The idea was to swing the bow (front of the ship) clear of the iceberg until it was past the iceberg and then shift the rudder (same amount of rudder but in the opposite direction) so the stern (back of the ship) would clear the iceberg.

          When Titanic was turning to the left the bow was moving away from the iceberg but this made the stern move directly in the path of the iceberg. When Titanic began to turn to starboard the stern was moving away from the iceberg, but the bow was moving towards the iceberg.
          Main stream opinion is that Murdoch never turned the ship to starboard. This is because of what he said to Captain Smith. But the science of physics says that the Titanic was turning to starboard when it struck. If Titanic had been turning to port the bow would have been clear of the iceberg with the stern in its path. If the Titanic is turning to starboard the bow is swinging towards the iceberg with the stern swinging away from the iceberg.

          Turning to port? Titanic’s stern is damaged. Turning to starboard? Titanic’s bow is damaged. Do not turn at all and continue straight ahead? The entire starboard side of the Titanic would have been damaged.

          I wrote an article that explains all of this. Most people will find it too much detail, but I think you will enjoy it. Here are some links to some articles I think will help you: “Titanic: Left Turn Only Myth,” “Titanic: “Iceberg Right Ahead” – Conventional Chronology Wrong,” “Titanic: The MHS Hawke, The SS New York, & Captain Smith,” “My Research Methods: Part One,” “My Research Methods: Part Two.”

          When you finish your research I would like to invite you to be a guest author and write an article on your findings for our readers. Think about it and let me know.

          P.S. Something else you might be interested in. All the cable channels (Discovery, A & E, History Channel) say the Titanic steel was weak and brittle, but no one knew that at the time because there were no tests to demonstrate that. This is not true, and I prove it in my book “Titanic, A Search For Answers“. I also discuss Titanic’s speed and shed some light on the Californian incident. The book covers the major controversies of the ship, give s some background, and has many photos including ones you do not normally see in Titanic books. You can download the first 20% for free. You can download it to your ereader at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or just about anyplace. Also, I think Amazon has it in print, but you’ll have to check with Amazon.

      • Spooner

        Hi Joe,

        I understand what you are trying say that the second ship Titanic does not require the same length of time of sea trails as the first Ship Olympic has had. But at the end of day this is a private commercial company. As with any private company you have to make a profit. If you don’t there only one way you are going. Bust ,Broke or Bankrupted. Trying to sell a lost making company is very hard act to follow. As far White Star goes it is making a profit and so is the Leyland Line too. But the problem Morgan is facing his American shipping lines are not making a profit. With his huge investment in forming IMMC at $120 million dollars with over 125 ships. He is heavy depending on the profits from the British shipping companies to pay his investment back. But this is just not happening and his losses are only getting worse!

        As far as the Olympic goes it is not rocket science that the ship is losing a huge sum of money with the accidents she is having. This is the last thing that Morgan wants hear about. Just remember back in those days there are no working law protection or tribunals. Morgan is known to sack people at the snap of a finger! Morgan just not listen to excises. But now is putting pressure on the Titanic to get up and sailing ASAP. I think you will agree with me that the Titanic was just not ready for maiden voyage. A another week would of made all the different.

        I can see the pressure pot is starting back in 1907 were the threat of the two new Cunard ships Lusitania and Mauritania is on the horizon but up and sailing yet. That meeting in the Downshire house in London between Ismay and Pirrie in April 1907 to build the Olympic class ships to counter act the new Cunard ships. One wonder where they guessing on the performance of the two new Cunard ships which were not up and sailing at this stage? When you look at the prices of the three Olympic class ships at today’s prices you looking at nearly $1000 million dollars. Yet the boss of the company White Star is not there? Mr B Ismay has now to get the go ahead from his boss Mr JP Morgan! Now if you know the back ground of Morgan on how he works you realise this an uphill struggle. Morgan is ferrous and feels that the British Government have betrayed him. We know from the New York Times newspaper, which Morgan owns there are mentioning of the new ships at 1000 feet long, 50 thousand tons a higher standard of luxury and faster than the Cunard ships? Yet the two new Cunard ships are not sailing yet? Is this panic starting to setting in? We know Pirrei is to visit Morgan house in New York to discuss about the new ships and is worn Morgan the type of ship he is talking about are going to cost a fortune. It is at this stage Morgan has to settle for a price he can afford. As we know the price is $ 7,5millon dollars or £1.5 million pounds for each ship. This is very much the case to build a ship that must outperform the two new Cunard ships which are due for maiden crossing in September for Lusitania and November for Mauritania. So are they still guessing on the performance of the new Cunard ships? We know that Pirrie is to face a huge uphill struggle as H&W do not have the facilities to build such a large ship. Where Pirrie is faced with very expensive changes to the shipyard. Pirrie is contracted to IMMC to build the ships for them. Pirrie is also to take a huge gamble with the Belfast Harbour Board by demanding them to pay for the Thomson Dry Dock and widening and deepening the river Lagan to launch the new ship. If they don’t pay he move his shipyard elsewhere? This must of been some gamble he is taking on. As he is not the only shipyard in Belfast? As under the leadership of Pirrie for H&W a arrival shipyard know as the wee joke shipyard of Belfast, Workman & Clark have caught up H&W in tonnage of new ships?

        We know that Pirrie is a shrewd hard headed business man and like to spend a fortune on himself. Rapped up been the mayor of Belfast then a Lord or Viscount. He is all for pomp and glory and only the fineness will do for him. I have been to the Godalming Museum were Jack or John Phillips the Titanic wireless operator came from and got the single biggest send off with a large cloister was built for him and three acres of park named after him. I also looked at the photos of the Witley Park mansion which Pirrie brought in 1909 at the height of building the two new ships. This mansion is quite something else. If you think that the Ormiston mansion in Belfast brought of his ex boss Mr E Harland with 60 acres and then the luxury house in London Downshire house. Well this place is quite something else. It makes the other two properties look like second and third rate! Over 700 acres 32 bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, private theatre, private hospital, ballroom, library, palm court, 50 horse stables, and many other rooms all built to the highest standard and to impress throughout. If that was enough a huge man lake 40 feet deep with a glass ballroom under the lake and boathouse in the middle of lake with pumping station and 400-600 feet of corridors under the lake with glass panels. 400 acres of land scape gardens and farm. Pirrie certainty knew on how the other half lived! The running costs were huge. If you include the other two properties he is employing about 100 staff per week to look after the three properties!

        Back to 1907. Pirrie has not kept pace with new technology were a so call merger is to take place with John Brown shipyard. Who have the licence to build Parson turbines and are in a join adventure with Charles Curtis turbine engines know as the Brown Curtis engines. John Brown have Admiralty contracts ships to build. They also have a steel mill company Atlas & Spring company in Sheffield. Manufacture of large casings. The merger is in John Brown favour as they have a 52% stake in H&W! All this is going on even before the two new Cunard ship have set sail for their maiden voyage crossing? Are they panicking here?

        Then when you look into the costs of the Cunard ships against the Olympic & Titanic, there are chalk and cheese apart? Cunard are finance by the Government. Furthermore they are to receive an annual maintainer of £150 thousand pounds for the ships. Plus £70 thousand Royal mail contract party taken away from White Star! If that wasn’t bad enough. As it was the Government money they are a two purpose ship. One as a luxury high speed liner. Two as war ship, were the Admiralty are to step in and start making expensive changes to better quality steel 30% stronger reserved for battle ships. Reduce the thickness by 10% and still have a very strong ship. A modern steering gear. With many more water tight bulkheads of 34, 40 feet above water line with powerful bilge pumps. They mention the Olympic & Titanic is built with 3 million rivets. As for the Cunard ships have used 4 million rivets! Where have the extra rivets been used? Bulkheads. As anything new in technology with turbines and four propellers there is always the learning curve to follower. As the Lusitania is to suffer from vibration problems and to course a three month delay were more expensive modification are required at the Government expense! We can see the original costs of £2.6 million for the two ships has gone way past that figure at the Government cost and not Cunard!

        As for Olympic & Titanic the costs have to be found within the company? I can see they have spent more on the Titanic and has taken them 6-7 months longer to build over the Olympic? Like I have said before I can see the whole story of the Titanic had turn into a pressure pot without a safety relive valve. IF I have only one person to choice from whom is guilty of the loss of the Titanic. It has to be Mr JP Morgan who just pilled on the pressure for his own ambition. Morgan heath after the loss of Titanic went down quickly. Did he feel the guilt of the dreadful event?

        Just for the record. The Titanic kneel was laid down on the 31 March 1909. Five years later to that date of 31 March 1913 Morgan was to die?

        Best regards,


        • To start with the Olympic and Hawke. The two ships were just emerging from very narrow and shallow waters. The course change on the Olympic was correct they did not have much choice on the course. It was the sudden increase of speed of the Olympic that pulled the Hawke into her side.

          Back to Titanic. I know there were few automobiles in those days. But, the other people reading our comments are very familiar with cars and understand how they turn. The car/forklift analogy was intended for those readers (not you and I) to understand how a ship turns.
          When I started researching those few minutes before and after the Titanic struck the iceberg I created timelines and began looking at those influences on the accident which could not vary. Things like how long it would take the steam gear to turn the rudder, how long it would take for the ship to begin to turn, and how fast the ship was closing the iceberg (called range rate, usually measured in yards per minute, I used feet per second) how many degrees a second the heading of the ship would turn, these things are all based on the abilities of the equipment and science. Those things would not change.

          After I had that finished it gave me a window of time during which the actions of the people involved had to have taken place, which narrowed the time window even more.

          The maneuver First Officer Murdoch was trying to make was to turn to port to get the bow clear of the iceberg. Then after the bow was clear of the iceberg he would shift his rudder and turn back to starboard to clear the stern from the path of the iceberg. When Captain Smith came to the Bridge Murdoch told him they had hit an iceberg and that he had “hard astarboard and reversed the engines” but it was too close he could do nothing more. Main stream Titanic opinion is still that Murdoch never completed the “port-around” maneuver.

          Physics dictates that not only did Murdoch turn to port, but that he completed the maneuver by turning back to starboard (shifting his rudder with a “hard aport” order). The damage on the bow was clearing made while the ship was under a port helm turning to the starboard. If Murdoch had not given the “hard aport” order to complete the maneuver the damage would have been to the stern of the ship on the starboard side.
          There are Titanic experts who believe First Officer Murdoch did nothing for thirty seconds after lookout Fleet telephone the bridge to warn of the iceberg. But when you look at how long it would take the steering gear to move the rudder from amidships to a hard over position, and how long it would take before Lee would be able to see the head of the ship begin to swing, this is not possible.

          In all my years at sea I have been on many ships that have reversed their engines in an emergency. The entire ship vibrates and everyone onboard can feel the vibrations, they are very violent. No one felt this. I do not doubt Murdoch gave the order, but the engines were not reversed. I do have an opinion as to why and what Murdoch was trying to do by giving that order, but I am holding that opinion for my next Titanic book.

          After I finished my timelines and tables on those few minutes I wrote two articles which explain my findings in detail and explain the events as they must have happened.

          Titanic: Left Turn Only Myth,” explains why, according to the laws of science and physics, the Titanic did shift its rudder and was turning to starboard at the moment it struck the iceberg.
          Titanic: “Iceberg Right Ahead” – Conventional Chronology Wrong,” explains, using the laws of science and physics, the sequence of events on Titanic’s bridge and in the crow’s nest second by second. This also shows why Murdoch could not have waited thirty seconds before doing anything, and it reveals who actually saw the iceberg first.
          Ships wheel were turned in the wrong direction in a state of panic and sometimes the wrong helm order was given in a state of panic, but not very often. Also, both mistakes continue to happen to this very day, but again not very often.
          If anything, Murdoch shifted his rudder too soon, by mere seconds. If he had waited just a few more seconds, when the bow swung to the right it would have been passing through water the iceberg had already passed through and was no longer in. If he had waited a few seconds too long, the stern would have still been in the path of the iceberg and the damage would have been to the stern. A very tricky maneuver that has been successfully done before and since, but it is still a maneuver where the difference of seconds can mean the difference between fame and infamy.

          • YourSoundMan

            So you’re a time traveler too Joe, ehh?

            You know for certain, in a 7-story ship nearly 900ft long, that the engines were physically not reversed. That the vibrations of reversal might not have been so severe in such a massive vessel, and more localized so that they might not have reached the bridge 600 feet diagonally away from that area.

            Well, I believe that the very fact that those props(the outboard ones any way), were spinning in reverse, and that that alone might have contributed to the collision, as opposed to maintaining full speed or even 3/4, where the hard-a-starboard-hard-a-port (hard left then right turn in modern parlance) would have swing both ends of Titanic clear.

            I know. I kept her engines at full ahead on a simulator, duplicating Murdoch’s maneuvers. Not some chintzy on-line one, but at an exhibit.

            • With almost 50 years in ships of all kinds and have gone through a back full on vessels of different sizes – yes I do know that when a ship goes from ahead full to all back full you feel the vibrations throughout the ship. My experiences is not on a simulator chintzy or otherwise. My experience is on naval and civilian ships.

  11. I have notice very little is mention on the finance of the two ships. A figure of £1.5 million for the Olympic is quoted. So how much more for the Titanic? As they are to increase the luxury for the first class passengers. What’s more the Olympic took 30 months to build for her maiden voyage as the Titanic has taken just over 36 months to build and is never competed either? With missing furniture, toilets, empty picture frames. kitchen equipment, hand rails missing and other equipment too. The sea trails were incredible short with the ship not run in, is sent to Southampton on the same day of the 4-5 hour sea trail 2nd April 1912? What makes it worse she has been given a seaworthy certificate with a coal bunker on fire when leaving Belfast? Compared to the Olympic she is to get nearly three weeks of sailing before her maiden voyage with no coal bunker on fire too! One has to ask if the financial pressures are bearing down on them as some one has to pay for the long delay in launching the Titanic for her maiden voyage. Without the paying passengers there is no incoming revenue to pay for the cost of the new ship. What makes it worse still the accident pro Olympic ship, with the worse on only 5th crossing in a serous collation on HMS Hawke Navy ship in the Solent. This is to cost them a small fortune to repair and the lost of incoming revenue of the 3 return Atlantic crossing too! This is a ship is far from been paid off at this stage. Then more trouble with propeller blades needs replacement late February1912 run into early March more repair costs and a loss of one crossing income revenue too! This is turning into a finical disaster on hand. How many years to pay off the ship? Well can say it probably if a 10 year plan providing you are filling the ship at less 85% full! With the accidents and loss crossings they are making a huge losses on the Olympic. So one can see the huge pressure Mr B Ismay is under here and must get the Titanic up and running before any further losses are accruing.
    Clearly one can see the Titanic was just not ready for her maiden voyage. The hold event has turned into a pressure pot with out a safety relief valve in place. What poor Captain Edward Smith went through for the last 8-9 months of his life was just hell! Its no wonder why he made that mistake of choosing the route through the heavy packed icefield? One has to realise Mr Bruce Ismay does not own White Star Shipping company, he sold it in 1902 to the American tycoon Mr JP Morgan. There for Ismay is an employee and not an Employer working for Mr Morgan. When looking into the back ground of this man you soon realise you are dealing with a MONSTER here. Paid far too much for White Star and the other shipping company in forming International Mercantile Marine Company. 10 times more than there value! A Ruthless, cunning, deceiving, twofaced, very intimating, cool steely eyes, bad temper and heartless brutal business man. Who like all hard headed business men wants his investment back! and is not getting it back with further losses been made! This is a man who does not lesion to excuses and certainly did not get to the top of the pile by being Mr nice guy? The pressure those guys were under all round must of been at braking point!

    • 1. I will check on the exact cost of the Titanic. I used to know the figure, but have not spent very much time on Titanic in a couple of years.
      2. As for the coal fire. Having a coal fire was common on ships fueled by coal fired boilers. Just the dust alone was subject to instantaneous combustion. Putting water on the fire only made the conditions worse. The standard way of putting out a coal fire was to feed that coal to the furnaces first. The Titanic hired extra coal passers just to empty the coal bunker where the fire was. There is no record of any ship having a sailing canceled for a coal fire the size of the coal fire that was on the Titanic.
      3. When you look at the context of OTHER ships. The Titanic trials were not unusual. The Titanic was the second ship in a three ship class. The Olympic was the lead ship. Since nothing was known about how the Olympic would handle (except theoretically) the most extensive sea trials were given to the Olympic. The following ships in the class would handle in a similar way and the sea trials confirmed this. The problem with many of the TV shows, specials, books, and talks about the Titanic is that things like the sea trials are looked at without comparing the Titanic to any other ships. Even in the 21st century the lead ship in a class of new ships is always given more extensive sea trials. If you compare the Titanic’s sea trials to the Olympic’s sea trials and to no other ship then yes it seems like the sea trials were deficient. If you compare the sea trails of the Olympic and Titanic to the sea trials of other first and second ships of a new class of ships then you will see that Titanic’s sea trials were quite normal.
      4. The pay off for building a ship designed to last twenty years is not ten years, five is closer to the mark. Commercial ships are typically designed to have a life span of 20 years. Though, many ships will have a much shorter life span and some ships will have a much longer life span.
      5. Captain Smith did not choose the route the Titanic traveled. The route the Titanic traveled was laid out in a treaty with two sets of east and West bound lanes of traffic much like a modern highway. One set of tracks for the winter and the other set of tracks for the summer. This also played a part in the British Board of trade’s inadequate lifeboat requirements. The opinion was with all ships following the same tracks to and from North America a rescue ship would always be nearby and so lifeboats would only be needed to ferry passengers and crew from the sinking ship to the rescue ship.
      6. The Titanic was in the same state of preparedness as any ship on its maiden voyage. If it had not been she would not have been allowed to sail by the British government.
      7. Yes, JP Morgan did own the White Star Line. Yes, JP Morgan paid too much for the White Star Line. That was part of his business plan. JP Morgan was not a nice man. He was very calculating and one of the most astute businessmen of his day. If you do not like JP Morgan you are in good company President Theodore Roosevelt detested JP Morgan. But when the United States was on the verge of a total financial collapse the likes of which the nation had never seen before, President Roosevelt turned to Morgan to save the country and Morgan did. What Morgan’s plan was to make the White Star Line the center piece of his shipping conglomerate. He intended to have a shipping monopoly on the Atlantic ocean. The money he overpaid for the White Star Line was planned to be paid for by reduced dividend payments to the shareholders and a higher return on agreed to loans that the White Star Line would take from Morgan. Morgan’s plans were interrupted by the beginning of World War One and his own death.
      Very good comment Mike,
      Thank you,

  12. Dakota

    Hey! Long time no see!
    Again, your work is fascinating to see and look apon!
    Id hope one day more people like you, Mr. Combs, would put this theory to rest.
    One question I might ask, Is if the supposed “White Paint Sploshes” is just the D Deck, I believe..? (The white paint strip.) Or is it possible Titanic would’ve been planned to be painted white, and they just of-course painted over when this “Idea” was later removed?

  13. Gary Howspn

    Was wondering what your thoughts were on the titanic being the Olympic and theas conspiracy theories about the two ships I think somebody needs to come out and put this to bed

    • I looked at it and studied the evidence and came to the conclusion that the real Titanic is two and a half miles beneath the Atlantic and the real Olympic was scraped two decades later.

      • Victor Croasdale


        good site.
        Re Olympic/Titanic switch conspiracy theory
        First my credentials.
        1 Ex Merchant Navy engineer officer.
        2 B.Sc. Marine Eng. Newcastle Univ. 1974

        I think that the difficulty of physically switching the two ships is enormous, far more difficult than is credited by the conspiracy theorists.
        All major items, engines, generators boiler etc would have serial numbers traceable to each ship. Sub assemblies within and engine etc would have numbers traceable to the engine. In many cases these would be typed into the metal. This was standard practice when I worked at John G. Kincaids.

        Even without that individual differences between ‘identical’ equipment (paint runs, scratches, marks) would have meant that the crews would all have to have been in on the conspiracy.

        Workers leave tools and equipment on ships when they go for the night, these would all need to to transferred or the shipyard workers would need to be in on the conspiracy.

        Lloyd inspectors and the Board of Trade inspectors would have to be in on it for the next 20 years as they inspected the Olympic. The Lloyd’s inspectors , working for the underwriters, would have an interest in proving the switch as Lloyd’s could then sue IMM to recover the money paid out in the insurance fraud.

        There are now about 2,000 to 10,000 people in on the switch, yet not one of them got drunk and spilled the beans, not one of them was fired and spilled the beans to get back at “them”, and not one of them made any sort of deathbed confession. Many of the people in on the switch lived into the 1960s and 1970s well beyond any reasonable or even unreasonable threats and into a time when the could have profited from the selling the story to a newspaper. Yet no stories surfaced.

        The only reasonable conclusion is there was no conspiracy because there was no switch.

        There were a lot of mistakes made by many of the principal actors, however I believe that they were honest mistakes made by fallible men.

        As an aside.
        Mislabeling photos as a sister ship is quite common. When I was at sea I took many photos of the ships I was on. Some of these were published in the company mag. Sometimes under the name of a sister ship, particularly if there were no people or identifiable objects in the view. Remember this mag was circulated to people who knew those ships intimately. I only knew they had done this because I could compare the mag photos with my originals.

        • Your comment is like a breathe of fresh air. Thank you. We also cover the merchant marine on our blog. If you would like to write an article based on your expertise and background, please, contact us.

    • Christian Pierce

      Just to add on to Mr. Combs’ reply, here’s a handy breakdown of the theory.

    • I have not viewed those posts, but the Encyclopedia Titanica is a very useful site to anyone wanting more information on the Titanic. You can easily find people with various views in lively discussions as well as quite a bit of information on anything connected to the Titanic.

  14. Gemma Dixon


    Just to be clear on my post… I am in no way critizing you. I love your Titanic articles.

    But there’s a lot of confusion about these two ships, it’s not that easy to spot minor differences.

    I made a huge error once in an article when I labeled a photo of Britannic’s launch as Titanic’s. Oops! Luckily I corrected it after a flood of people pointed it out. I don’t know what I was thinking!

  15. Gemma Dixon


    The photo you state is Olympic leaving Southampton perfectly matches the known Titanic photo published in many books.

    In fact if you happen to own a copy of the book Titanic Voices, the photo appears and photographer credited. A Mr. H.G. Lloyd took the photograph and it first appeared in the Southampton Pictorial. Mr. Lloyd was awarded a prize for his shot and the paper said of it:

    “a clever young amateur – gives the proper impression of the size but fills in the details of the departure so well”

    Also, it is true that Titanic’s bridge wing cabs overhung by at least 18 inches whereas Olympic’s did not. You can tell by the stantion support for the A deck promenade, the wing cab edge is in line with the stantion top on Olympic but Titanic’s goes out beyond this. There is a book refuting Robin Gardiner’s stupid switch theory (Olympic or Titanic. Which ship sank? by Steve Hall, Bruce Beveridge and Art Braunschweiger) which uses extensive photographic evidence to show the differences between the two ships, particularly Olympic before and after the sinking. The book shows a photograph of Olympic in Belfast during her 1912-13 refit with work to extend her bridge wing cabs clearly visible. The book also directly compares photos of the two ships showing Titanic’s overhanging cabs.

    Titanic’s aft docking bridge also permanently overhung by about two feet while Olympic for her entire career had only platforms that could temporarily extend over the side.

    I highly recommend the book to anyone interested in Titanic and her sisters. I wasn’t going to buy it because I didn’t care at all about the conspiracy nonsense but it is actually a very well researched book with wonderful photos.

  16. Dallas Keffer

    It should be noted that, aside from the A-deck promenade windows, another obvious difference between the Olympic and Titanic was in the bridge wing cabs. On the Titanic these overhung the boat deck by about two feet. On the Olympic they were flush with the ships side. Olympic was later modified in this area similar to her sister. This was an improvement for navigating in port. The length of the ship was so great that better visibility was needed. Thrusting the wings further out gave a better line of sight along the hull from that point.

    • Ok, if you had read more of the site you would know this has already been raised and answered. But, I’ll answer it again. Those ships were owned by wealthy men. They built those ships to make money. Though to many they are romantic beauties, to men like Bruce Ismay they were nothing more than a cab is to a cab driver. The owners of ships like the Olympic, Titanic, Lusitania, Mauretania, President Lincoln and other ocean liners spent money on those ships for three reasons: 1) to increase profits, 2) to increase safety or the appearance of safety 3) to meet regulations.
      Expanding the width of the bridge wing would not accomplish any of those three.
      The builders recommended 32 lifeboats and thicker steel plates for the Olympic class ocean liners. White Star Line (read Bruce Ismay) reduced the thickness of the steel plates to reduce weight, which would reduce coal consumption. The White Star Line (read Bruce Ismay) reduced the number of lifeboats to 14 wooden lifeboats and 2 cutters. Then, almost as an after thought, added 4 collapsible lifeboats to add the appearance that they were even safer than they needed to be (the 4 collapsible boats meant the ships exceeded the lifeboat regulations in effect when Titanic sailed).
      The fact they White Star never expected the boats to be used is evident by the fact that two of the collapsible boats were stored on top of the officer’s quarters making it almost impossible to get them to the lifeboat davits if they were ever needed.
      There are a multitude of photos showing that the bridge wings extend beyond the side of both the Olympic and Titanic. There are also photos that (because of the angle of the photographer to the ship) make it appear the bridge wing on both the Titanic and Olympic is flush with the side of the ship.
      I have 9 years at sea as a crewman. I have been through ship construction in the shipyard as well as overhauls and such. I have quite literally sailed the 7 seas and around the world. As a small child I was determined to go to sea and studied everything I could about ships, ship operation, and ship construction. I did not read the picture books that were written for boys my age, I read the industry books and magazines so I could learn all I could about ships (with a nautical dictionary beside me so I could look up the adult words).
      I understand the sincerity of titanic fans, and she was a beautiful ship. But, to the men who built, sailed, and owned those ocean liners (all ocean liners) first and foremost they were a means to make a living, and spending money to expand the width of the bridge wings when it would not effect 1) profit, 2) safety, or 3) meet some new government regulation would be a frivolous waste of money and would not be done.
      A good test to perform when hearing about a theory or opinion about the Titanic is to put it to the “Cunnard” test. If the same does not apply to one of the Cunnard ships or any other ship that sailed the North Atlantic, then it did not apply to the Titanic. No one even paid attention to the maiden voyage of the Titanic ~ until it sank. The Olympic (the first ship in the class, not the Titanic) was the ship which had all the fanfare for its maiden voyage. As a matter of fact, newspapers and news reels, in an attempt to cover the sinking of Titanic sinking on its maiden voyage used photos of the Olympic on its maiden voyage. The Olympic had hundreds of photos as well as motion picture footage taken of it along with many festivities when it left on its maiden voyage. The Titanic had very little fanfare, much fewer still photos, and no motion pictures taken of it leaving on its maiden voyage. Basically, the Titanic was no big deal when it left on its maiden voyage, it was just the second ship it the class. Titanic did not become a big deal until it sank.
      As a bit of advice, I would like to say to Titanic fans ** read all the comments and their answers to ensure YOUR question has not already been asked & answered** I have instructed my team not to waste time to answer questions or comments that have already been asked and answered. I have made an exception this time. Future redundant questions and comments will not be approved.

      • Dallas Keffer

        I did not post my comment as a question but as statement of fact in advice to readers on distinguishing one ship from the other. The Olympic, by the way, DID NOT have overhanging wing cabs until a post-Titanic refit and they were so modified for safety in an improved line of sight from the bridge during docking maneuvers. If you had ever piloted a vessel of similar length you would understand that need. As a Titanic historian of 43 years I am not without a credible level of knowledge of the subject.

        Further, on the heels of a response you gave another commenter, I dare say I find the most haughty and arrogant words here seem to come from you. You chastise all for not reading through the entire page, which with time grows in length. Yet you yourself do not seem to read all of a comment or interpret the meaning or spirit of its submission. You also appear to have egg on your face in the matter of that photograph you claim is the Olympic leaving Southampton that has long stood as a genuine image of the Titanic, seeing the responses you got and your replies to same.

        If you had 9 years experience as a crewman on the Olympic your position might be more substantiated. As it stands, you seem to put yourself up as yet another know it all, end it all internet expert. I find your replies to posters frequently offensive (now that I have read all) and your pontificating demeanor unjustly hostile. You need not worry about wasting further time with me as I intend to delete this site from my bookmarks and unsubscribe from all communications.

        • A “statement of fact” – spoken like a true Titanic fanatic. And by the way the Olympic DID have an over hanging bridge wing before Titanic sank. I even posted a moving picture where it was clearly evident the bridge wing was over hanging AND by the number of lifeboats on her deck it was clearly filmed before Titanic sank.
          I have – on a daily basis – people who submit comments that range from the people who insist a German U-boat sank the Titanic and state that clearly I do not know what I am talking about because I do not admit the FACT that they are correct. All the way to people who insist the Titanic never turned to the right (starboard), and state how stupid I am because I do not agree with that FACT. Which if you understand the physics involved with how a ship turns then you know that the Titanic was turning to the right (starboard) when it struck the iceberg. Then there are the people who insist that it is a FACT that Murdoch twiddled his thumbs for 30 seconds before doing anything after the lookouts gave the alarm about the iceberg (while also attacking my intelligence). Which if you know about watchstanding procedures (and I wrote an article about this 3 years ago). and the physics behind the Titanic’s turning abilities you also know is not true. Or maybe we could talk about the people who believe the FACT that the Titanic was sunk on purpose to start a war, commit insurance fraud, or any other ridiculous claims, and of course I am an idiot because I do not agree with their FACTS, facts they state without any supporting evidence except condescending attitudes.
          You don’t like my attitude? Maybe I should hire YOU to weed through these comments and see how “happy-go-lucky” you are at the end of the day.
          And as far as you statement about service onboard the Olympic, the laws of physics do not change just because we are talking about the Olympic class ships. Nor do watchstanding procedures change because we change our discussion from the Adriatic to one of the Olympic class.
          I too have more than 4 decades studying the Titanic, which includes going through the testimony of the American investigation, the British investigation, the British re-examination of the evidence, as well as the various lawsuit testimony that came from the sinking of the ship.
          If you intend to spend your entire life being define by Titanic, by all means knock yourself out. I have a large body of work that has nothing to do with the White Star Line or the Titanic, and I will not be forced into limiting myself to Titanic.
          When I wrote about the Hunley I received many heated e-mails and messages by people who felt Spence or Cussler was the one who found the Hunley and that I was not giving their man his just credit. But, at the end of the day they remained respectful. Something Titanic fanatics should try. Something else the Hunley fans do that Titanic fans should try, is actually presenting evidence instead of acting as though simply using the word FACT coupled with personal attacks establishes their accuracy.
          By all means, un-bookmark and unsubscribe. If you really paid attention you would realize no new Titanic articles have been published by our site for 3 years.
          My patience is at an end. So, take your indignation and leave!

  17. Pingback: 10 Lesser-Known Facts About the Titanic -

  18. TheKMan


    Before you consider not posting this comment here, please just answer this question:

    Why have you not published any of my comments proving that the “Olympic mislabled as Titanic” is actually Titanic?

    I presented both J.G. Burdette’s copy of the photo and that used on the softcover edition of Mr. Chirnside’s ‘The Olympic Class Ships”, indicating how the positioning of all of the objects and people lined up perfectly, and that it was in fact Titanic, yet you repeatedly refuse to post my offerings of evidence.

    Does our evidence suggest something other than what you have been saying about the captioned photo toward the top of this blog? Does that evidence bother you in some way?

    Looking forward to your reply. Thank you.

    • Well Mr. TheKMan – if you had bothered to read the earlier comments you would have found that not one of the questions you raised was new. Each and every one of your comments has already been posted as a comment by someone else and myself or someone on staff has answered each and every one of those.
      We are not going to continue to answer the same questions over and over again unless you have something NEW to offer. I understand you are a dedicated Titanic fan. Unfortunately, that alone is not evidence, nor are opinions evidence. Read the comments that others have already posted, come up with something new, write it up in a respectful manner and your comment will be posted. You do not need to agree with the author of any of the 350+ posts on our site to have your comment posted, but it does need to be something new, with evidence (unless you state it is an opinion), and it needs to be respectful to the author, the other commenters, and the readers.
      If you would like to discuss this further perhaps you might include your actual e-mail address instead of a fake e-mail address.

  19. Dakota

    Hi! (I Bet I Wont Be Replied To, Considering The Last Time They Checked This Was 2014 Aug-May.)
    I am a very interested fan of the White star liners. I hate how many people only know them for their Royal mail steamer, Titanic. I Love the Titanic in all, (along with the 2 amazing sisters with her, Britannic and Olympic..) but I love their other, smaller Steam-Ships. (Such as :Oceanic of 1899, The still-surviving Nomadic, etc.) Id think it’ll be cool, for all of us who have commented here, to make a wikia, about White Star Lines, ships, etc.
    Anywho, The 2 ships that like everyone else has said, (The one that says Olympic leaving docks) Is In-fact Titanic, the A Deck is just shadowed, and Id understand how you’d get confused (I was at first, too!)
    Again, Id understand the mistake and confusion. :)

    • No, that is in fact the Olympic. This was raised in one of the other comments and it was answered in detail after quite a bit of scrutiny by several people.
      There is a page on Wikipedia for the White Star Line. However, it is more about the line and does not go into any detail about the ships of the White Star Line. Maybe you could begin the page now. A good name (though there are many possibilities) is “Ships of the White Star Line.” If you get it started we will be very happy to promote it here. Maybe you could even write an article promoting it. I am sure some of our readers would like to work on a page like that.
      I do have the resources material to do a page on the ships of the White Star Line, but unfortunately my other writing obligations do not afford me the time.
      Best Wishes,

      • Dakota

        Hmm? Oh, I See It Is. Sorry! :P
        Already have, Its a Wikia (better then wikipedia) Id Be Happy To Promote your website! It is very helpful! I am a fan, a HUGE one of WSL, But I am not an “adult” yet, I do know many things. Funny.
        I am planning to become a ship designer, and go to collage for that, But am still wrapping my mind around starting my own Shipping line.
        Century Cruises.

        • I would recommend looking into the Merchant Marine Academy or one of the many marine architecture schools. I would like to see new American shipping line companies. If you studied ship design and coupled that with at sea experience as a ships officer you would have huge advantages when you start your shipping line.
          I think your idea for a page on the ships of the white start line is great. The White Star Line page is just on the shipping line. One page with bios on the ships of the White Star Line would have many followers. I think you should do it.
          If you would like to write an article on all the ships of the White Star Line that were named the Republic we would be happy to publish it here.
          Age is not a deciding factor in a persons knowledge or the acceptance of their work. Civility and depth of research are. We receive some comments that we just cannot post because we have a strict policy on acceptable comments. You do not have to agree with the author of the article or other commenters, but you must treat everyone with respect. Also, stating something is a fact is proof of an opinion, but not proof of supportable evidence.
          Again, we would like to extend to you an offer to write about White Star ships for our page. If you want to, reply with a comment with you e-mail address (we will not publish you e-mail address) and we will send you an invitation to join our staff as a contributor.
          Best wishes,

  20. Zoe

    Thanks. This will really help me when I have a quiz on either one on High school on a couple of years. They always confuse me. I know more about the Titanic than I do the Olympic.

  21. Emma

    I do not think its a good idea to make a replica of the titanic after the memory of what has already happened.
    I do not think many people would come on it,
    because of its terrible sinking in 1911
    I know i would not even consider going onto it!
    also there is a chance that the Titanic and the Olympic were possible switched.
    Thank you

    • The maiden voyage for the “New and Improved” Titanic is already sold out. Also, on the switched theory. This one has been going around for a couple of decades. However, it has been thoroughly researched and proved to be false.
      But, I’m with you on the new Titanic. I’m not sailing on it.

      • Destiny

        Hi, I’m new to all of this – except knowledge that the ship sank, and I tried to ask if the switch was possible. I now see why my comment wouldn’t post, haha. I missed this one, because a few of the more belligerent/aggressive comments made me just scroll to the bottom. But, this answers my question, so, no more need to ask it. I only learned there even was a switch theory last night – my earth science class used it as an example about how history only is what it is, because one version of events or another is what most people/evidence at that time agreed on. But, boy, I can see where that switch theory got its start – the ships are strikingly similar. Dunno about the NEW Titanic, though. If it makes it through its maiden voyage, and I can afford tickets, MAYBE I’d sail on it, some day. Maybe….

        • Your comments are fine and welcomed. We do have a few Titanic fans who attack writers and other people who have made comments. Our policy is to show respect to other people. You do not have to agree, but you must show respect.
          There are also some Titanic fans which will ask questions or make statements that have already been said here before. The first few times the same thing comes up we answer. But after a while those questions and statements are no longer approved. (People really should read the other comments before they make a comment. Just in case their point has already been brought up and made before).

          There are also some other very good Titanic web sites for you to look at. Check the links at the bottom of the articles and the sites of some of our guest writers.

    • Zoe

      I saw a news conference on it and a whole bunch of people said that they would travel on Titanic two once they have the money.

    • Dakota

      I am Actully going on it. Yes, Quite Scared If It DOES Sink, But It Has State Of The Art Lifeboats, Just Incase. Im Happy To “Re-Live” The Titanic.
      And no, it was not switched. :)

      • Dakota, Zoe, Joe 2nd, et al:

        Looks like no one will be sailing in Titanic II – at least in the foreseeable future. For whatever reasons, I’m not here to speculate, there will be no Titanic II.

  22. pauly

    Hi I’m new here and a mega fan or the Titanic and now the Olympic that high res photo is titanic reason I know this is the Titanic had 16 front poirt holes at the front top of the bow and the Olympic had 15 port Holes and a good chance it was the Olympic that sunk they switched ships in Belfast

    • There are plenty of theories on the Titanic to read about. Most of them I do not cover here because they are so well covered on other sites. Thank you for the visit Pauly. We hope you become a regular reader.

    • Christian Pierce

      I trust you’re talking about the documentary on YouTube? I won’t name it since I’m not aware of Mr. Combs’ policy regarding references.

      Both Olympic and Titanic had 15 portholes on the starboard side of the forecastle on C-Deck. On the same area on the port side, both were launched with 14 portholes. However, Titanic was modified before she sailed to have 16 and Olympic received the same modification after Titanic was gone. As proof, go to Google Images and find an image of Olympic (it’s the ship without the enclosure on A-Deck which is just below the Boat Deck) with 16 portholes on the port C-Deck of the forecastle without lifeboats going along the full length of the Boat Deck. Olympic received a full complement of lifeboats practically immediately after Titanic sank.

      • Thank you Mr. Pierce. The reference policy for those writing articles is more stringent than for those posting comments.
        You are most definitely correct sir about the port holes on the Olympic and Titanic. Also about the lifeboats on Olympic as well. Eventually, when the White Star Line got their lifeboats back, they ended up being put on the Olympic added to the lifeboats that the Olympic already had. For two decades Olympic first class passengers were walking past Titanic life boats and did not even know it. Thank you for your comment.

  23. Brent

    Thanks for the reply to the earlier post. I did notice another potential change you should consider making. In the “This image explains the visual differences between the Titanic & the Olympic, and the visual changes made to Olympic after Titanic’s loss” cgi, you show Olympic’s 1913 configuration. However, the forward B-deck configuration is incorrect. That part of the diagram shows Olympic after her 1929 refit in which additional cabins were installed and the windows were changed to reflect this.

    Shouldn’t you take out the image that says “This photograph is often labeled as ‘Titanic leaving Southampton’”? It clearly is Titanic beyond any doubt.


    • We have already made several changes in the images conected with the Titanic articles. I intend to go through them again, but have several other writing jobs dominating my time right now.
      Hey,would you be interested in writing a guest post on the Olympic?

      • Brent

        Perhaps. What are you looking for?

        • People know what the Titanic is. But most people have never heard of the Olympic. I just what them introduced to the ship with a little of her history. They didn’t call her “Old Reliable” for nothing, and I think it was a pretty great ship in addition to the lead ship in the class.
          Do a good intro to her and cover anything else about her that you think is important or good to know.

  24. TheKMan

    Well, this confuses things further.

    When I was 10-12 and first studying this part of history, I had believed Titanic contacted the ice with her starboard side.

    After seeing either “Titanic”(1953) or “A night to Remember”, where they clearly show a port-side contact, I have, for the past 20 years or so maintained that the contact with ice was on the port side.

    Your explanation confirms that.

    • Titanic can get very confusing. There are too many emotions attatched to Titanic. What I like to do when I am looking at a specific part of the Titanic sinking is to find a ship that went through that same aspect and compare the two. It is an easy way to get back to the nuts & bolts of math and science and shelve the emotions.
      To make it even more confusing, what really caused the sinking was Titanic running over the submerged part of the iceberg. That sprung the hull plates and popped rivets.
      As the iceberg glided down the starboard side of the ship, chunks of the iceberg fell on the forward welldeck just in front of the bridge.
      But many people still argue about this.
      The people who work with me on this blog want me to do a animated video of the sinking from a bird’s eye view. But I am really trying to get away from writing about Titanic, there are so many more ships and other subjects I want to write about.
      Thank you for your comments. have a great day.

  25. Brent

    I have a suggestion. I do no see my post from last week online. (Perhaps I missed it?)
    If you truly wish to debate issues then you should join Facebook and several of the liner based groups. There are many people there with excellent knowledge who are quite willing to debate. The problem with the relatively old-fashioned blog and response system is that it is too time consuming and the moderation process stifles discussions.
    A careful look at the photo that you claim shows Olympic departing Southampton is actually Titanic. I even added light to the dark photo posted here and saw all the characteristics that identify the image as that of Titanic. (I made an image with markings that shows this, but this format does not seem to allow readers to post photos) I even took a better version of the image, cropped it down to your version and they match-exactly. It is not an opinion that the image is Titanic, it is fact.
    If you are truly interested in getting to the truth, then you will seriously consider using new formats out there that you do not directly control. That would be the best thing to do, IMHO.

    Spirited, basically unlimited and un-moderated, debate is the key to getting to the truth.

    Suggested FB groups:


    • I was arguing on your side of this photo. I had someone send it too me saying it was Titanic. He pointed out that what I thought was an enclosed deck was actually the shadow. I also had someone else send a photograph they claimed was the same one and it was a better quality photo and his photo was Titanic. He had a second image where he superimposed the two and claimed it was a perfect match. The lines of the ships were lined up perfectly on the bow, but very slightly off at the stern. I do not claim to be a photograph expert, but as I said I can point to specific differences in the two photographs. As far as people in the same locations I have already addressed that before. Thank you for the invitation to join the Facebook site, but I just do not have the time. What other ships are you knowledgeable about Brent?

      PS see we can disagree and still be respectful.

      • Mitch

        Mr Combs,

        I happen to be the person who “…send a photograph they claimed was the same one and it was a better quality photo and his photo was Titanic. He had a second image where he superimposed the two and claimed it was a perfect match. ”

        My email was not disrespectful, in fact I praised this blog entry, except for this one issue, yet for reasons unknown to me my post was never published.

        After that censoring-for-no-reason, in my eyes you lost your credit and I decided not to bother again, until I saw a notification email in my inbox about the above comment.

        Here is the image I sent you a year back

        Here’s the photograph in a higher resolution

        As others have pointed out since last year, from what I can see, it is beyond obvious that I am not ‘claiming’ it to be the Titanic; it is the Titanic. You can see the name ‘Titanic’ for heaven’s sake.

        I don’t know if this will ever get published, or it will follow the same fate as my first post here, but I think that if you really want to promote the truth, as I take is your intend, you should not be censoring these kind of posts.


        • First – we never got your first comment. It may have been automatically filtered out by the spam filter. Second Considering the large volume of readers we get having less than a dozen people take your point of view does not make anything obvious. Third – yes you can see the name Titanic on the photo of the Titanic. There has been no censoring. But, if you wish to continue making comments on this page you should change your tone. You do not have to agree with us, but a haughty, arrogant tone, claiming things as obvious when they are anything but obvious will certainly get your future comments in the circular file.
          Oh and P.S. the photo I was talking about was not one from you. The sender and I talked back and forth about his photo, he understood what I thought about his photo and why. Then we decided to leave things as they were.

          • Mitch

            “First – we never got your first comment. It may have been automatically filtered out by the spam filter”

            I find it unlikely since you yourself admitted to receiving it, and I quote:
            “I also had someone else send a photograph they claimed was the same one and it was a better quality photo and his photo was Titanic. He had a second image where he superimposed the two and claimed it was a perfect match.”

            Anyway, I am just glad my message got published this time, and sorry if you found it arrogant, it was not my intent.

            I just hope that now you can see that the two images I superimposed are a perfect match down to every little detail, from the smoke, to the people, to the background, to everything, and as thus the image you claim to be the Olympic is in fact the Titanic, as others have noticed.

            That’s all from me.

            • No actually I got an e-mail and you said your’s was a comment. I will admit to being a little sensitive to comments from “Titanic fans.” So, I may have rushed to judgement with you. I have spent a lot of time at sea, in shipyards and doing volunteer work at museums after I left the sea. I did tourguide, wrote booklets and articles for newsletters, answered questions, attended conventions and all kinds of things. One money maker for museums is special programs with a Titanic theme in April. I grew to hate these. I have seen people shouting at each other and almost coming to blows. I still recieve e-mails from people insisting that Titanic was torpedoed by a German submarine.
              I make mistakes here, hell we all make mistakes. But the worse people about it are Titanic fans. When I see Titqanic in a letter, e-mail, or comment I almost always expect the worse. So, I may have been a little harsh with you. If so I apologize.
              I have several people who help me with my blog and some of my other writing. Every time I decide to remove all my articles on Titanic from this site, they talk me out of it. I can’t fire them, I don’t pay them – so I leave the Titanic articles up. Actually it is only a very small percentage of people. They are just the loudest. Most of the people I have met through Titanic really are nice people.

  26. Linerguy

    Guess you don’t post replies that call you out for not knowing what you’re talking about.

    • Actually “Linerguy” if you took the time to read our other posts you will find that we DO posts comments from people who point out our mistakes, over-sights, and instances when they do not agree with us. Unfortunately, there are several reasons why your comment may not have been approved.

      First, with the increasing exposure of our articles comes an increasing amount of spam comments. We use an automated spam filter, but unfortunately some of the comments filtered out are not spam. We used to review all the comments screened out by our spam filter, but that is no longer possible due to the volume.

      Second, My staff has instructions from me that any comment which takes a condescending, arrogant, self-serving tone, they are free to delete on their own authority.
      “… call you out for not know what you are talking about.” would be considered by many of the staff as being condescending, arrogant, and self-serving.

      You would be surprised at that number of people who continue to insist the Titanic did not turn to the starboard (right) until after hitting the iceberg. Even though the damage the iceberg did to the Titanic, and the laws of physics, clearly shows the Titanic was turning to the starboard when it struck the iceberg. So, it takes a little bit more than an arrogant opinion for your comment to be approved by the staff.

      Third, you would be surprised at the number of comments that make a statement which was already made in an earlier comment, and answered at that time. So, if you comment was already asked and answered, that would be another reason why it was not approved.

      The staff is very complimentary of the comments posted on our site. The one exception to that seems to be Titanic topics. The Titanic seems to draw out self-proclaimed experts, who don’t even know the difference between a boat and a ship. Fortunateley those people, though extremely vocal, are a very small minority of the Titanic fans out there.

      Fourth, none of us here know what your background is, or what qualifies you as an expert. It would also seem that you are equally ignorant of my background, despite the fact that my background is easily available to anyone who wants to read it. So, if your comment alluded to facts, while providing only your opinion without any evidence whatsoever, that too would have qualified your comment for file number 13 as well.

      Fifth, this probably does not apply to you, but I am going to post it for our other readers as well.
      If you make a comment “calling out,” or being disrespectful of one of my readers, staff, or of ANY person who made an early comment; your comment will not be approved. You can conduct yourself in a respectful manner, or go some place else.

      If you want to disagree, that is fine. By all means, disagree. This site is not here to boost your ego though. This site was created as an open conversation about historical topics. Conduct yourself in a respectful and civilized manner and you are welcome to join in our public conversation.

      I did not see your comment, nor does anyone on my staff remember seeing a comment by “Linerguy,” so I do not know the specific reason your comment was not approved.

      By the way, this comment of your’s which I am replying to was almost deleted for arrogance and condescension, but a staffer decided to show it to me before she deleted it.

      Very Respectfully,
      Joe C Combs 2nd

      • TheKMan

        As for Titanic turning to starboard(right) while hitting the iceberg: Remember, over a century ago the actions of the steering wheel were reversed – to mimic tillers from the previous century.

        In other words, a command “Hard a starboard!” would mean turning the wheel to the right, which in those days produced a turn to Port(left).

        If Titanic had actually turned to the right,(the result of a Port command to the helmsman) she would have either rammed the berg head-on or grazed it on her port side hull below the waterline.

        • Yes I am well aware of the reversed orders. But you need to remember that the pivit point for any ship in a turn is about 1/3 of the way from the bow.Everything forward of the pivot point turns in the direction you want the ship to go. Everything behind the pivot point turns in the opposite direction.
          So, While Titanic was turning to the port, the stern of the ship was actually swinging to the starboard
          Something else as well, the effects of helm orders are not immediate. The rudder only moves as fast as the steam gear allows it too. And also, once the rudder is over it takes a few moments before you can actually see the ship changing course on a large ship like the Titanic.
          To port-around a berg. Murdoch would have given a hard astarboard order to get the bow clear of the iceberg. Then he would shift the rudder (bring the helm over to hard-aport) to get the stern clear of the iceberg.
          Shift the rudder too soon and the bow hits the iceberg. Shift the rudder too late and the bow clears the iceberg, but the stern hits the iceberg.
          With the Titanic was turning to the port on a hard rudder, from the time Murdoch gave the order “hard-aport” it would have taken over 60 seconds before you could have visually seen the bow turning to the starboard.
          The steam gear used to actually move the rudder would have taken over 30 seconds just to move the rudder from a hard-astarboard position to a hard-aport position.
          When the icberg was sighted it was dead ahead of the Titanic, but in the testimony in the two 1912 inquiries was was describe as dead ahead and slightly to the right. Even the image of the bow and iceberg from the lookout’s testimony shows this.
          And as the Titanic is turning to the port the whole ship would be advancing ahead and to the left (port) at the same time. It is simple geometry. So, no the Titanic would not have hit the iceberg on the port side if Murdoch had followed his hard-astarboard order with a hard-aport order.
          If Murdock had ordered hard-aport INSTEAD of hard-astarboard first THEN Titanic would have probably hit the iceberg on the port side of the ship.
          This is all mathmatics.
          The Board of Inquiry used the Olympic to check turning radius and times. When you compare that information to the turning tables of the Bureau of Shipping, both sets of data match up.
          The information from the Bureau of Shipping is available free as a PDF file from their website. click here for the PDF from their website
          So, bottom line –
          Murdoch ordered hard-astarboard to turn to the port to get the bow clear of the iceberg.
          Then Murdoch gave the order hard-aport to get the stern clear of the iceberg.
          He got the stern clear of the iceberg, but turned too soon and the bow struck the iceberg, running over a spur on the iceberg.

  27. Adam

    Hi all this isa great site , i have been studying the titanic for most of my life and it really gets to me when people tell me they were swopped and titanic sank by white star, i just watched something that said the swop could have been done in a weekend by a small team, there were way to many things different between the two for this to happy

    • I agree with you Adam. But there are so many people who believe the Olympic was sunk and not the Titanic, and they do not care what evidence you have to show them they are wrong. Studying Titanic is fun for me, writing about Titanic is a real nightmare. There are always a few people who can’t just disagree they have to attack. When you can back yourself up with photographs and physics they still don’t care “you are stupid and they are smart.”
      Adam there are some other Ttanic web sights you would probably like that I have linked too in my articles on Titanic. Thank you for sharing your time with us, take care of yourself & best wishes.

  28. jessica

    As you can see they are different sizes, one is big and one is smaller, one is longer and one is shorter.plus there were names.Intersting news about titanic the second
    CANBERRA, Australia – An Australian billionaire said Monday he’ll build a high-tech replica of the Titanic at a Chinese shipyard and its maiden voyage in late 2016 will be from England to New York, just like its namesake planned.

    • Vera

      the two ships bore identical length (882’9″), width (92’6″) and weight (52,310 tons at a mean draught of 34’7″). The only “size” difference between the two liners was in the on-paper measurement of their enclosed volume (Olympic’s was 45,325 grt, Titanic’s was 46,329), not by any actual dimension.

    • Leave it to the Chinese. Hear they also make the Statue Of Liberty souvenirs that are for sale when you visit her. Think it would be way cool if it were built by the original shipyard. The Chinese are known for making cheap poor quality junk. Bet it sinks!

    • TheK-Man

      All Olympic class liners were of the same overall dimensions. RMS Britannic(1914) was marginally wider to accommodate a full double-hull.

      The only Olympic-class ship of substantially different dimensions will be Titanic II(2015-16). She will be about 6″ longer and 110′ maximum beam(width).

  29. Joel

    Pictures 8 and 9 were both taken on the Olympic. We can see it by the small flags, running through the rope that goes from the bow to the stern, wich were for a while on the Olympic. Never seen on the Titanic.

    • Those are signal flags showing Titanic “dressed ship” for Good Friday April 10, 1912. Signal flags are carried on all commercial and naval ships by law. The flags are the same carried on all ships. I actually helped dress ship on the USS Fulton once (once was enough geez). Wikipedia says the order is totally random, well this is partially true. The flags do not spell out anything when a ship is dressed ship, but the order in which the flags are flown is very specific so that an insult is not accidentally hoisted above a ship. Naval ships and commercial ships use a different order, also British and American ships use a different order. Titanic and Olympic carried the exact same flags as all commercial and naval ships. Titanic and Olympic would also have flown the flags in the exact same sequence. April 10, 1912 is the only time that Titanic ever dressed ship, but Olympic dressed ship several times a year for three decades. This is a common mistake among Titanic enthusiasts, while being very knowledgeable about the Titanic and Olympic class ships they often have none or almost no knowledge in general maritime information.

      Here is the link to learn about how the Royal Navy dresses ship: http://sailingalmanac.com/Almanac/Reference/dressoverall.html

      Here is a link to download the US Navy manual on flags which includes the US Navy procedures for dressing ship which includes the order in which the flags are to be flown: http://www.ushistory.org/betsy/images/ntp13b.pdf

      Also your other comment was made by someone else months ago (also incorrect) and was answered in a reply comment and in a second article specifically written to answer that comment, so that comment you made has not been posted as it is a comment that has already been posted and answered.

      Thank you for visiting our site, and please let us know what you think of the new Titanic articles we will be posting in April 2013.

  30. Let me clarify my prev comments. The open section at aft end of B Deck on the sides of both ships is clearly seen in photos 4 & 6 above (counting down from start of article) — on Olympic it reached forward to the 4th funnel, on Titanic it went only a third the way between the mainmast and 4th funnel. Strange how so few seem aware of this aspect.
    Also, the enclosed section of A Deck reached more than a third-way down Titanic — almost halfway in fact.
    Jon is correct in saying that photo 7 is of Titanic being pulled away from Southampton berth 44. Please everyone, go to a clear sharp copy — as was printed decent size in that awesome 1992 big square book, “TITANIC, an illustrated history” by Robt Lynch, paintings by Ken Marschall, page 32. The A Deck enclosure is clearly shown there even in the near-front-on view.
    Another so-called issue should be visited with the full facts — the so-called different number of portholes on port side (white painted) forecastle.
    Both liners had 14 when launched. Olympic by the time of her trials sported 16, and Titanic had 16 from soon after being launched. On starboard side it seems the original number, 15, went unchanged on both ships.

  31. This is different, most of the time I encounter topics like why Titanic sunk, why it’s called Titanic, topics about the after-math and the superstitious insights etc. But this specific article is refreshing because for the 1st time the actual architectural and subjective design was given emphasis. It is one of man’s greatest achievement, like airplanes and railways.

  32. There was one big difference between Olympic & Titanic which seems to have eluded nearly everyone — the open section at the aft end of B Deck. On Olympic it began much further forward, and therefore was longer. In a photo of Olympic in Sept 1912, this open ‘slot’ in the s/structure was still long, but when she became a troopship in WWI, it had been altered to be much shorter, exactly as it was on Titanic. In the photo of both ships side-view at Belfast in March 1912, this difference can be seen, whereas, in that photo, Titanic (only 1 month before her maiden voyage) still awaited the outside panels which closed in the forward third of A Deck, which was the well-known main difference in appearance between the 2 liners.

  33. Jon

    From looking at the photograph you say is mislabeled “Titanic leaving Southampton” I actually think that *is* Titanic. Not only does it appear to have the covered parts of the promenade (the photo is grainy, but there is definitely a difference in the openings on the A deck, especially looking closer to the stern…openings appear to get larger), but the bridge wing cabs are also overhanging. Titanic’s wing cabs overhung each side of the ship by 2 feet while Olympic’s wing cabs did not overhang until the post-Titanic refit. Before then, they were flush with the side of the ship. The picture taken in 1912 of the Olympic on the left and Titanic on the right shows the bridge wing cabs as they originally were on Olympic.

    • Jon, I said the same thing to a museum curator several years ago. He chuckled and said I get that alot. Then he should me three photographs of the Olympic (I have added them above). He also showed me some other photographs of Olympic tied up in the same berth, as Titanic had been, in Southampton. I originally thought it was Titanic too, but the curator proved me wrong. Thank you for your comment though. It shows just how hard it can be to tell the two ships apart.

  34. Thanks so much for this awesome info.

  35. Thanks for your wonderful post! It has long been extremely helpful. I wish that you’ll proceed posting your knowledge with us.

    • I have a couple photographs of Titanic and Olympic at that dock. I am going to do a photo mosaic of them and add it to the end of the article (I wouldn’t have thought of it without your great question). Personally I don’t have a problem with the Olympic doing “stand-in” for its kid sister. The two ships were designed for the same purpose and would have been doing the same things, at the same places. Many of the photos of Olympic are better (because there are more of them). But, to be technically correct, the reader needs to know what they are looking at.

      • They look so similar

        • Yes they do. When they built Titanic, they started with the plans for Olympic. All the changes they made for Titanic were written right on the plans. Also it is the same dock and men casting off the ship from the dock would be standing by the bollards and cleats, which were in the same location on all three ships. The one photo of Olympic has fewer men standing in the well deck than in the Titanic photograph.

  36. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the photograph of “Titanic Leaving Southampton” is it the same as this picture:

    Now I’m a complete amateur having only studying the event for about three years, more seriously in the last two. But in the link the ship looks like it says Titanic on the bow. Do you think you could clear this up for me? Enjoyed the post, nonetheless.

    • Great question. If you look closely you’ll see that the dock is the same, White Star Line used this same berth at this same dock in Southampton for the Titanic and the Olympic. The photo you linked is a great photograph of Titanic, you can see the name on the bow and the windscreen on the side of “A” deck along with the uneven spacing of windows on “B” deck. The photograph in the article (I wish the photographer had waited 10 seconds to take the photograph) doesn’t show the name on the bow well enough to make it out, but you can see the open deck on “A” deck. Also, while the linehandlers on the bow of both ships are about the same (they would be, because they are doing the same thing on the same class of ship at about the same time), there are more people standing in the well deck in your photograph than in the photograph in the article. Two different photographs of sister ships leaving the same berth at the same dock. Thank you very much for this.

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