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)

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

  1. 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?

  2. 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

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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,

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

    • 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. :)

    • 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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).

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. Thanks so much for this awesome info.

  24. 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.

  25. 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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