A Holy Grail The Missing Depositions by Senan Molony


Status
Not open for further replies.

Philip Hind

Editor
Staff member
Member
In case anyone's looking for it the article has been taken down just temporarily while I sort something out. Sorry for any inconvenience.
 
My feeling is that the WSL management were indeed: "...just ordinary men, plodding along, suffering in shock, and taking it a day at a time" whereas it was the BoT and, indirectly, the Government that could have planned and executed a cover-up.

Probably both were engaged in a cover up. Anyway, I have to give them credit, on board Lapland, there were no women pulling collared naked men on a dog leash, or no such photos have surfaced to my knowledge. So I'll agree with you and give WSL the benefit of the doubt.
 

Inger Sheil

Member
I hope those depositions turn up somewhere, but I think it's going to take quite a bit of digging around to do that if any of these documents still survive.
Brian mentioned dozens of families he's interviewed, and I suspect Brian's experience is the norm - most of these documents have long since gone by the wayside, as the families haven't preserved copies of the depositions. However, as Sen's article indicates (and my own experience with the Lowe papers suggests), a few crewmen did preserve their own copies of the affidavits. Some of these have even come up for auction - Pitman's did, for example, as well as those Sen has noted. So there may be a few more out there.

Whether the motherlode will be located is another question - I had a shoofty around for it and haven't found it, as evidently Sen has and goodness knows how many other researchers. But never say never - perhaps they are lurking somewhere, uncatalogued, but waiting for an intrepid researcher to locate them....
 
One would hope that they would be boxed up somewhere at the PRO office in Kew, just waiting for somebody to find them and catalogue the lot, but I won't hold my breath waiting for it to happen. I have to agree with Jan that both White Star and the government at the time were engaged in a cover up. This seems to be the norm with events like this.

White Star certainly didn't want to admit that their navigation practices needed a little updating and revision, the BOT didn't like having theier noses rubbed in the fact that their lifeboat regulations needed updating, and I don't think either of them ever wanted to admit that the ship broke up, though I'll bet they knew it. Lord Mersey included. FWIW, I think the depositions were "disappeared" because they were inconvenient. Some things you just don't advertise if you have a potentially hostile nation (Germany!) watching you from across the channel who would love to know that a ship made of your best "battleship steel" had just broken up on the way down.

It's embarrassing!
 

Paul Lee

Member
Doesn't the PRO document pack "Titanic: The Official Story 14-15 April 1912" contain one of the statements/depositions?

Thanks

Paul

 

Paul Lee

Member
A thought occurred to me whilst enjoying a beer in the bath. If you recall the TVS TV documentary "A Question of Murder" from 1983/4, there was mention of doucmentation at the Public Record Office that described the behind the scenes action between the White Star and Harland and Wolff to increase Titanic's lifeboat capacity. The programme did note that "3 vital documents are missing".... with the potentially explosive contents of the depositions, perhaps they went walkabout too?

Cheers

Paul

 
The list of those deposed is most useful.

I found it interesting that Quartermaster Alfred Olliver was NOT deposed; his name does not appear on the list, but is only listed as being called in America.

--Robison
 
>>The programme did note that "3 vital documents are missing".... with the potentially explosive contents of the depositions, perhaps they went walkabout too?<<

Or shred-about or burn-about, or just plain buried in the hopes that they wouldn't see daylight until it no longer mattered for any reason beyond abstract historical studies. Did that program by chance mention just what was so explosive about the missing documents?

>> found it interesting that Quartermaster Alfred Olliver was NOT deposed; his name does not appear on the list, but is only listed as being called in America. <<

It seems even more interesting that he simply vanished from sight. If, as His Biography suggests he never worked at sea again, it's not like he would have been unavailable.
 
Wonderful article Senan. It would be very interesting to read those depositions. Hopefully some will continue to pop up through relatives. Few and far between perhaps, but enough to keep tempting researchers and historians.
Vicki
 
G

Gavin Murphy

Guest
I agree it was a wonderful article written by Senan and I must admit he is rather prolific with the pen! One minor correction might be in order here. Neither the AG nor Sol-Gen. are the top lawyers in Cabinet. That distinction goes to, of course, the former office of the Lord Chancellor.

Minor point of correction in an otherwise excellent piece.

G
 

Paul Lee

Member
Oh well, worth a try. The Guildhall Library in London, a great resource for people interested in mariner's history (Lloyd's List etc.), don't have any copies either.

I still think there may be a chance that the History dept. at Southampton City Council might have a few; they could have been denoted when the council recorded survivor's accounts for their oral history records in the 1960s etc.

Cheers

Paul

 
Hello Paul and Folks,

The depositions are definitely not at the
Southampton City Archives as I have enquired
there before concerning them. Just narrowing
down the possibilities is daunting, isn't it?
 
G

Gavin Murphy

Guest
Paul,

Interesting observation. I seem to recall that the LMM holds the Cunard Archives so that might be worth checkng out. Or Lord Mersey's papers?......maybe also somewhere in L'pool.

Speaking of Cunard, Canada Post is issuing a stamp in his honour later this week......he was, after all, from Halifax.

G
 

Paul Lee

Member
I just had an idea: perhaps the surviving crew members gave Walter Lord their copies of the depositions when he interviewed them in the 1950s?

What became of Lord's private papers?

Best wishes

Paul

 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top