New inquiry ?

Moj

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Hi
Im new to this forum. So I aplogize if this question has already been asked or if its not in the right place.
Just wondering if new evidence of the sinking comes up is it possible to have new inquiry ? Like say family of a victim sue the white star line or the harold company in the court ?
I read somewhere that the money that was paid to the victims would be a lot more if a similar incident happened now.
 
May 3, 2005
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Hi
Im new to this forum. So I aplogize if this question has already been asked or if its not in the right place.
Just wondering if new evidence of the sinking comes up is it possible to have new inquiry ? Like say family of a victim sue the white star line or the harold company in the court ?
I read somewhere that the money that was paid to the victims would be a lot more if a similar incident happened now.
Your question would be better answered by the experts on this forum - And there are many who have an amazing fund of knowledge on these forums.

But just IMHO the possibility of a new inquiry would be very remote.
 

Athlen

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I'm not an expert, but this thread did remind me of another disaster in which a new inquiry was held: the Hillsborough disaster in Sheffield, England, where 96 people died in 1989. An immediate coroner's inquest returned a finding of accidental death. A full inquiry held under Lord Justice Taylor (1989-1990) put into place new regulations for stadiums in the UK; the report attached some blame to the Sheffield police, but did not find evidence of negligence. In 1997-8 Lord Justice Stuart-Smith performed a scrutiny of the Taylor inquiry; he concluded there was not enough new evidence to warrant a new inquiry. Then, in 2009, the government formed the Hillsborough Independent Panel, which did find new evidence. Finally, in 2014-16, a new coroner's inquest was formed, which returned a verdict of "unlawful killing." Throughout, the families of the victims fought hard for a decision that cleared the victims of blame and found evidence of negligence.

So -- again, I'm not an expert -- there is at least one case in the UK where new evidence was uncovered and a new investigation held. However, the standard with respect to evidence required was very high. For this reason, a formal, government-funded inquiry into the loss of Titanic would be virtually impossible in 2018; there just isn't enough new evidence, and there are no longer any living witnesses.
 
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Dec 2, 2000
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The thing one has to ask is "Why Bother?"

If the idea is to investigate new data obtained from the ongoing forensics analysis which is en vogue in Titanic circles just to see where it leads, there would a valid reason to do press ahead with something. The thing is, science does that as a matter of routine. Findings and conclusions are always subject to re-examination and...if justified by the evidence....revision of an existing theory or discarding an old theory completely in favour of a new one which best explains the observed facts

There is no need to have brand new dog and pony show for the benefit of the lawyers.

Athlen makes a very telling point with the following:

"funded inquiry into the loss of Titanic would be virtually impossible in 2018; there just isn't enough new evidence, and there are no longer any living witnesses."

I would also submit that between that problem AND the fact that there are few if any people around who would have the legal standing to sue for damages, a renewed formal inquiry would serve no useful purpose.

Even if there were people who had standing to litigate, exactly who would they sue? Harland & Wolff is not what it was, White Star exists only as a name appended onto "Cunard" and almost assuredly, any existing statute of limitations had long since expired.
 
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Moj

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Hi, thanks for your interesting comment.
As for the answer to the question you asked about " why bother " I want to say for the purpose of justice .
My total knowledge to Titanic compared to most of you in this forum is very limited. I have just recently begun reading more about it and I believe the whole incident is an example of situations where a total injustice regarding the victims and the survivers has been done. No one was held responsible for so many loss of life at the end of the investigation and WSL and the other parties imvolved got off very easily. It may be true that in an incident as huge as this often there are numerous factors involved but there has to at least be five to ten major facts or persons directly responsible who should be introduced to the world from a formal investigation or a court even if those people are no longer alive. Although if this new investigation happened twenty or thirty years ago that would have been less of a problem. For example if you google the person directly responsible for the sinking Captain Smith comes up with certainty in Google search which is a big question for me. The more I read the more frustrated I become since nothing in this whole incident has a single certain answer.
Maybe I just cant accept the sad truth that we will never know the answer to many questions regarding what happened at that night and who is responsible.
 
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>>As for the answer to the question you asked about " why bother " I want to say for the purpose of justice .<<

What justice? Justice for who?

106 years after the fact, anybody who would have the legal standing to make any claims as an injured/wronged party is dead.

They don't care anymore.

Maybe I just cant accept the sad truth that we will never know the answer to many questions regarding what happened at that night and who is responsible.
Oh come on! There are a lot of things we know. The Titanic is one of the most overdocumented shipwrecks in maritime history and I would submit the most consistently misunderstood.

There is no question as to responsibility but 106 years ex post facto to the disaster, the questions are entirely academic. A new inquiry wouldn't can't possibly establish anything we knew all of the possible witnesses are long gone to their graves. A new forensics examination and investigation might but that is a scientific matter, not a legal one.

Granted, there ARE mysteries, not the least of which was that 1496 passengers and crew took their stories with them to the bottom of the North Atlantic but a team of lawyers in a legal forum are not about to sort that out.
 
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Aaron_2016

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It has often been assumed that the senior officers and crew were not aware or informed that the ship would go down. They may have heard she was taking on water and would sink down a few feet, but there was clearly a good deal of confidence that the pumps would keep her afloat. e.g.


Mr. Ismay
"I met Mr. Bell, the chief engineer, who was in the main companionway. I asked if he thought the ship was seriously damaged, and he said he thought she was, but was quite satisfied the pumps would keep her afloat."


4th officer Boxhall
Q - Were you convinced, when you took to the boat in which you left, that the Titanic would go down? (shortly before 2am)
A - I was quite undecided about it.


2nd officer Lightoller
"I'm afraid my own confidence that she wouldn't or couldn't sink rather conveyed itself to others."


3rd officer Pitman
"We then cast the boat off and pulled away some safe distance from the ship. It was not for an hour that I realized she would go, an hour after we got into the water. I quite thought we would have to return to the ship again, perhaps at daylight. My idea was that if any wind sprang up we should drift away from the ship and have a job to get back again."


Symons
"I expected to go back with my passengers and land them aboard the ship again."

Jones
"I thought they were only sending us away for an hour or so, until they got squared up again.....Until they got her pumped out."

Jones - was also given instructions from Captain Smith.
"He told me to row for the light, and land the passengers and return to the ship."

Crawford
"He pointed to a light on the port side, the two masthead lights of a vessel, and told us to pull for there and land the people and return to the ship.....We were told to make for the steamer and return to the ship......He pointed in the direction of the two lights, and said: “Pull for that vessel; land your people and return to the ship.” Those were Captain Smith’s words."


There was nothing to suggest from their words and more importantly from their actions that the ship would completely sink in 2 hours, in fact they appeared to believe the opposite and with confidence. A new Inquiry which examines, evaluates, and revises the old Inquiries might tell us why. Was the damage really as great as the Inquiry led us to believe? Did officials instruct several witnesses to conceal what really happened i.e. Barrett covering up a blunder which accelerated the flooding, and put the blame squarely on the iceberg for the rapid sinking of the liner? Did something occur within the ship during the evacuation e.g. turning the wrong valve, or re-opening a watertight door? The contradictions in the testimonies leaves many puzzling questions. Why were most of the firemen kept out of the Inquiries? Why did the few who did testify fail to mention the orders given after the collision e.g. Half speed ahead, and slow astern, and also why the lights failed in the boiler rooms and if some other electrical or mechanical failure had taken place.

A new Inquiry which includes all available sources of information from experts and survivor accounts heard outside the old Inquiries might reveal a clearer picture of the truth.


.
 
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Rob Lawes

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As has already been pointed out, Titanic has been studied, documented and discussed for years. There's very little left to bother an inquiry.

Most of what is being discussed is similar to trying to separate fine sand from pepper.

Its best, if people have strong views on the available evidence, and any new that intensive research (not just Dr Google) can throw up, the best thing to do is write a book and let the court of public opinion decide.
 
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Aaron_2016

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.... the best thing to do is write a book and let the court of public opinion decide.
Trouble is, books regarding historical events are sometimes incomplete or censored owing to the publisher's demands, or biased and sometimes do not show a neutral standpoint in their conclusions. The author would have the liberty to credit some evidence and discredit others while acting as self appointed judge, jury and executioner. I think a full independent inquiry might sweep away the confusion that was seen in the old inquiry and make more sense out of the evidence and the testimonies, and also include all available evidence and survivor statements made outside the inquiry that were not made public at the time or were intentionally discredited for biased reasons e.g. if the evidence stained the high upstanding character of the company and its crew and the board of trade.

As Lightoller said - "The board of trade was holding an inquiry into the loss of the ship, hence the whitewash brush." As the old saying goes - Truth be damned. It's very hard to determine the truth when the people who setup the inquiry were partly responsible for the disaster and very likely were using the inquiry as a means to justify their actions and protect their own interests above all others. I recall a scene from the TV comedy 'Yes Prime Minister'. The PM was hoping that a departmental inquiry would find nothing incriminating against him. His home secretary happily replied - "The whole point of the inquiry is to find no evidence." Sounds very similar to the British Inquiry in 1912.


.
 
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>>Trouble is, books regarding historical events are sometimes incomplete or censored owing to the publisher's demands, or biased and sometimes do not show a neutral standpoint in their conclusions.<<

And that doesn't happen in the here and now? How many books as well as T.V. programs brimming with conspiracy theories and innuendo have come out which have tried to put a new spin on the same old thing?

I've lost count.

Besides, you're implication that the old inquiries had an agenda begs the question: What makes you think a new one won't?

And this time, there are no living witnesses around to throw the B.S. flag.
 

Mike Spooner

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A Inquiry is down to a Government to decided. Governments are not very knee on the idea due to high costs and can political backfire on them!
The nearest to re inquiry is to write a book. It would be certainty interesting. As I see the two inquires were a utter shamble for the truth. The two inquires were over and dusted within four months! As to days inquires can last for years with experts in particular fields. As you can not say the same for the two Titanic inquires? Any good authors out there?
 
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Julian Atkins

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Hi 'Moj',

There will never be another UK Inquiry for the reasons Michael Standart has eloquently stated. In the last few years we have had in the UK the Hillsborough Inquiry, and the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, and currently we have the Grenfell Tower Inquiry (and watching this on youtube one might take the view that the very thorough proceedings are plodding along).

The last official UK Inquiry Titanic related since 1912 was the 1992 MAIB Report into the 'Californian Incident', 80 years later, and those of us interested in the Californian know how this was fudged and inconclusive, perhaps deliberately so (for lots of other reasons).

Any 'new' Inquiry would be singularly hampered by a substantial loss in thesurviving Kew Records of much primary source evidence not least all the Wreck Commisioners' statements of all the witnesses who gave testimony, and those who were not called as witnesses at the UK Inquiry.

There is also that empty Marconi folder in the Oxford University Marconi Archives on the Californian's PV and records of individual Marconi messages on chits made at the time by Evans on the Californian.

Cheers,

Julian
 
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Mike Spooner

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If you want further prove how difficult a re inquiry is. Take the case of the up hill battle Leslie Harrison had in trying to publish his book. Titanic Myth. Were over the years faced threats and intimidation been placed on him. Even the publishes became nervous what he had to say! Final when published they still made changes to want actually wanted to say? I would love to read the book but yet to see a book going for a reasonable price.
Another point makes the Titanic inquires so conscientious. Loyalty to the company was strong not to criticise in fear of losing there job.
As years later on when they have left the company or retired they are now free to write books and biographies of how they saw the event. Then we can see want was say in the inquires doesn't quite tire up to there side of story what actually happen?
Those who think getting information from the Richmond Kew Archives Record building (which not far from me) Is far from easy requires time and patients.
 
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Moj

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Thank you everyone for your comments.
Maybe no one in 2018 cares to know the truth of that night but I just think that if Titanic is still so interesting that people are willing to pay millions of dollars to just go down and visit its wreck then it should at least be interesting for scientists to examine the wreck and find out new facts.
The new facts may not be suitable to be presented to a court due to lack of witnesses or other problems such as the company no longer existing , but something like a formal scientific gathering or something like can help at least shedding light to new findings.

Im sure if I had even a distant relative on the ship I would certainly want to know. Or maybe my own life as the son or daughter of a perished passenger on the ship would be totally different after the disaster. Im sure there are still people alive whose life has been changed after that night.
Im no expert in the maritime field but Im sure the sole discovery of the wreck changed a lot of our past assumptions and a whole lot of what was presented in the court in 1912.
 
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Maybe no one in 2018 cares to know the truth of that night
Moj, you're contriving a strawman on one hand and missing the point on another.

1) Everybody wants to know "The Truth" but there's nothing magical about an official inquiry which would establish any such. That work was done 106 years ago. Forensics studies and historical researchers can do the same or better in the here and now, and in fact they ARE doing it without any need for the services of the lawyers!

2) In the matter of the inquiry and the ever popular "Justice For the Victims" appeal, you have the following issues which don't go away and cannot be argued around.
a) All the injured parties whether they survived the accident or not are now dead.
b) All the next of kin as well as any legal heirs and assigns who would have any possible legal standing to sue for damages are all dead.
c) All the potential witnesses are all dead.
d) All the parties who could possibly be held responsible are all dead.

Dead. dead. dead. dead.

Are we getting it now?
 
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Aaron_2016

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Moj, you're contriving a strawman on one hand and missing the point on another.

1) Everybody wants to know "The Truth" but there's nothing magical about an official inquiry which would establish any such. That work was done 106 years ago. Forensics studies and historical researchers can do the same or better in the here and now, and in fact they ARE doing it without any need for the services of the lawyers!

2) In the matter of the inquiry and the ever popular "Justice For the Victims" appeal, you have the following issues which don't go away and cannot be argued around.
a) All the injured parties whether they survived the accident or not are now dead.
b) All the next of kin as well as any legal heirs and assigns who would have any possible legal standing to sue for damages are all dead.
c) All the potential witnesses are all dead.
d) All the parties who could possibly be held responsible are all dead.

Dead. dead. dead. dead.

Are we getting it now?

The end goal does not have to lead to a prosecutation. Just the truth. There could be an Inquiry that examines the findings of the previous Inquiries and merits their importance in the Titanic disaster. Is it true that most public inquiries rarely lead to a prosecution? They are probably just used for defensive purposes e.g. There are frequent calls for public inquiries into numerous attacks in Northern Ireland during the troubles but little is ever done. One event that comes to mind is the Omagh bombing and how repeated attempts to find out the truth have been hampered by politicians, witnesses, and even police officers who were apparently uncooperative and defensive. The same could be said for the 1912 Titanic Inquiry. All sides were defensive and feared incrimination. Lightoller described the Inquiry as "a pinning down of blame onto someone's luckless shoulders."


.
 
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Harland Duzen

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Thank you everyone for your comments.
...Maybe no one in 2018 cares to know the truth of that night but I just think that if Titanic is still so interesting that people are willing to pay millions of dollars to just go down and visit its wreck then it should at least be interesting for scientists to examine the wreck and find out new facts...
First off, Welcome to ET Moj!

Secondly, as stated by Michael, "Everybody wants to know The Truth..." and today, interest in Titanic and everyone and everything related to it is now even greater than it might have been back in 1912 with dozens of documentaries, films, books and memorabilia (of varying taste) have been made about her and anyone related to it.

Unfortunately this intense interest could be said to have put the Titanic into legendary status with the side effect of this being that we expect the actual causes or reasons for the disaster happening to be unfathomable or gigantic instead of being explainable.

In the past, numerous claims have been put forward suggesting reckless speeding, poor design, secret fires and more.

In reality, Titanic was captained to perfect seafaring rules of the time (was never attempting to race to New York), had never been built to withstand such extreme damage and the fire was a common occurrence on steamships and caused no damage to the hull's integrity.

In reality, most myths or causes for the Sinking have been explained or logically hypothesised but their not very exciting or climatic. This has happened to other events in the past like the Mary Celeste and King Tutankhamen death having with many theories on aliens, assassinations and supernatural events put forward but the actual causes are not very dramatic but more mundane.

Basically while many people do want to know the truth, they might prefer to keep it hidden (or not search for it) to keep the myth or legend alive. Titanic was a freak accident where multiple things happened at the same time to cause it and had one thing been different, the outcome would of been too. No one person or thing is too blame despite what many documentaries might try to make you think.

Sorry if this really veered off topic and might not make sense. (Back to Topic!)
 
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could be an Inquiry that examines the findings of the previous Inquiries and merits their importance in the Titanic disaster.
Already been done. Titanic, a Centennial Reappraisal of the Evidence does exactly that.

Seriously, why is it that some of you all are thinking that a renewed formal inquiry is some sort of magic trick which is going to accomplish something above and beyond what a century of research hasn't already done?

What is the assumption here?
 

Rob Lawes

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What is the assumption here?
While the original inquiries clearly had their faults they did produce a relatively coherent set of conclusions and recommendations.

It's not my opinion but there are a number of people on here and elsewhere who believe the whole UK inquiry was one big conspiracy involving the crew, board of trade, Lord Mersey and all. I presume when those that believe that call for the truth they mean official validation of their beliefs.
 
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Jim Currie

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Hello Moj. I may as well offer my 10 centimos-worth.

You asked " if new evidence of the sinking comes up is it possible to have new inquiry?"

Judging by today;'s standards, I guess the answer would be only if someone could make money and or political mileage out of it. Or at the very least, recover the taxpayer's money expended in such an exercise.
Michael very neatly pointed out the futility of such an exercise when related to survivors.
However, there are at least two groups of people alive today to whom, the original findings and those who perpetrate them are an anathema. They are thus affected because:
A. They they are related to individuals' whose reputations were ruined at the time. Relations who hide their family connections to the disaster due to those who perpetuate ill-conceived nonsense in their public writings and dramatic portrayals about named individual survivors and 3rd party participants.
or
B: They are Professionals who patiently read the pontifications of enthusiastic amateurs who have built International reputations in the world of Literature and the Arts on the back of the irrational, inconclusive findings of the original Inquiries.
As Mark Twain is alleged to have remarked:
"Never let the truth stand in the way of a good story, unless you can't think of anything better."