The Whitewash - Behind Closed Doors



Do you believe there was a real attempt to whitewash and steer the findings of the Inquiry in favour of the company and especially the Board of Trade who were conducting the Inquiry? Britain was competing with Germany and I often wonder how damaging it would have been if the company was found guilty of negligent steering and the effects it would have on British shipbuilding if they had confirmed that the safest liner in the world and last word in British ship design had broken in two on her maiden voyage. It would probably tip the balance and make German shipbuilding more supreme especially in the eyes of future investors which may have held a key role in the preparations for war.

Here is a video I put together to get an idea of what it may have been like 'behind closed doors' from various TV dramas.

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Kyle Naber

Oct 5, 2016
I believe that the people who weren't able to see the break or weren't paying enough attention assumed she had went down whole and couldn't find any reason why it would have broken, so they testified their intact story.

Rob Lawes

Jun 13, 2012
Something I discovered today which may have had some influence on those conducting the inquiry and in their relationship with the board of trade is the names of the holders of the post of President of the Board of Trade.

The holder at the time of the Titanic's sinking and the UK inquiry was a man named Sydney Buxton. An unremarkable career politician in the Liberal Party who held few other posts in his subsequent career. He took office at the BOT in Feb 2010 by which time Olympic was a year away from completion and Titanic a year away from launch.

The two previous holders of the post of President of the Board of trade by 1912 now held higher offices in Herbert Asquith's Liberal Government.

These men were none other than current Chancellor of the Exchequer and future Prime Minster David Lloyd George (1905 - 1908) and his successor at the BOT then First Lord of the Admiralty and future Prime Minister Winston Churchill (1908 - 1910).

So the two men ultimately responsible for board of trade policy not only went on to hold senior posts in the Liberal Government of the day in 1912 but would go on to become wartime Prime Ministers of great renown.

I fully expect Lord Mersey to have been aware of those names.
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Interesting. I hope their findings and their tactics were not used as a benchmark to climb the political ladder. The British steamship Oceana had also sunk that year and an Inquiry was being held at the same time as the Titanic's. The President of the Board of Trade received very strong criticism in Parliament while both Inquiries were being held.

Major Archer-Shee said:

"I beg to move that Sub-head A (Salary of the President of the Board of Trade) be reduced by £100."

"I move this reduction on account of the neglect of the Board of Trade in providing efficient regulations for accommodation in boats on passenger ships. The President of the Board of Trade is responsible to this House and to the country for the efficient conduct of the business of the Board of Trade, and therefore he is responsible that his advisers, whether an Advisory Committee or experts to advise, should give him the advice which is necessary to provide proper regulations."

The full complaint against the Board of Trade can be found here:

BOARD OF TRADE—LOSS OF LIFE AT SEA. (Hansard, 21 May 1912).