Titanic - Accident on Day of Sea Trials?


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Aaron_2016

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I recently paid a visit to my local history archives to see what the Belfast newspapers reported in 1911 and 1912. What I found was interesting.





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On March 4th 1912 it appears the Olympic struck bottom as she was passing the Titanic, or may have swung to avoid hitting the Titanic and struck West Twin island. White Star denied the reports and said the Olympic was merely detained in Belfast because of bad weather, but local papers prove the ship was immediately put back into dry dock for inspection and remained there for some time. Do you believe the Titanic suffered the same fate as the Olympic and struck bottom on April 1st and if this was the real reason why her sea trials were delayed?



Timeline of events.


18th November 1911 - Gunfight aboard the Olympic in Belfast.

19th November 1911 - Olympic is repaired and swung around in readiness for her departure.

20th November 1911 - Olympic leaves Belfast.


The Belfast newsletter - Summary of her repairs and recent departure.

'Operations were carried out night and day, in order that the vessel might be ready to resume her place in the White Star fleet at the earliest possible day. It was necessary to relieve the liner of a good deal of her machinery before she could be admitted into dry dock, but this task gave comparatively little trouble. For completion of the work the Olympic was removed to the new deep water wharf. Before she could be turned in preparation for her departure, dredging operations had to be undertaken. These were accelerated as much as possible, and yesterday the vessel was successfully turned, so as to be in readiness for leaving the port at high tide about nine o'clock this morning.'


(This gives us an idea of how shallow the waters were).



17th February 1912 - Titanic leaves her dry dock for fitting out process.

27th February 1912 - Olympic hits a submerged wreck and loses a blade. The White Star Line denies the reports.

1st March 1912 - Olympic arrives in Belfast for repairs but she arrives too late to catch the high tide, and must wait outside.

2nd March 1912 - Olympic goes into dry dock and passes the Titanic. This event attracts and dazzles the onlookers.


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4th March 1912 - Olympic is repaired and leaves her dry dock. She immediately proceeds to Southampton.

Something happens to her as she passes the Titanic. Reports of the incident are spread all over the world.



Olympicaccident.PNG



The White Star Line deny the reports. They say she has merely been detained in Belfast owing to the bad weather outside.


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Despite their denial the Olympic was put immediately back into dry dock. There was a storm at the time but no reports of dredging. Did the Olympic touch bottom? Did the tugs break their hold of the Olympic as she was passing the Titanic? Perhaps the Olympic decided to give the Titanic a wide berth and came too close to West Twin Island, partially running aground?


6th March 1912 - Two days have passed since the incident and the Olympic is now reported to be leaving her dry dock (again). This time things are different. In order for her to swing around, the Titanic is taken out of the way and is towed into the dry dock, so that the Olympic can swing around safely. Once complete, the Titanic is taken out again. Does this suggest there was a mishap earlier, possibly involving the Titanic?


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"The difficult undertaking of swinging the Olympic was not attempted yesterday owing to the strong wind which prevailed."

It was attempted two days earlier without success. Wonder if they used that time to dredge the area and make plans to change places with the Titanic. Perhaps calculating her weight and removing machinery to lighten her weight before entering the dry dock.


7th March 1912 - Olympic leaves Belfast in the afternoon and there is a tragic accident at the Titanic.


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It is unclear if the accident occurred at the Titanic or the Olympic as both ships were in the dry dock that same day. Perhaps the editor did not know either?


March8tha.PNG



The New York Times said the Olympic's next voyage would be delayed for 6 days owing to the bad weather and her passengers would be transferred onto the Lusitania. The Washington Herald said the Olympic would be delayed because she did not have enough coal due to the coal strike, while the Lusitania had plenty. Whatever the reason, the idea of returning to dry dock for future repairs was certainly a costly one. Later that same year the Olympic would end up damaging her propeller twice more. The company must have realized the difficulty and expense, and opted to delay the repairs to a more appropriate time.


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Not to mention the risk of hitting another mud bank, and the cost of dredging to bring in the Olympic.


This brings me to April 1st 1912. The day the Titanic was scheduled to begin her sea trials. Yet they never took place that day owing to bad weather. The company said the Olympic did not strike the sea bed, and was mere detained in Belfast owing to the bad weather. He know that wasn't true as she was immediately put back into dry dock for inspection. Is it possible that the Titanic also struck the sea bed that day? The Olympic suffered no damage, and since time is money, they may have opted to not put the Titanic back into dry dock.


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A familiar headline came the next day.


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Aaron_2016

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Edit timed out - Meant to say, We know, not, he know. :eek:



One thing that certainly caught my attention was the swastika that appeared on the paper April 15th 1912. It was an advertisement for watches. Also the article about the lunar eclipse below Titanic's departure and also there was this advert. Predicting future events.



fortune.PNG




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Rob Lawes

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Jun 13, 2012
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Fascinating stuff Aaron.

On the swastika, I don't know if you know this but the swastika is a religious symbol that dates back long before the Nazis misappropriated it. It always comes as a surprise to see one though.
 
A

Aaron_2016

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It startled me at first, as it appeared on the April 15th 1912 issue. It was a jewellery shop on High street. Ironically it was destroyed in the war by German bombing.


Belfast High street. Before & after.

Belfast High street.PNG




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Georges Guay

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Feb 26, 2017
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That must had been quite a show to be part of the bridge team when they were turning the titan outbound. I think that they were really at the edge of losing control. Imagine the whistles symphony!

«You can build a bigger ship than Titanic, but you cannot build a bigger brain to run it.»
James Herbert Haddock

dock10.png

Tight spot...
 

Harland Duzen

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Jan 14, 2017
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What ''Gunfight'' occurred aboard RMS Olympic?

Also I surprised one found out about this earlier. Maybe Senan Molony should have done his documentary on this!

Good detective work Aaron_2016!



(Also, do i have your permission to possibly use this info in my book as long as I thank you for it).
 
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Harland Duzen

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So it feasible that owing to the high winds and fearful of scraping (and delaying again) their new liner, that White Star delayed the sea-trails so to prevent the risk of damaging Titanic like the Olympic?

a82371efff1bf0750255655a1b6e368c.jpg


Though the dates of these photos (Above) is questionable, maybe this accidental grounding is what sparked the nutty conspiracy theories over the years with the Olympic docking unnecessary (since the public knew no better) led them to believe a switch was taking place?
 

Harland Duzen

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Jan 14, 2017
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Thanks. You certainly have my permission to use the information and articles. Here is a link to the shooting aboard the Olympic.


1911 Attempted Murder Aboard Olympic


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Blimey, this sounds like a action scene from the 1997 film or Titanic: Honor and Glory! Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction. Also thank you for permission Aaron_2016.

Not really new, Mark Chrinside covered this up a few years ago, it is also mentioned in his RMS Olympic book.

Thanks for the info, Ioannis. I definitely will need to research this further.
 

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