Were Titanic and Olympic switched

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I have recently finished reading an excellent and thought-provoking book called "Tianic - the ship that never sank?" In it the author makes many claims that it was Olympic that sank and that Titanic completed a very good 24 year career masquerading as her elder sister. He brings up numerous points:

1st) Why does Olympic have 16 portholes on the C deck forecastle days after the Titanic disaster (the same number as Titanic) when before she only had 14 (16 were "officially" there in her 1912/13 refit)?

2nd) The number 301 is etched onto the wreck's starboard propeller. this is the one taken off Titanic and put on Olympic in February 1912 when her own became damaged.

The author suggests that Olympic's keel was damaged in her collision with Hawke and she was beyond economic repair (suggesting this is why Titanic broke in two where she did - the same place where Olympic was rammed). Because of this and the fact White Star lost the case against the navy they swapped the vessels to stage a huge insurance scam (which went very wrong indeed).

Anyone have any comments?


Mar 2, 1998
Oh, where should I start? :)
There were many structural differences between
Olympic and Titanic that flatly put this theory to
rest, IMO.
Firstly, Titanic had numerous B-deck suites that
extended to the external wall of the
superstructure. Photos exist of this change in
window configurement in its stages of
construction. Olympic did not until after her
post-Titanic refit. Olympic had a rounded
wheelhouse front wall until after the disaster.
The remnants of the wheelhouse wall base on the
wreck is square, like Titanic.
The number 401, Titanic's shipyard number, appears
on the Titanic's starboard propeller at the wreck
site. Since Titanic's starboard prop had to have
been refitted after the original one was taken off
for Olympic, that one, too, would have been
stamped '401'.
Titanic's forward A-deck was enclosed, a feature
Olympic never received. After the disaster, it was
likely decided that any necessary access to
lowering lifeboats would be better with an open
promenade. Additionally, the addition of boats to
Olympic along the entire length of the boat deck
obscured a decent ocean view for 1st class
passengers, thereby an open A-deck promenade would
help remedy this.
Numerous vent and window configurations consistent
with Olympic, helping to give distinct separation
from Titanic, can be observed in photographs.
Olympic originally had 14 portholes on her C-deck
port forecastle, but also had white painted
gunwales on her lifeboats. Both had been changed
to reflect improvements to Titanic by the 1912/13
Olympic received a Cafe Parisian in 1913, after
the same type of room was incorporated in Titanic.
Titanic broke in two between funnels #3 and #4, in
the large open areas of the ship (engine room,
tank room shaft, etc.) where the ship pivoted on
an axis of submergence and what was still in the
air. Olympic was rammed by the Hawke abeam of her
aft mast on the starboard quarter (further aft of
Titanic's breakage).

It is indeed an interesting theory on the
switching of the ships. I personally do not buy
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Tracey McIntire

If you are interested in "conspiracy theories" you might also enjoy "The Titanic Conspiracy" by Robin Gardiner and Dan Van Der Vat. They make the same assertion--that Olympic and Titanic were switched. But even these authors end up refuting their own arguments by indicating that Hull #401 is found on the propeller of the wreck AS WELL AS on the helm indicator from the stern bridge.

Daniel Rosenshine (Danielr)

Well, I too have read the Gardiner and Van Der Vat book, but I actually read "Riddle of the Titanic" When I saw "The Titaic Conspiracy", I thought the two books were the same.

Anyway, Gardiner and Van Der Vat, only give a suggestion that has been made about the conspiracy, but then they go on to argue on why this can not be so.

I agree with Dan's message. Although little things such as lifeboats and linen, and other items possesing the ship's name could have been easily switched between the two ships, I think there was a lot more than that, that had to be re-done. The B deck suites and the Cafe, the extended resaurant and other unique Titanic design features. It is almost phisically impossible to switch such things within a few days.

The covered A deck promenade, was only covered 11 days before her maiden voyage (or before her trials, either way it was at a very late stage). Thus if swapping did occure, there were no difficulties posed with the coverd promenade, since it didn't even exist at that stage.

Either way, the propeller, the suites and other things, make me believe that there was no swapping that took place.

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