Conclusions and References
In the course of this research I have contacted respected Titanic authors, researchers and investigative journalists (other than Steve Hall, Bruce Beveridge and Mark Chirnside who already have published analysis) from England, Ireland, Germany, the United States and Australia. Despite their differences in opinion (and sometimes quite vehement disagreements) on many aspects of the Titanic disaster, they are all in uniform agreement that a 'switch' was impossible and there is no evidence to support it.
Many have stated that the key reason is "reputational" - that White Star had no reason to do it and simply would not do it due to the ramifications of such an action. For example Titanic author Senan Molony wrote to me that the 'overwhelming single argument against the switch theory is the reputational one - the damage that would be caused to the White Star Line by any sinking, even a controlled and contrived one... One doesn’t need to compare designs and count portholes - a moment’s serious consideration of the reputational risk involved - individually and collectively - is all that is required to end any entertainment of the notion.'
This fact should not be taken lightly; no serious, respected, reputed Titanic researcher or author supports a 'switch' scenario. The closest we have is Naval historian Dan Van Der Vat, co-author of the original 'switch' theory book with Robin Gardiner. However he also admits that "the theory did not stand up." The reason for this lack of support is due to the clear evidence provided in this article.
So why is it still popular?
Everyone loves the tantalising excitement of a conspiracy theory. It can fire the imagination and provide hope that there are reasons why unimaginable loss takes place and give a sense of structure when disaster happens. They can also be a good source of revenue for poorly researched and overly dramatic tabloid television documentaries. Hence, the assassination of JFK, the death of Elvis, Princess Diana's car crash and 9/11 will likely always be subject to fanciful re-imaginings of alternative story lines. However, in the case of the Titanic-Olympic switch, as we have seen over the last two pages of information, there is overwhelming tangible and independently verifiable evidence, as well simple logic and common sense that prove without a doubt that Gardiner's theory belongs in the fiction section of the library.
For anyone to take the 'switch' theory seriously they firstly would have to:
1. Provide photographic and forensic evidence as well as independently verifiable witness accounts that a switch happened. As of present none exist.
2. Provide evidence and explain how White Star could benefit from a switch financially when the ship was under insured and the damage from the Hawke collision minimal.
3. Provide evidence and explain how it was feasible to make so many structural changes to both ships in such a limited time without one word being spoken by the thousands of Belfast workers.
4. Provide evidence and explain how the now defunct White Star was able to not only keep everyone from the ship's officers, crew, BOT inspectors and passengers quiet about the switch, but then continue to do so up until today as Titanic experts from around the world dive the wreck?
5. Provide evidence and explain how Titanic's number 401 is all over the wreck and Olympic's number 400 is on all that remains of Olympic.
Until then, the 'switch' theory is as simple as that, a theory. An illogical and improbable one at that. And well and truly debunked.
Banning it from social media groups or treating those who promote the theory with the contempt we think they deserve only fuels the fire of conspiracy as it surpresses 'freedom of speech'. Instead, politley send them to this website and point out the evidence or a particular claim they may be using without knowing all the facts.
Hopefully, that way we can finally 'switch off' the switch theory.
References and further reading:
Olympic & Titanic – An Analysis Of The Robin Gardiner Conspiracy Theory by Mark Chirnside
Olympic & Titanic: The Truth Behind The Conspiracy Bruce Beveridge and Steve Hall
Titanic or Olympic: Which Ship Sank? by Steve Hall and Bruce Beveridge
Dr. Paul Lee's website: The Great Titanic-Olympic Switch
The U.S. Senate Inquiry
British Board of Trade Inquiry
Olympic vs Hawke Inquiry
Dr. Paul Lee
If you have any additions, corrections or updates please feel free to contact me here
Last update: 17 January 2015