Did the Titanic Steer Into That Iceberg?

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The "Titanic" liner, seen leaving Queenstown harbor before making her maiden voyage en route for the USA. The ship struck an iceberg and sank near Newfoundland, killing 1550 people.

Or is this new tidbit of information just a way to sell some novels?

The descendant of one of the Titanic‘s officers has come forward with what she says is a family secret: the crew member in charge of steering the doomed ship confused his orders and accidentally steered the ship into the iceberg, instead of away from it.

According to Louise Patten, granddaughter to the ship’s Second Officer Charles Lightoller, the helmsman steering the Titanic on the fateful night of April 14, 1912 mistakenly operated the ship’s wheel as if he were working on a sailing ship instead of a steam ship. (Turning the wheel in one direction produces opposite results in the two types of ships.) Thus, instead of veering away from the iceberg, the Titanic headed straight towards it.

As Patten tells it, her grandfather wasn’t on deck for the accident, but was present at a secret meeting where the ship’s officers decided to keep the mistake a secret. Lightoller was the only survivor among those at the meeting.

Patten says Charles kept the secret his entire life:

“By his code of honour, [Lightoler] felt it was his duty to protect his employer — White Star Line — and its employees. […] It was made clear to him by those at the top that, if the company were found to be negligent, it would be bankrupted and every job would be lost. The enquiry had to be a whitewash. The only person he told the full story to was his beloved wife Sylvia, my grandmother.”

Cool, story, right? Except for this:

Mrs. Patten has worked the story of the catastrophe into her latest novel, Good As Gold.

NewsFeed doesn’t want to come out and say straight that this woman made the whole thing up to sell some books. Instead, we will slyly hint at it. Doesn’t it seem odd that only one person in this secret meeting survived? And that he in turn only told one person the truth in his entire life: his beloved wife, who handed down the tale as a family secret? And isn’t it odd how this account doesn’t square with the established narrative, that the ship did steer away from the iceberg but doing so caused the impact to happen where the ship was most vulnerable? But we’re just asking questions here; we’re not saying anything! (via BBC News)

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