Titanic tale a bum steer?

September 27, 2010

gbu titanic 490

Titanic sunk by steering mistake, author says

LONDON (Reuters) – The Titanic hit an iceberg in 1912 because of a basic steering error, and only sank as fast as it did because an official persuaded the captain to continue sailing, an author said in an interview published on Wednesday.

Louise Patten, a writer and granddaughter of Titanic second officer Charles Lightoller, said the truth about what happened nearly 100 years ago had been hidden for fear of tarnishing the reputation of her grandfather, who later became a war hero.

Patten, who made the revelations to coincide with the publication of her new novel “Good as Gold” into which her account of events are woven, said that the conversion from sail ships to steam meant there were two different steering systems.

Geez. Here is a sole-source for an article, who happens to be a woman who is selling a novel that incorporates “facts” from the revelatory and super-important story she is telling, and you print what she says without any caveats or counter-point-of-view?

Why should we believe her? And why should we believe Reuters regarding this and other matters, when it has the gall to publish this story without any corroboration?


There are a great many things wrong with the ridiculous tales told by the woman who claims her grandfather, 2nd Officer Lighttoller, had some “secret conference” with the rest of Titanic’s surviving officers and conspired to hide culpability in the collision.

This “new revelation” is a lame attempt by a woman with a tenuous tie to history trying to make money selling her book to gullible “conspiracy” fools… More holes in it than the Titanic. Let ’em rest in peace, for crying out loud.


Several readers criticized our use of a story that quoted only a single source with a book to sell, without adding balancing comment from historians, etc. GBU Editor

The RMS Titanic in what is thought to be the last known image of the ship as she sets sail from Queenstown for New York. Credit: Reuters/Christie’s

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One comment

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Several commentators have suggested that the error was in trying to slow the ship down, once the iceburg was sighted. I’ve read in several places that, had they sped up to maximum speed, and turned hard, they might have had the momentum to go around the burg — that it was trying to slow down, and the resultant lack of maneuverability, that caused the collision.

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