The idea that Olympic was switched with its newer sister ship, Titanic, is incorrect.
Robin Gardiner should review the following evidence and remove this book from publication.
Photos of the newly built hull sliding into the water, for respective ships - Olympic in white, Titanic in grey (freely available on the web) clearly show a distinct 'finger print' porthole configuration at the stern (rear-left) for Titanic, compared to her sister Olympic. This enables clear identification of the ship that sank from maiden voyage photos, as Titanic - the 2nd hull that was built.
Common sense aside, there's also a welter of evidence available that, point-by-point, blows the conspiracy theory out of the water. One factor in particular however (photos of which were, ironically, featured prominently by Gardiner in his 1998 book) prove beyond any doubt that the ships were not switched. There was a subtle but unmistakeable difference in the bow plating around the anchor; two plate-edges were welded together on Titanic, but left unwelded on the Olympic. Pre & post disaster photos of Olympic show the unwelded plate-edge around the anchor. It's as conclusive as fingerprints. It cannot be argued against, and the entire switch theory crumbles immediately. Done & dusted. There are of course other features which damn Gardiner's theory. The precise porthole arrangements on C-deck; the piping on the funnels differed; the lettering TITANIC filmed & photographed on the bow wreck in 1987.... It's all there.
The Great Titanic Conspiracy by Robin Gardiner. Earns two points for an interesting speculation and conspiracy theories are very popular entertainment. Some of the photographs in my copy of the book are of poor quality and have been incorrectly captioned. Details such as describing David Lloyd George as Prime Minister at or about 1907 are incorrect. DLG was a Cabinet Minister at that time and did not become Prime Minister until 1916. The cruiser HMS Tiger said to have been rammed in 1908 was in fact a 300 ton destroyer and not a cruiser. Pedantic point I know, but get it right if you are intending to be taken seriously. The main reason against the conspiracy theory and never mind the technical issues that can be raised for or against is that given the numbers of people involved at some point along the way then surely someone could not have resisted spilling the beans later on. Or were they all sworn to secrecy!!!
Robin Gardiner's book is utter nonsense. It is by far the worst of his three titles on the quite ludicrous theory that the Olympic and Titanic were switched and the Titanic (err, sorry...Olympic) was deliberatly sunk by its owner to claim insurance for an irreparably damaged ship. Gardiner sinks into the abyss with assertions that Captains Lord and Rostron knew "something" was going to happen that night and came prepared with their ships stock-piled with equipment and gear for rescuing survivors. The assertions that a nearby ship left behind an extra lifeboat and that 98 survivors were unaccounted for are outlandish. The lifeboats seen by Lord and Rostron were Nos. 4, 14 and 15 (all abandoned) and collapsibles A (swamped), B (upside down) and C and D. Thirteen boats recovered by Carpathia plus seven abandoned makes 20 Robin...And yet Gardiner believes No. 14 (which leaked badly) somehow survived and was later used by sea scouts! He also states that Titanic did not strike an iceberg but rather another (unknown) ship! And it goes on...
Why a reputable publisher like Ian Allan ever considered publishing this rubbish beggars belief. I'm grateful I didn't pay full price for it.
This theory is utter rubbish. Having been keenly interested in Titanic since Cameron's 1997 cinema spectacular (at wich point I was only five) I've gone out of my way to learn as much as I can and to date own five books on Titanic's construction, fittings and story, as well as others dealing with Olympic and Brittanic. I first heard of this theory six years ago while surfing the net for Titanic articles and instantly I knew it was hogwash, but curiosity and wanting to give Gardiner a chance got the better of me and I read some articles on the subject and purchased his book. Out of the many arguments he raised that can be simply explained away there is one screaming hole in his theory. There is no conceivable instance when Titanic and Olympic could have been switched. When Olympic first returned to Belfast on October 5th 1912,following the incident with HMS Hawke Titanic was in the earlier stages of fitting out, a photograph of Titanic in December that year shows her with only three of her funnels fitted, not to mention the state of her machinery and passenger quarters. The second and last time the sisters were together was in March 1912 when Olympic threw a propeller blade and needed repairs. Titanics fitting out was nearing completion but she still was not in any state to carry her wealthy and notable first class passengers. additionally the cahnges to Titanic's staterooms on B Deck (eg the famous private promenade decks) were nearly complete. To rip these out, reconstruct Olympics B deck and install the staterooms and other famed alterations, while completing Titanic as Olympic would have taken a tremendous effort and is totally inconceivable in the time the two ships were together, simply put, IMPOSSIBLE. Gardiners book is simply a waste of paper and could only have been written to put money in his pocket. I'm pleased to say mines was from a jumble sale and is currently gathering dust on my bookshelf , where it will remain until it slowly disintegrates or I find something better to put my TV aerial on top of.