Letter from Titanic’s safety officer shows his concern over lack of lifeboats
New documents from Captain Maurice Clarke to rewrite Titanic history
Private papers from the Titanic’s safety officer, Captain Maurice Clarke, show that he believed the White Star Line ship needed 50 percent more lifeboats but was forced to back down. These documents are now set to go to auction and are expected to fetch $32,000, according to the Times.
These documents only came to light this year, 100 years after 1,500 people perished when the ship struck an iceberg and sank on its maiden voyage. The notes written by, Stoke-on-Trent born, Clarke were never presented to the inquiry into the disaster.
Henry Aldridge and Son, the leading auctioneers of Titanic memorabilia, will put the documents up for auction. They expect to fetch $32,000.
Andrew Aldridge said the history of the Titanic’s doomed voyage will have to be rewritten.
He said “Private notes regarding Captain Clarke's visits, and the subsequent British Titanic inquiry, having been hidden from public view for more than a century... The most damning documents in the archive relate to Captain Clarke's visits and inspections of Titanic on Thursday 4th, Tuesday 9th and Wednesday 10th April.
“They give a detailed account of the lifeboat drills, tests and an inventory of the distress signals and equipment kept on-board which bizarrely included only six life buoys - a staggering statistic considering Titanic could accommodate over 3,000 souls.
"Most controversially he states that he wanted 50% more lifeboats on board, suggestions ignored by the White Star Line."
Clarke’s notes stated “To deviate from regulations which had been drawn up by the Advisory Committee of Ships' owners and approved by my department would leave me without support.
"I might be shifted as suggest to me by owners if I enforced my views as to efficiency".
This implies that Clarke felt pressured with regard to the lifeboats on the Titanic. This evidence has never been seen before.
Aldridge said, “These documents effectively rewrite an important element of the Titanic story proving that even after 100 years, new facts are coming to light about the sinking."
The auction of this Titanic documents and other collectables is due to take place at the Henry Aldridge and Son auction rooms in Devizes, Wiltshire, on November 24.
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