By Debbie Emery – Radar Reporter
Newly discovered hand-written notes made by a safety inspector who checked the equipment five hours before she set sail from England have revealed that the vessel had 50 percent less life boats than needed, reported the Telegraph.co.uk.
The smoking gun documents have finally come to light after hitting the auction block as part of memorabilia from the giant ship, which departed from Southampton to New York City on April 10, 1912.
Civil servant Maurice Clarke wrote that if he had made his discovery public then he would have risked his job, because the Titanic’s owners had pressured his superiors into giving the fated ship the all clear.
Under the category of “boats,” in his official findings, Clarke acknowledged it was not possible to double the number of lifeboats from 20 to 40 to cover “all hands” due to cost and extra manning.
“I suggest 50 percent more,” the emigration officer for the government’s Board of Trade wrote, which would mean there would be 30 lifeboats to carry 1,767 people in an emergency.
“This permits of all persons being transferred to another ship in one return, not 3. A sufficiency of boats would allay a panic.”
The evidence that a century-long cover-up may have occurred is suggested in the line, “To deviate…would leave me without support. I might be shifted as suggested to me by owners if I enforced my views as to efficiency.”
Clarke also noted that the Titanic only had six life buoys on board, which equated to one per 370 people. As history revealed, his concern was justified as only 706 passengers made it into lifeboats after the huge liner crashed into an iceberg on April 15, plunging 1,522 people to their deaths.
Despite his concern at the time, the inspector stayed silent during the aftermath of the disaster and hid his findings during the official inquiry. When asked whether Titanic was in proper order to go to sea as an emigrant ship he replied: “Undoubtedly.”
The truth has finally been revealed in papers going to auction by Henry Aldridge and Son of Devizes, Wiltshire, England, in what has been called “the most controversial document relating to the Titanic that has emerged in the last 100 years.
“This is clear evidence that a company, namely White Star Line, had sufficient influence to gag a government employee,” said Andrew Aldridge. “This statement implies that the Board of Trade officials in charge of clearing Titanic had been pressurized by White Star Line with regard to the subject of insufficient lifeboats.
“This is a fact that has never been known before. It was a judgement which had calamitous results only five days later when Titanic sunk,” he went on to say.
“In hindsight, there was a very strong case to bring charges of corporate manslaughter against White Star Line over the disaster. If that had happened, then this document would have been the smoking-gun piece of evidence that would have helped convict them.”
The documents were obtained by a solicitor more than 50 years ago and it is his son who is now selling them with a pre-sale estimate of $48,000 in an auction on November 24.