The show is called “Lost Evidence,” but it really is “Ignored Evidence.”
When History Channel presents Laurence Fishburne to narrate another Titanic documentary, you might be skeptical about what more can be said. You’d be surprised almost immediately by the high quality of this production. IN fact, it may be instantly one of the best of all Titanic documentaries.
The premise is snide: there was far less heroism and good behavior than you have been led to believe, and the key is in the British investigation of 1912 that was led by Lord Mersey. He was likely the spearhead of a coverup, or at least whitewash.
In his private red journal, however, unread for 100 years, were his observations never published. His GGG grandson, the new Viscount of Mersey, appears and allows information to be released.
Some is surprising, but the most visual is a spectacular collection of film clips and photos, not necessarily from Titanic, but of the White Star liners.
The grand tragic ship itself was not at capacity, despite legends to the contrary. Indeed, young Richard White, traveling with his father in first-class D deck, moved across the hall to an empty cabin a day into the voyage.
Mersey notes that the crew was the same bunch of incompetents under Captain Smith that were involved in several crashes on the Olympic. And, buried headlines indicate survivors denounced the officers of Titanic.
Smith was old-fashioned—and a 20thcentury technophobe, disdaining Marconi-grams on icebergs and refusing to hold new system lifeboat drills. Who knows what else contributed to the “millionaires’ captain” and his failures? A few experts suggest that Smith deep-sixed the ship’s log because it would make him look bad.
Marconi operators actually told other ships to “Shut Up!” about ice warnings. Lord Mersey notes all this in his journal.
Of twenty lifeboats, only two bothered to pick up floundering passengers in the water. Others had seats and left them empty. One British aristocrat paid cash bribes to lifeboat crewnotto turn back to help others.
Ismay and crew were trapped by the American investigation that started almost immediately. Ismay was labeled a “coward” and “murderer.” Yet, the British inquiry with Lord Mersey was meant to be fairer and restore integrity to the shipping industry.
Mersey came to conclude Californian was most at fault and might have saved many, if not all, victims. Yet, years later, it was discovered Titanic was 13 miles off-course, allegedly too far from Californian to rescue them. It’s a stretch.
It seems excuses still abound 108 years later.