FALSE. But it has nevertheless been suggested by one author that Olympic’s collision with the Navy cruiser HMS Hawke and subsequent problems with her propeller blades meant that it had become cheaper to ‘lose’ her and claim the insurance. Supposedly, the Baltic was to have been standing by to pick up passengers from the sinking Olympic, which had been secretly swapped for the Titanic, but the plan went catastrophically wrong, resulting in 1,500 deaths.
However, even if this ‘switch’ could have been accomplished—which would have been difficult given the large numbers of people who would have had to be involved and kept absolutely quiet—any deliberate sinking would have been disastrous for the White Star Line’s reputation for building safe ships and therefore for its finances. In addition, we have already seen that Olympic and Titanic were each insured for considerably less than their build costs, with a large part of their insurance being underwritten by White Star Line’s parent company, the International Mercantile Marine Company; this would make any corporate claim from White Star partly an ‘own goal’ for the Group.
Finally, concrete evidence backs up the commonsense argument: the Titanic’s hull number, 401 (Olympic’s was 400), is the only one which has ever been found on Titanic’s wreck.
If you’d like to read the full book of101 Things You Thought You Knew About The Titanic…But Didn’t!, or any of my other books on Titanic, please visit my Author Page on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/tim-maltin/e/B005LNHYEQ/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_1