Freemasons may have influenced Titanic inquiry, newly disclosed list of members' names reveals

The judge who oversaw the inquiry, leading investigators and the ship’s company chairman were involved in Masonic activity

Alexandra Sims
Monday 23 November 2015 16:24 GMT
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Artist impression showing the 14 April 1912 shipwreck of the British luxury passenger liner Titanic off the Nova-Scotia coasts, during its maiden voyage
Artist impression showing the 14 April 1912 shipwreck of the British luxury passenger liner Titanic off the Nova-Scotia coasts, during its maiden voyage (OFF/AFP/Getty Images)

A secret list containing the names of two million Freemasons may have revealed an inquiry into the sinking of the Titanic was influenced by the organisation.

The archives, published by genealogy site Ancestry, reveal many people involved in a British investigation into the tragedy, including the judge who oversaw the inquiry, its leading investigators and the chairman of the ship’s parent company, participated in Masonic activity, The Daily Telegraph reports.

Diane Clements, director of the Library and Museum of Freemasonry, told The Telegraph: “The records demonstrate the extensive involvement which freemasons have had in British society.”

Names cited in the records include Lord Mersey, the judge who oversaw the inquiry and spared the British Board of Trade from blame in the disaster, despite the board being held responsible for the lack of lifeboats on the vessel in a separate US Senate inquiry.

Professor John Harvard Biles and Edward Chaston, two of the inquiry’s five expert assessors, can be found in the archives.

Lord Pirrie, chairman of the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast where the Titanic was built and director of the White Star Line’s parent company was also a Freemason.

Nic Compton, a Titanic expert and author of Titanic on Trial told History.com: “The Titanic inquiry in Britain was branded a ‘whitewash’ because it exonerated most of those involved.”

He said inquiries into the incident mainly heaped blame on the captain of the SS Californian, the ship that stood about eight miles off and saw flares coming from the sinking liner.

The supposedly 'Unsinkable' Titanic set sail en-route to New York on 10 April 1912, sinking on 14 April 1912 after hitting an iceberg off Newfoundland, killing about 1,500 passengers and ship personnel.

The newly disclosed list of Freemasons has also revealed the extent of the organisation’s influence in the upper echelons of society.

Oscar Wilde, Rudyard Kipling, Duke of Wellington and Lord Kitchener were all members, The Telegraph reported.

There are even claims a singer suspected of being Jack the Ripper was protected from prosecution because he was a mason.

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