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'Tele' needs to get facts right on Titanic sale

I have just read with interest an article on the Belfast Telegraph website, which reads, in part: 'Artefacts from the ship which failed to answer a call for help from the Titanic go up for auction in Northern Ireland next month.

"A menu card from the SS California is among lots being sold in Ballymoney, Co Antrim. There will also be postcards featuring the vessel. Gerry McAfee, auctioneer at McAfee Auctions, said: "These items are inextricably connected to the ship . We expect interest to be high".' (Online, November 19)

The auction organisers have up for sale a postcard of the SS California, a menu card, and a View Scotland by Anchor Line postcard showing the SS California.

These items have no apparent connection to Titanic. The ship alleged to have been 19 miles from the Titanic was the Leyland Line's Californian, not the Anchor Line's vessel California. Calfornian entered service in 1901 and was torpedoed in 1915. California entered service in 1907 and was mined or torpedoed in 1917.

Even the most basic research using any illustrated Titanic reference source, including the books I have co-authored with John P Eaton, would have shown the vessel alleged to have been near the Titanic (and partially exonerated in 1992) had a single funnel, not two as depicted on one of the postcards offered in this auction.

As Titanic's 'hometown newspaper', and so given extra credence by students of the Titanic worldwide, the Telegraph's reporters and editors have, I should think, a special responsibility to verify such assertions prior to publication.

CHARLES HAAS

President, Titanic International Society Inc,

New Jersey, USA

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