I keep running into a (quite frankly daft) conspiracy theory regarding the sinking of the Titanic. It posits that the RMS Olympic was secretly swapped in to replace the RMS Titanic and was deliberately sunk.
The motivations given tend to be either J.P. Morgan wanted to assassinate his rivals, or White Star Line were perpetrating an insurance fraud to try to recoup losses from the damage caused to the Olympic in a previous collision with HMS Hawke.
Most of these claims are easy to debunk, but one that seems to keep cropping up regards the SS Californian - a ship that was nearby the Titanic when it hit the iceberg, but, controversially, didn't respond to the distress signals in a timely manner.
The claim is that the Californian was intended to act as a rescue ship for the passengers, and was (deliberately) carrying a cargo of items that would have been useful for a rescue attempt - variously reported as lifebelts, sweaters and warm clothing.
The SS Californian's cargo manifest is said to provide evidence for this, and hence evidence that the Californian was intended as a rescue ship and that the Titanic sinking was deliberate, but I have been unable to locate it.
Was the SS Californian intended to be a rescue vehicle?