By Wade Sisson
Wade Sisson became fascinated with the Titanic in sixth grade when he wrote a book report about Walter Lord's classic A Night to Remember, which recounts the Titanic's sinking in vivid detail.
When he learned about the Titanic Historical Society, he joined the organization in the months before the Titanic wreck was discovered in 1985.
Titanic became an enduring fascination - for Wade as it is for the world. Titanic was soon making appearances in science fair projects, more book reports and even geometry homework assignments.
Before an exhibit of Titanic artifacts came to Kansas City in 2000-01, Wade taught a Titanic history class for a local university's community outreach program, and when the exhibition arrived, he served as a volunteer exhibit guide every weekend.
Wade always dreamed of writing a Titanic book but didn't want to do so until he came up with a topic that hadn't previously been covered - a tall order when it comes to one of the most written-about events in history.
Five years ago, he realized that he wanted to read more about the Olympic's role in the events of April 14-15, 1912, but couldn't find anything more than footnotes in the written record. So, he set out to research and write Racing Through the Night.
The story of Titanic's sister ship on the night of 14/15 April 1912 gives a unique new insight into the Titanic tragedy. Entering service fully ten months ahead of Titanic, the Olympic was a near identical sister ship, the first of a class of three liners, two of which would sink. Wade Sisson tells the story of the Olympic on that fateful night, how she was merely 350 miles away, outward bound from New York back to Southampton. Titanic's faint distress signals were heard by the Olympic and her Captain, Haddock, prepared her for the rescue mission. Steaming at full speed towards the scene of the disaster, she was readied to receive passengers and crew from the doomed liner.She was too late, but wanted to collect the survivors from the much smaller Carpathia and transport them back to New York. Captain Rostron, of the Carpathia, sent a fateful message informing Haddock that she would take the passengers back to New York. It was feared that a ship to ship transfer using the Titanic's lifeboats would be too traumatic for the lucky 700 passengers and crew from the Titanic and that the sight of her near identical sister would create panic among the survivors.Arriving back in England, the crew of the Olympic mutinied until extra lifeboats were fitted aboard and on her next return voyage, she nearly ran aground off the Lizard, in Cornwall. This is her story of the Titanic disaster and it is a thrilling one.