Did Murdoch shoot himself?

Thanks for the answer Arun, I was unaware of Krons. Account but it certainly seems plausible as it ties in with a lot of testimony that "Mr Murdoch" was working Collasable A/on the collapsables" to the end. I hate to use conjecture around the issue of suicide as it is so sensitive but I have always felt Henry Wylde, CO was possibly responsible. If I recall he had lost his wife and kids some months before the voyage--and if that were me in his position I may have reached a sort of seismic breaking point as the final plunge began and just thought to myself "f* it, this life isn't for me. I am just going by the depressive state he was in--as well as the fact a lot of passengers and some crew who didnt know the officers by face were confused by the uniforms. Did Murdoch remove the extra stripe from his uniform? Who knows. And please to any of those who dont think it was Wilde, I am trying my best not to discredit him in any way, I am just putting forward what I believe were the most likely scenario. We know TA and Smith jumped into the water by the bridge, and Lightholler got on a collapsible after nearly being sucked into the bowels of the ship. Nor Boxhall as he was in a boat. That would leave the junior officers, I do not know how far down they went when issuing firearms.

If karma had it's way, it would have been Ismay. Ach I shouldn't have wrote that but I did. Best
JM
 
Hi James, just to note Wilde lost his wife but not his four children. In my opinion, a father considering the imminent orphaning of his children would be more likely to fight for his life rather than kill himself...but who knows?
 

Thomas Krom

Member
Hi James, just to note Wilde lost his wife but not his four children. In my opinion, a father considering the imminent orphaning of his children would be more likely to fight for his life rather than kill himself...but who knows?
Hello Mr. Brannigan,

In January 1911, less than a month after the passing of his wife Mary “Pollie” Catherine and his twin sons Archie and Richard and just before he underwent further Royal Navy training, chief officer Wilde altered his last will and testament to ensure that his children were cared for in the event of his death. The most poignant sentences in Henry his will undoubtedly was:
"I appoint my sister in law Mrs Annie Jones Williams to act with my trustees as the Guardian of my children during their minority and to be consulted by my trustees as to the education and advancement in life of my children until the youngest child attains the age of twenty one years..."
From his few last letters one can read that chief officer Wilde, even as far as in April 1912, was still depressed about the loss of his beloved wife ("...all work down here. I am just about tired of it, altho it keeps me busy and no time to think.", "I have to go... I have been so busy and unsettled.").

I hope this might gives a bit more insight on the matter.



Yours sincerely,

Thomas
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Hello Mr. Brannigan,

In January 1911, less than a month after the passing of his wife Mary “Pollie” Catherine and his twin sons Archie and Richard and just before he underwent further Royal Navy training, chief officer Wilde altered his last will and testament to ensure that his children were cared for in the event of his death. The most poignant sentences in Henry his will undoubtedly was:
"I appoint my sister in law Mrs Annie Jones Williams to act with my trustees as the Guardian of my children during their minority and to be consulted by my trustees as to the education and advancement in life of my children until the youngest child attains the age of twenty one years..."
From his few last letters one can read that chief officer Wilde, even as far as in April 1912, was still depressed about the loss of his beloved wife ("...all work down here. I am just about tired of it, altho it keeps me busy and no time to think.", "I have to go... I have been so busy and unsettled.").

I hope this might gives a bit more insight on the matter.



Yours sincerely,

Thomas
Hi Thomas,

Please call me Sam

You may well be right about his state of mind but it's difficult to be certain. For instance, when he referred to being so "busy and unsettled" I suspect that refers to his professional life rather than his feelings.

The change in his will seems to be a prudent, practical arrangement given his family's tragic new circumstances. Once his wife died it was important his wishes were put in place legally in case he too had an untimely death. I would do exactly the same thing in his position as a matter of sensible precaution.

His last letter from the Titanic to his daughter Jenny is full of love, affection and thoughts of the near-future.

However, who knows what may have been triggered in his mind during the extreme stress of the last few moments when it was "every man for himself"? Discharged of his duty, horror all around, hopelessness, the promise of a quick death rather than drowning or freezing; perhaps a sense of the officer's honour instilled while with the RNR? All of these could also apply to Murdoch.

If Wilde or Murdoch did commit suicide it is further, graphic testament to how terrifying the sinking was.
 

Thomas Krom

Member
Hello Sam,

You may well be right about his state of mind but it's difficult to be certain. For instance, when he referred to being so "busy and unsettled" I suspect that refers to his professional life rather than his feelings.
It could be possible that chief officer Wilde was referring to his occupation as a ship's officer with that statement. However, we sadly cannot be absolutely certain about that. I consider myself blessed to have never had someone close to me pass away rather suddenly, for as the moment. However I am suffering from a rather severe depression after my beloved ex-girlfriend, Kate Powell, disappeared without a trace in July 2021. Kate and I met on this forum back in May 2020. I can't imagine how painful it must have been for a kind and gentle family-man like Wilde to lose his wife rather suddenly with whom he was married for 13 years, if one considers the pain and loss I feel for the disappearance of the disappearance of the most wonderful lady I love the most (There hasn’t been a sign of life from her since the 23rd of July) I believe the pain Wilde experienced can destroy a man as well. Currently I cannot describe in words how much I miss Kate in my life since I still consider her the kindest, brightest, sweetest and most wonderful person to ever have been in my life. If she somehow reads this I hope she knows that my door is always open for her and that I will welcome her back in my life with the warmest hug possible since .

According the “Portrush letter” it is stated that: “I have heard him (Wilde) say he didn't care particularly how he went or how soon he joined her.” The letter has one claim regarding Wilde that is false, which is the claim that he was last seen on the bridge by second officer Lightoller while smoking a cigarette (Lightoller however never stated this himself and even said "The last I remember seeing of Mr. Wilde was quite a long time before the ship went down.").
The change in his will seems to be a prudent, practical arrangement given his family's tragic new circumstances. Once his wife died it was important his wishes were put in place legally in case he too had an untimely death. I would do exactly the same thing in his position as a matter of sensible precaution.
It is a logical reaction to the passing of someone near and dear to you. When the first husband of my mother (and with that the father of my half-siblings) suddenly passed away in 2013 at the age of 53 my parents did exactly the same as Wilde. It does mean however that if it was a certainty that chief officer Wilde didn't made it out alive he would known that his four children were taken care off.
However, who knows what may have been triggered in his mind during the extreme stress of the last few moments when it was "every man for himself"? Discharged of his duty, horror all around, hopelessness, the promise of a quick death rather than drowning or freezing; perhaps a sense of the officer's honour instilled while with the RNR? All of these could also apply to Murdoch.
I’ve conducted a process of elimination of the different eyewitness accounts regarding the suicide and if one looks at the full picture you come to realize that nearly all the people who witnessed the suicide first hand (such as George Rheims and Eugene Daly) it is noticeable that none of the people ever gave a name to the officer. First officer Murdoch is the most named in the majority of the given accounts, however for practically all of these eyewitness accounts it must be noted that they were either not on the ship at the time or weren’t in the position to witness it. If one studies the lives of both men prior to the disaster(I have written two detailed biographies of the lives of both men from their birthdate to the 10th of April 1912, being 3941 words and 3260 words respectively) you realize that Wilde had a very tragic life from his childhood on (losing both his parents before he was an adult (he even lost his father months before he was born), losing his only brother when he was 28, losing his wife and twin sons in a span of a few weeks) which Murdoch didn’t had (Murdoch his parents were both still alive and he and his wife Ada were happily married).



If one looks at the movements of both men you can also see there are no certain sightings of Wilde after around 2:05, however there are a lot more sightings of first officer Murdoch compared to chief officer Wilde. Colonel Gracie IV and scullion John Collins lastly saw Wilde on the starboard side assisting with the loading of collapsible Engelhardt lifeboat A on deck after it was landed on the deck (with the later even claiming that Wilde, whom he referred to as the “senior mate, the one next to the captain” whom he earlier saw at lifeboat number 16, as the officer who shot himself). Collins even mentioned that Murdoch, whom he referred to as the “Scots officer” and himself were working on collapsible Engelhardt lifeboat A after the shooting when the starboard side of the boat deck started to flood. This story comes from Dr. Vajpey whom got in contact with acquaintances of Collins to whom he told stories of the sinking, however I believe Arun could better tell the story himself.



The suicide of this officer wasn’t seen as something cowardly in the Edwardian era, instead it was seen as a bit noble and even somewhat heroic. If George Rheims his account is accurate it would seem that this officer had experience in Royal Navy, based on the military salute he gave. I believe based on the evidence there is about both the lives of both men and the eyewitness accounts of the suicide, it seems more likely that if the suicide did indeed took place it would seem it was likely Wilde. However, I wouldn’t claim this statement as a fact. We shall never know the truth of the shooting and it most likely shall remain a debatable topic amongst the community.





Yours sincerely,


Thomas


P.S I am sorry if I got a bit personal with my statements in the first paragraph.
 

Seumas

Member
With regard to Harry Wilde (to his family and friends he was Harry, not Henry) suffering from crippling depression, the publication of his letters (he was an articulate man and a prolific letter writer) rather knocked that idea on the head. Sadly they haven't been as widely read in the Titanic community as they should have.

The death of Polly Wilde in 1911 on the back of the death of his two sons likely born premature in 1910, had indeed left him suffering from what we would now call clinical depression. Indeed, he mentions not really trying or paying attention during his RNR spell in 1911 and yet to his surprise still manages to pass his courses with high marks.

However, by 1912 his letters show clear, strong evidence that he was beginning to move on.

He remarks that Polly would want him to get on with his life, and then there were the kids. If there is one thing you take away from reading his letters, Wilde was a fiercely devoted father, he writes of knowing that they needed him and he needed them. He wasn't the kind to abandon them forever.

Before taking up his appointment aboard the Titanic, Wilde wrote to his eldest daughter mentioning that he planned to apply for leave and take them all to North Wales for a family holiday.

Then there was the matter of the career he loved.

Wilde had also been told verbally by the WSL that he would be promoted to captain permanently and take command of the Cufic on the Australian run that year. He was very excited about this. It would have been his first permanent command and second overall, having previously taken been acting captain of the Zeeland for one voyage.

The appointment was of course delayed by the coal strike which was frustrating for him. Nonetheless, with the strike now over and things slowly getting back to normal Wilde would have known that the command of the Cufic was now back on the horizon.

The Cufic was also an ideal command for him, she was based in Liverpool, and he could now see his children more often than when he had to serve aboard the Oceanic or Olympic out of Southampton.

He had even bought a new cap, the WSL regulation cap for a captain no less, a few weeks before sailing aboard the Titanic . This cap is still in the possession of his grandchildren.

The evidence for Harry Wilde being in a depressive stupor and welcoming his death aboard the Titanic is not there. Quite the opposite in fact.

On the subject of the Portrush letter, I'm afraid that I don't take Mr Molony's "knockout evidence" of Murdoch's suicide that seriously, I'm afraid.

Mr Molony is very, very careful not to mention whether the so called "Portrush letter" actually, physically exists today. That is highly suspicious.

A court of law for example would not admit evidence of "he heard about from X who heard it from Y who was told about it by Z who read it in a letter". That's just ridiculous.

Let's see the letter if it truly does exist. Alternatively, file under "dubious".

[Moderator's note: This post and the previous recent ones above have been moved to this thread, which is discussing the supposed officer suicide. JDT]
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Hello Sam,


It could be possible that chief officer Wilde was referring to his occupation as a ship's officer with that statement. However, we sadly cannot be absolutely certain about that. I consider myself blessed to have never had someone close to me pass away rather suddenly, for as the moment. However I am suffering from a rather severe depression after my beloved ex-girlfriend, Kate Powell, disappeared without a trace in July 2021. Kate and I met on this forum back in May 2020. I can't imagine how painful it must have been for a kind and gentle family-man like Wilde to lose his wife rather suddenly with whom he was married for 13 years, if one considers the pain and loss I feel for the disappearance of the disappearance of the most wonderful lady I love the most (There hasn’t been a sign of life from her since the 23rd of July) I believe the pain Wilde experienced can destroy a man as well. Currently I cannot describe in words how much I miss Kate in my life since I still consider her the kindest, brightest, sweetest and most wonderful person to ever have been in my life. If she somehow reads this I hope she knows that my door is always open for her and that I will welcome her back in my life with the warmest hug possible since .

According the “Portrush letter” it is stated that: “I have heard him (Wilde) say he didn't care particularly how he went or how soon he joined her.” The letter has one claim regarding Wilde that is false, which is the claim that he was last seen on the bridge by second officer Lightoller while smoking a cigarette (Lightoller however never stated this himself and even said "The last I remember seeing of Mr. Wilde was quite a long time before the ship went down.").

It is a logical reaction to the passing of someone near and dear to you. When the first husband of my mother (and with that the father of my half-siblings) suddenly passed away in 2013 at the age of 53 my parents did exactly the same as Wilde. It does mean however that if it was a certainty that chief officer Wilde didn't made it out alive he would known that his four children were taken care off.

I’ve conducted a process of elimination of the different eyewitness accounts regarding the suicide and if one looks at the full picture you come to realize that nearly all the people who witnessed the suicide first hand (such as George Rheims and Eugene Daly) it is noticeable that none of the people ever gave a name to the officer. First officer Murdoch is the most named in the majority of the given accounts, however for practically all of these eyewitness accounts it must be noted that they were either not on the ship at the time or weren’t in the position to witness it. If one studies the lives of both men prior to the disaster(I have written two detailed biographies of the lives of both men from their birthdate to the 10th of April 1912, being 3941 words and 3260 words respectively) you realize that Wilde had a very tragic life from his childhood on (losing both his parents before he was an adult (he even lost his father months before he was born), losing his only brother when he was 28, losing his wife and twin sons in a span of a few weeks) which Murdoch didn’t had (Murdoch his parents were both still alive and he and his wife Ada were happily married).



If one looks at the movements of both men you can also see there are no certain sightings of Wilde after around 2:05, however there are a lot more sightings of first officer Murdoch compared to chief officer Wilde. Colonel Gracie IV and scullion John Collins lastly saw Wilde on the starboard side assisting with the loading of collapsible Engelhardt lifeboat A on deck after it was landed on the deck (with the later even claiming that Wilde, whom he referred to as the “senior mate, the one next to the captain” whom he earlier saw at lifeboat number 16, as the officer who shot himself). Collins even mentioned that Murdoch, whom he referred to as the “Scots officer” and himself were working on collapsible Engelhardt lifeboat A after the shooting when the starboard side of the boat deck started to flood. This story comes from Dr. Vajpey whom got in contact with acquaintances of Collins to whom he told stories of the sinking, however I believe Arun could better tell the story himself.



The suicide of this officer wasn’t seen as something cowardly in the Edwardian era, instead it was seen as a bit noble and even somewhat heroic. If George Rheims his account is accurate it would seem that this officer had experience in Royal Navy, based on the military salute he gave. I believe based on the evidence there is about both the lives of both men and the eyewitness accounts of the suicide, it seems more likely that if the suicide did indeed took place it would seem it was likely Wilde. However, I wouldn’t claim this statement as a fact. We shall never know the truth of the shooting and it most likely shall remain a debatable topic amongst the community.





Yours sincerely,


Thomas


P.S I am sorry if I got a bit personal with my statements in the first paragraph.
Apologies for the late response, Thomas. I hope you are feeling better and trust life improves for you with time.

An intriguing post, and it's really difficult to dismiss this incident, especially given Rheims' objective recalling of it. I can also see how RNR experience might instill a sense of military decorum - interesting that Wilde was distracted during his RNR training and may not have caught the military flavour as much as Murdoch, possibly hinting at the latter being more likely to seek a "death with honour"?
 

Arun Vajpey

Member
An intriguing post, and it's really difficult to dismiss this incident, especially given Rheims' objective recalling of it
I accept that there have been too many statements regarding an "officer" shooting himself right towards the end for us to dismiss it outright, but from what I gathered from my own research in the 1990s, it was not Murdoch. Scullion John Collins, who knew Murdoch by sight, was quite certain that the First Officer was still working with others on Collapsible A when the 'wave' knocked the lot overboard. Collins himself, who was trying to reach the lifeboat at the time, was also washed away and a child he was holding (possibly one of Alma Palsson's 4 children) was torn from his grasp and lost. Collins was eventually hauled on-board the overturned Collapsible B.

I first learned about this in 1985 when I met a lady named Alice Braithwaite from London. Her uncle, a man named Woods, was in the same WW1 POW camp in Germany as Collins and apparently, the former scullion discussed his own Titanic survival at length with fellow prisoners. After the war and into the 1930s, Collins and Woods maintained contact and Alice, then a young girl, recalled seeing the former in her uncles' house.

I lost contact with Mrs Braithwaite soon afterwards but managed to track down Collins' own daughter, Mary McKee, in the early 1990s and corresponded with her for a few years; I even spoke to her a few times over the phone. Unfortunately, Mrs McKee was very young when her father died and had minimal interest in the Titanic. Therefore, it took me a lot of effort to extract information from her, most of which came from her older brother living in the US at the time. But the fact that John Collins had clearly seen the 'Scots Officer' meet his end during the final plunge was confirmed by all concerned.

Although I learned about the shooting incident from the same sources, that information was somewhat sketchy and less definite. One thing seemed certain was that it happened a few minutes before Collins' aforementioned incident with the 'wave'. Mrs Braithwaite seemed to recall that Collins felt (which IMO is different from being certain) that the Officer who shot himself was the same one who had stopped him (Collins) from entering Lifeboat #16 earlier after the scullion had assisted with its loading. He was described as the "one next to the Captain", and therefore I assumed that he had been referring to Wilde.

I have a feeling that Titanic researchers Inger Shiel and/or Bill Wormstedt might have more information about this from other sources.

Another person with whom I had contact with in the 1990s was J M Rowe, Quartermaster George Rowe's grand-nephew. Mr Rowe used to live in Woolbrook Meadows, Sidmouth at the time but I did not learn anything about the shooting incident from that source.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

Seumas

Member
Apologies for the late response, Thomas. I hope you are feeling better and trust life improves for you with time.

An intriguing post, and it's really difficult to dismiss this incident, especially given Rheims' objective recalling of it. I can also see how RNR experience might instill a sense of military decorum - interesting that Wilde was distracted during his RNR training and may not have caught the military flavour as much as Murdoch, possibly hinting at the latter being more likely to seek a "death with honour"?
Sorry Sam but you've got the wrong end of the stick.

The Royal Navy were actually highly impressed with Wilde !

Thanks to Dan Parkes, you can even read his RNR file here - Titanic's Officers - Chief Officer Wilde - RNR Documents
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users

Thomas Krom

Member
With regard to Harry Wilde (to his family and friends he was Harry, not Henry) suffering from crippling depression, the publication of his letters (he was an articulate man and a prolific letter writer) rather knocked that idea on the head. Sadly they haven't been as widely read in the Titanic community as they should have.

The death of Polly Wilde in 1911 on the back of the death of his two sons likely born premature in 1910, had indeed left him suffering from what we would now call clinical depression. Indeed, he mentions not really trying or paying attention during his RNR spell in 1911 and yet to his surprise still manages to pass his courses with high marks.

However, by 1912 his letters show clear, strong evidence that he was beginning to move on.

He remarks that Polly would want him to get on with his life, and then there were the kids. If there is one thing you take away from reading his letters, Wilde was a fiercely devoted father, he writes of knowing that they needed him and he needed them. He wasn't the kind to abandon them forever.

Before taking up his appointment aboard the Titanic, Wilde wrote to his eldest daughter mentioning that he planned to apply for leave and take them all to North Wales for a family holiday.

Then there was the matter of the career he loved.

Wilde had also been told verbally by the WSL that he would be promoted to captain permanently and take command of the Cufic on the Australian run that year. He was very excited about this. It would have been his first permanent command and second overall, having previously taken been acting captain of the Zeeland for one voyage.

The appointment was of course delayed by the coal strike which was frustrating for him. Nonetheless, with the strike now over and things slowly getting back to normal Wilde would have known that the command of the Cufic was now back on the horizon.

The Cufic was also an ideal command for him, she was based in Liverpool, and he could now see his children more often than when he had to serve aboard the Oceanic or Olympic out of Southampton.

He had even bought a new cap, the WSL regulation cap for a captain no less, a few weeks before sailing aboard the Titanic . This cap is still in the possession of his grandchildren.

The evidence for Harry Wilde being in a depressive stupor and welcoming his death aboard the Titanic is not there. Quite the opposite in fact.
Hello Seumas,

I am terribly sorry for my late response to your outstanding post.

I would certainly agree that it seems that chief officer Wilde was moving on mentally from the death of his wife and twin sons. However I don't believe this can rule out him as the officer that shot himself. I shall explain my points so here below.
However I am suffering from a rather severe depression after my beloved ex-girlfriend, Kate Powell, disappeared without a trace in July 2021. Kate and I met on this forum back in May 2020. I can't imagine how painful it must have been for a kind and gentle family-man like Wilde to lose his wife rather suddenly with whom he was married for 13 years, if one considers the pain and loss I feel for the disappearance of the disappearance of the most wonderful lady I love the most (There hasn’t been a sign of life from her since the 23rd of July) I believe the pain Wilde experienced can destroy a man as well. Currently I cannot describe in words how much I miss Kate in my life since I still consider her the kindest, brightest, sweetest and most wonderful person to ever have been in my life. If she somehow reads this I hope she knows that my door is always open for her and that I will welcome her back in my life with the warmest hug possible since .
As I mentioned here I am suffering from a serve depression for as the moment of writing this due to the disappearance of my beloved ex-girlfriend Kate Powell on the 23rd of July 2021. Nearly a half year later there still hasn't been a trace of life from her side despite my best efforts to contact him. I try to the best of my ability to move on mentally, however there are a lot of things getting in the way of things.

During this process there seems to be a lot of things that put me back to where I once was, from being removed from research teams of perhaps the largest project that is involved in recreating the Titanic digitally from seeing another lady I like being taken by some other fellow. Despite the disappearance of my beloved ex-girlfriend I never stopped loving her and miss her every second since that awful day in July. I pray to God she is safe and that she is in good health and spirits. I don't know half the time if I should be happy that I am still alive considering that the most wonderful person in life currently disappeared and all I would wish for is to have her back in my life.


Coming back to the topic, imagine that after nearly 1 and a half years you are slowly getting over the passing of your wife and twin sons, having four surviving children at home (however they are being cared of by a child nurse) and having the certainty of being promoted to a captain in the near future, having already brought the uniform since you served as a captain of the Zeeland the year before. Everything under your watch goes smoothly until the ship hit’s an iceberg at 11:40 during the night. During this disaster, where there are various elements against you. Such as:

  • 1 Not enough places in a lifeboat to ensure everyone to be saved.
  • 2 No help is expected to arrive in time.
  • 3 More than a thousand people are guaranteed to remain on-board, it can be assumed panic will break out near the end.
  • 4 With the icebergs nearby the water has a near freezing temperature, people are not expected to survive for long in the water due that.
This disaster has a chance just over 50 percent, on paper that is, that you won't survive the disaster based on these things. You don't know that the real chance is just less than 1/3 that you will survive (32.25%). You bravely prove yourself to be a capable and brave officer with the assisting or even leading the loading of 8 different lifeboats up to that point (lifeboat number 8, 16, 14, 12, 10, 2 and Collapsible Engelhardt lifeboat C and D) and earlier as a precaution you asked for the firearms, to maintain order. You put on a lifebelt on as well. However, now it is near the end of the sinking with the forecastle and forward well deck being submerged. You are assisting your colleagues on the starboard side however than a sudden realization hit’s you:

“The chance that I survive this disaster is quite small considering that I am still on-board the ship with the water coming nearer.”

You realize that after moving on you are put back into a place, a place you never wanted to be in after finally coming back into the light after nearly having lived one and a half year in the dark. There seems to be no time anymore and with the passengers further aft pushing their way forward with force it seems hopeless. To give an example to the other men to let the women through first you fire upon one or two men who pushed their way forward with force, in the hope more woman and children can be brought forward to be placed on the collapsible lifeboat A, which has fallen onto the boat deck. What happens then is pure speculation, since I cannot imagine the stress the killing of another human being can bring. Perhaps he realized that there was a chance that he killed a husband of a woman waiting for her husband at home and/or a father of children, perhaps he realized since the end is near and death was guaranteed he would rather end it quickly with a shot from a bullet instead of freezing to death or perhaps the realization that a shot from a bullet can reunite you faster with your late wife.

I believe that it shall always be a discussed mystery, from the identity of the officer from the time it took place from at which lifeboat it happened. Based on the evidence we have it seems that there is more evidence in favour that first officer Murdoch wasn’t the officer who shot himself then there is evidence that chief officer Wilde wasn’t the officer who shot himself. After 2:05 there are no clear sightings, except for colonel Gracie IV and scullion John Collins, of chief officer Wilde. The last sighting of him on the bridge, in the letter I shall discuss in my next paragraph, seems to be false based on the statement that it came from second officer Lightoller who never mentioned having seen him after the lowering of collapsible Engelhardt lifeboat D. I personally believe that John “Jack” Borland Thayer III his statement here:

"Questions and answers were called around — who was on board, and who was lost, or what they had been seen doing? One call that came around was, “Is the chief aboard?” Whether they meant Mr. Wilde, the chief officer, or the chief engineer, or Capt. Smith, I do not know. I do know that one of the circular life rings from the bridge was there when we got off in the morning. It may be that Capt. Smith was on board with us for a while. Nobody knew where the “Chief ” was."

Doesn’t refer to chief officer Wilde, since all the surviving crewmembers on top of collapsible Engelhardt lifeboat weren’t part of the deck crew, instead they were part of the engine crew (firemen and trimmers) and victualling crew. I personally believe that they could have been referring to either chief engineer Bell, a leading fireman that was with the group that didn’t make it, chief steward Latimer or perhaps third class chief steward Kieran.
On the subject of the Portrush letter, I'm afraid that I don't take Mr Molony's "knockout evidence" of Murdoch's suicide that seriously, I'm afraid.

Mr Molony is very, very careful not to mention whether the so called "Portrush letter" actually, physically exists today. That is highly suspicious.

A court of law for example would not admit evidence of "he heard about from X who heard it from Y who was told about it by Z who read it in a letter". That's just ridiculous.

Let's see the letter if it truly does exist. Alternatively, file under "dubious".
Regarding Senan Molony I have very few mixed views as a historian. In the Titanic community he claimed some things that were damaging to say the least. Such as the sensationalizing the coal fire he started after the pictures taken by John W Kempster (who was the managing director of the electrical works at Harland and Wolff) were discovered from the "Abandoning the Titanic" affair last year. Regarding his views on first officer Murdoch shooting himself I haven't heard much, except that he believes that Murdoch shot his revolver, where he states that he accidentally shot someone's jar off. However, despite that evidence he refers to it appears that none of them describe Murdoch shooting himself, only that he shot someone else.


I hope you are doing well.


Kind regards,


Thomas
 

Thomas Krom

Member
Hello Sam,
Apologies for the late response, Thomas. I hope you are feeling better and trust life improves for you with time.
Nevermind that, we all have our private lives after all. Currently I am not feeling much better, despite my best efforts to improve my life again the last few months. I hope you are doing well however.
An intriguing post, and it's really difficult to dismiss this incident, especially given Rheims' objective recalling of it. I can also see how RNR experience might instill a sense of military decorum - interesting that Wilde was distracted during his RNR training and may not have caught the military flavour as much as Murdoch, possibly hinting at the latter being more likely to seek a "death with honour"?
As Seumas points out, despite the pain he was feeling, it wasn't the case that the Royal Navy Reserve was displeased with Wilde. However, despite that it is possible that he wanted to die with honour and grace, hence the salute. Out of the senior officer's Wilde had the most experience with the Royal Navy.
 
Top