Did Murdoch shoot himself?


Tad G. Fitch

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Dec 31, 2005
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Michael and Bob make good points. The problem is, in many cases we can say with a fair degree of certainty who *did* have a firearm, but we cannot say for certain who *did not*. I believe that there is a fair amount of evidence to suggest that some sort of incident probably did occur, but given the vagaries of the evidence, and the lack of reliable accounts, it is extremely difficult to know all of the details, or know for certain who exactly would have been involved. There are some more credible accounts to be sure, mainly from private accounts, in one case testimony, etc., but the unreliable and false accounts in the papers of the day only muddled the picture further.
Kind regards,
Tad Fitch
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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This matter was looked into by one of the foremost Murdoch researchers - a lady based in the UK, Brigitte.

After investigating possibilities such as a bigamous marriage, she has established that the man in question was *a* William Murdoch, but not *the* William Murdoch of the Titanic. As I recollect how the matter was related to me, while there were some interesting coincidences in terms of time-frames etc for the marriage, the story of him being William McMaster Murdoch seems to have been told to the children after the man in question abandoned his family.

William Murdoch was not an overly uncommon name - there was also, of course, a William Murdock on the Titanic along with the more famous William McMaster Murdoch.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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Inger, I recently found myself in a locomotive scrapyard (funny the places one can wake up after a hard night), and spotted a rusting hulk with the nameplate William Murdoch. Could it be, I thought. But no, after fruitlessly searching for more iron horses called Smith or Lightoller, I realised that the Will Murdoch immortalised in steel was the 18th Century railway pioneer.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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I knew you'd understand, Ing!
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There are rumours, by the way, that Murdoch the steam pioneer has been reincarnated and is now promoting the internal combustion engine.

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Feb 21, 2003
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Although I don't have a picture of him, I can tell you right now, that my Uncle Gary (with his mustache) bares a striking resemblance our beloved Titanic's Chief/First Officer William McMaster Murdoch.

When I first met my uncle-in-law, I had to give him a double take. Infact, he, like Will, possesses a great love for the sea...for which he has his own boat. My Auntie and I believe that he could very well be Will's reincarnated sweet self.
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Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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I say - that *is* eerie. A cravat and sideburns and you'd have the very model of a pioneering Scots engineer.

I think Eamon de Valera is another one who knows what it is to see visions upon waking around train parts. Commandant Dev fell asleep in a railyard during the Easter Rising, and on opening his eyes saw cherubs floating before him. He thought it was a celestial vision, only to come fully to himself and realise he'd fallen asleep in the royal carriage. One that he was to use later as President.

I've never seen anything quite as beatific as cherubim and seraphim under those circumstances, I must say...
 
J

Janicole

Guest
OK, this probably comes out of left field, but when I've been on a ship at night I've noticed that it's really dark unless you're in the light of out of the outdoor lights and maybe even one of the windows. Is it possible that the Titanic could've been too dim to see who the Officers where unless you really knew them? I mean I heard that the officers were mistaken for other officers all the time that night by passengers. I read in a number of different places about a boy about 8 or 9 (I can't remember which) that was rescued and told Captain Rostron that he saw the Captain "put a gun to his head and fall down" is it possible he couldn't mistook the Captain for another officer? I'm not saying it was Murdoch because I'm personally one of the few people that just doesn't believe he did it, but here's a question. Has anyone questioned that it might've been Moody? I mean the 5th, 4th, & 3rd officers got into a lifeboat, but not the 6th? Isn't that a little strange? and I know he wasn't handed a gun but if I remember correctly there was another officer with a gun with wasn't handed one, that had one of his own. Could Moody have possibly had one of his own as well? I'm just saying, it's not fair to Murdoch's memory or his relatives to just assume it was him when we really don't know and probably never will and ESPECIALLY if every suspect (or officer) hasn't been looked at. It could've been Wilde, it could've been Captain Smith, and it could have been Murdoch, but it also could've been Moody. None of the passengers stepped up and said they knew for sure except a little boy.
 
Dec 5, 2008
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Hi, Janicole.

I think you will find that this has been discussed in a very great amount of detail, multiple times and in multiple topics on this forum. All the officers (and then some) have been analyzed in great detail to the possibility of being the infamous suicide victim, and there were in fact dozens of witnesses who stepped up claiming they saw which officer committed suicide (hence where all of the rumours and confusion started).

I suggest you go more thoroughly this forum and then you will find a great deal of your questions answered. There are an incredible amount of posts to read, yes, but the information you gain from them (particularly if you, as you claim to be, are attempting to write a book on Titanic) are invaluable in pointing you in the right direction.

Don't be afraid to just look around for a little while and get all your information gathered before posting; it will give you much more valuable knowledge and clue you into things that perhaps have not been discussed. You seem to have a very inquisitive mind; don't waste it on basic questions that have been answered a billion times. I guarantee you the information already discussed on the forums will be in a thousand times greater detail than you will get in your answers here.

If your interested in William Murdoch and the suicide theory, I suggest you read through this website thoroughly.

http://home.comcast.net/~bwormst/titanic/shots/shots.htm

It contains a great deal of information on the matter and attempts to unravel and dispel of much of the false information circulating.

As for the rest of your post, first off and in regards to the officer who had his own gun, that would be 5th Officer Harold Lowe, who required it later on in the sinking to hold back the rioting crowd.

Second, as for whether or not James Moody was indeed the Officer who committed suicide, in my opinion (and I believe the majority of ET's) - of all of the dead officers, he was the least likely to have taken his life.

While he did have a personal firearm at at least some point in his sailing career (a gift from his brother in law, I believe, but don't quote me on it), he claimed in a letter that he was intending to sell it for something useful, so there is a possibility that may or may not have had a personal firearm on board at the time of the sinking.

As for the reason why Moody was not in a boat, he simply did not have the chance. There was a brief discussion with Officer Lowe over whom should man the lifeboat they were working on (# 14), and Moody declined the offer, instead offering it to the older a man (something somewhat unusual, as by typical standards it would have been the more junior officers' task, thereby giving the younger man the chance to survive). According to Lowe, Moody claimed that he would simply follow in the next boat (# 16), but for unknown reasons (perhaps overcrowding, a need for able bodied sea men on board or simply straight-faced courage) he did not.

And other than the fact that he was the only Officer who had NOT been directly mentioned in a witness statement as the one to take his life, he would have also have had no motivation (such as guilt) to do such a thing - other than that of the obvious. Fear.

And frankly, I don't think it's fair that ANY of the Officers' memories are tarnished with this (possibly false) information, however, unless more information is brought to light (which I doubt), no one will ever be sure of anything with regards to the suicide, and Murdoch will remain in many minds as the most likely candidate.

It's not particularly fair, but unfortunately, it's life.

Anywhoo,

Best regards!

Kat
 

Mark Baber

Moderator
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Dec 29, 2000
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All the officers ... have been analyzed in great detail to the possibility of being the infamous suicide victim

Lightoller, Pitman, Boxhall and Lowe have pretty much been ruled out, though.

;-)
 
May 27, 2007
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Hi folks,
I think somebody shot themselves but I don't know who because there isn't smoke without fire and there was a lot of rumors going around but I wouldn't want to say who! Wild sticks out in my mind but only because Walter Lord make such a case for it in his book TNLO. But it was only a theory and I think he stated that it was such!
 
Dec 6, 2000
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George,

Without more testimonies or accounts, we cannot prove anything in this respect. We cannot prove ANYONE got shot. If someone was shot, we cannot prove it was Murdoch. We can only make educated guesses based on what we do know.

And in this situation, it is very unlikely anyone will find anything on the sea floor to show us anything, either.
 
May 1, 2004
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I think, like George, 'no smoke without fire'. Several people, not just a young boy, said that a man shot himself in the head. No one knows who the man was, and even if it was an officer, all the officers who people saw did their duty until they could do no more. If one decided a quick death was better than a lingering one, I respect his decision.
As for Captain Smith, he was easily recognized, with his full white beard. If the boy knew him by sight ...
If not, then probably not.
After all small boys and large adults will say anything for attention.
 
May 27, 2007
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Hi Bill and Marilyn,

Well I still think one of the officers shot themselves but the Passengers for the most part didn't know who was who, meaning they didn't know the name of these ship's officers! Like you Marilyn, I really don't blame the Officer or man who shot himself because he probably knew the horror that a death at sea entailed!
 
Dec 5, 2008
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Hi, George! :D *waves*

I also believe that someone shot themselves that night (and I also cannot blame them for it), but personally, I do not believe Wilde did it.

I base that simply on the fact that I cannot believe that any father who had four very young children who would be orphaned without him (not a good thing to be at the time!) would not at least give survival a go. I'm sure you (as a single father) would do everything you could to get back to your own young child.

Hence why "Wilde = Suicide" just never added up for me.
 
May 27, 2007
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Howdy, Kat!!! "Waves back!" XD

This is so! I forgot Wild had young children at home and Murdoch had a Wife! You make a good point!

Actually it might not of been an officer at all! It could of been someone from the purser's department! As I said in a earlier post a lot of the passengers didn't know who was who! They really didn't know these Ship Officers by name!
 

Kevin Tischer

Member
Dec 24, 2011
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I for one refuse to believe that Murdoch had shot himself. i have always seen him as a hero and that he died trying to free the collapsible when the final plunge began. Lightoller states that he knew someone that did shoot themselves but would not say who. If anyone did do it, and I'm sure someone had, it was Wilde. There was also a letter signed by all surviving officers sent to Murdoch's wife saying he didn't kill himself. It's unfortunate that Lightoller didn't say who shot himself, but I do understand how he wanted to protect his shipmate's too. Perhaps Lightoller never said because it really was Murdoch and he didn't want to go against what he previously had said. But I refuse to believe it.

[Moderator's note: Two vulgarities contained in this message as originally posted have been changed. Since they may have been typos, no further action will be taken, but any further messages with similar content will be removed, not changed. MAB]
 
C

Caroline Mendes Ferreira

Guest
William Murdoch What happened to him?

Many no mystery surrounding the official Murdoch, afirman because he committed suicide. Bad he was seen for the last time when attempting to launch folding, now many passengers said they saw Murdoch actually committing Suicide.
The passenger testified that Archibald Gracie Murdoch in an attempt to launch a foldable deck falls. Harold Bride Murdoch also said he saw the water with officer James Paul Moody. Bad already dead Murdoch was grabbed in a chair dead from hypothermia.
In my opinion I can not say that the officer committed suicide Murdoch because there are several mysteries. In the film James Cameron shows that Murdoch before killing himself shot two passengers, I think in this case he would not have the guts to kill anyone. What do you think really happened to the officer?

[Moderator's note: This message was originally a new thread. MAB]