Dumb Question about Murdoch


Holly Peterson

I think I'm going insane here. Was it Quartermaster Robert Hichens who steered the Titanic into the iceberg or was it 1st officer Murdoch? Now I'm not trying to criticize either man for their actions, I just want to figure out who happened to be the unfortunate man at the wheel during the collision. I always thought it was Hichens, but I was just reading some thread and it said that, during the 1997 movie, Murdoch was the one at the wheel! Is that an innacurate statement or am I just going crazy? I know that, if I call myself a Titanic buff, I should know the answer to this question, but I just can't remember!

Bob Godfrey

Nov 22, 2002
The QM turns the wheel, but only according to precise orders received from the watch officer. He is allowed no initiative. He can't even see out of the wheelhouse and has no idea what's going on beyond his immediate work station. You can think of Hichens as just another link in the chain of gears and shafts that ultimately cause the rudder to turn. Steering the ship is the responsibility of the man making the decisions and issuing the orders, and on the occasion in question that was Murdoch.

Holly Peterson

Thanks, Bob, for clarifying that for me.

Have a nice day

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