Murdoch-Wilde Animosity


J Burdette

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Dec 30, 2011
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I was reading a book entitled "Great Ship Disasters" when I came to a section on the Titanic. It says there was "bitterness" between Henry Wilde and William "Murdock" (sic) due to the officer reshuffle, when Murdoch was knocked down a rank. Really? I know Lightoller appeared to have gone over Wilde's head regarding loading the lifeboats, or at least I think he did, but Murdoch? Is there any truth to this?
 

Adam Went

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Apr 28, 2003
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It's possible, i've heard that there was animosity between a few of the crew as well. The Titanic is just like any other workplace, there's bound to be some individuals on board who just, for whatever reason, don't like each other. If there really was a rift on board between those men then surely it would have been at least partially because of rank though.

Cheers,
Adam.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
I've heard this one being kicked around in some on-line forums but I'm not aware of any primary source evidence which supports this. It's not impossible...these were human beings after all...but I would like to see much better evidence for it then a claim in a book and on line speculation.
 
Mar 18, 2008
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I don't think there was any "bitterness". In his letter to his sister on 8th April there is no mention that he is angry about it or that he disliked Wilde. (Wilde and Murdoch were shipmates on Olympic so if there had been any problems between them he sure would have mentioned that in one of his letters.)
Regarding Lightoller vs. Wilde. Lightoller is very quick by placing something "bad" to other people. In many cases about what he said he did or did not do on board Titanic, he is contradicted by other crew members or even passengers.
 

Tad G. Fitch

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Dec 31, 2005
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This is one of those tales that never die, and keeps getting repeated over time. No contemporary documents or eyewitness statements support Wilde and Murdoch having animosity towards each other due to the officer rank switch just prior to the voyage. While Lightoller felt the switch wasn't ideal, I think people are reading way too much into his thoughts of the switch as written in his book, and this tale has perpetuated itself since then.

Kind regards,
Tad
 

J Burdette

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Dec 30, 2011
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Tad,

Even for me as an amateur, this seemed unlikely. But I just wanted to hear everyone else's opinion.
 

J Burdette

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Dec 30, 2011
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Michael,

It's an older book and I don't know that it's too reliable. But I tend to read every book on maritime subject I can get ahold of.

Pardon my separate replies. I hadn't thought of putting them into one until the last minute.
 

Adam Went

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Apr 28, 2003
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I should add that often you'll get hearsay and false reports published as fact in compilation style books such as the one this story came from. I cannot say this is definitely the case here as I have not seen or read the book to the best of my memory, but judging from previous experience of similar compilation books on a variety of subjects, it is quite possible that it's been more "thrown together" than thoroughly checked out.

Cheers,
Adam.
 

J Burdette

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Dec 30, 2011
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Adam,

That's one of the first things that came to mind. It's too bad that these 'facts' get around.
 

Adam Went

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Apr 28, 2003
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J:

It is a shame, compilation books are just an easy way to cover a variety of bases without necessarily being too thorough with all the facts. When I made that post I was referring in particular to one old Readers Digest compilation called "Strange Stories, Amazing Facts" which you may have heard of....basically covering numerous odd phenomenons and mysteries. While it's a good compilation covering most of the weird and unexplained events throughout history, it is also extremely error riddled. There's a section on the Titanic in there and it too is filled with misinformation. That's just an example of one book.

It's a good lesson for newbies to the field, actually: don't let your first factual book about the Titanic be part of a compilation series!

Cheers,
Adam.