J Burdette

Member
Dec 30, 2011
96
3
46
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

Member
Apr 28, 2003
1,194
11
233
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
58,614
688
483
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
2,558
1,017
248
Germany
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

Member
Dec 31, 2005
579
6
111
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

Member
Dec 30, 2011
96
3
46
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

Member
Apr 28, 2003
1,194
11
233
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.
 

Adam Went

Member
Apr 28, 2003
1,194
11
233
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.
 

Aly Jones

Member
Dec 15, 2019
407
60
63
Australia
Officer wilde didn't even like Titanic and he actually wanted to stay on the Olympic.

I've read officer Blair left in a puff, so maybe it were between widle and Blair?
 

Tim Gerard

Member
Feb 26, 2019
155
75
73
I do remember reading somewhere, I honestly can't remember where or how long ago, that when Wilde and Lightoller were starting to prep the forward port lifeboats, Lightoller went over Wilde's head to Captain Smith twice. The first time, Wilde wanted to have the boats uncovered but not swung out. The second time, Wilde was reluctant to begin loading passengers into the boats. Both times, since Wilde didn't give Lightoller the permission he wanted, he went directly to Captain Smith who did.

If I can find where I read that I can make another post with the source but so far I'm not having any luck as it was several years ago. Maybe someone else knows what I'm talking about and knows if what I'm saying is true or not.
 

Aly Jones

Member
Dec 15, 2019
407
60
63
Australia
I don't think lightoller went over Wilde's head on purpose. Lightoller had been shipwrecked accountless of times before hand and knew how important it was to take action immediately.

During the 4 day, 4 night voyage, Before hitting the berg, there was no testomonies on lightoller not respecting his officer seniors.

OK. He could be a little upset being bumbed but they're professional seamen in charge of an ocean liner. You leave your problems on shore.
 

Tim Gerard

Member
Feb 26, 2019
155
75
73
That's right, thanks for reminding me yla, I forgot that Lightoller had previous experience with being shipwrecked. I admit to not knowing much about Wilde other than what everyone else knows about him being moved over from the Olympic and the shuffling around of Murdoch, Lightoller, and David Blair. I think it was the corporate White Star offices who did all that if I'm not wrong so it wouldn't make sense to be upset at Wilde for a decision from corporate.

A little off topic, but still having to do with crew animosity, having watched "Saving the Titanic" I do wonder how much truth there was to the scene where the guys are eating and Paddy Dillon gets into a fight with a leading fireman that Barrett ends up breaking up before Bell comes in and assigns Barrett to work a double shift thinking he was the one fighting. I can't find anything in any testimony so far to back that up as fact.
 

Aly Jones

Member
Dec 15, 2019
407
60
63
Australia
Hi gerard,

I don't know really anything, you know more than I do. I come here because there is so many people with so much knowledge.
However, just recently i watched lightollers testomonies videos and that's where I've found out lightoller was shipwrecked so many times before titanic.

In regards to the lower crews - strokers, trimmers, firemen having a punched on, I wouldn't know. If there were to be a tiff among the crew I would say the lower crews more so than the officers.
I would differently want to know more on that.

Is save the Titanic a movie or docomentry?

I would say docomentry would be more of a resourced than a movie.
 

Tim Gerard

Member
Feb 26, 2019
155
75
73
Docu-drama is probably the best way to describe Saving the Titanic, it's about the men in the boiler rooms and engine room, such as fireman Fred Barrett and Chief Engineer Joseph Bell, a little about what life was like on board during the voyage, but mainly their fight to keep the lights on and to try to pump out water that was flooding in after they hit the iceberg.
 

Scott Mills

Member
Jul 10, 2008
670
87
133
43
Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
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.

And wasn't his 'demotion' only for the Maiden Voyage? I feel its highly unlikely that Murdoch would feel that put out about being made First Officer rather than XO for a single trip to New York and back.
 

Scott Mills

Member
Jul 10, 2008
670
87
133
43
Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Right; and while I suppose you can never know for certain (some people do have strange anger issues), it seems exceedingly unlikely that Murdoch would have had some sort of animosity for being 'demoted,' knowing that it was going to be just for the maiden west and east bound crossings, after which he would have resumed the position of Titanic's executive officer.

On top of that, the motivations for the demotion were really Wilde's experience on Olympic. This makes Murdoch's last minute replacement for the first voyage seem totally reasonable.
 

Similar threads

Similar threads