Whom would you choose to be or emulate?

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James Murdoch

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Thank you for commending me, my friend. The last sighting was seen by engineers mess steward Cecil William Fitzpatrick who reported in his newspaper interview upon his arrival in Plymouth that he saw both captain Smith and Thomas Andrews Jr pass him on the starboard side when Fitzpatrick was working on collapsible Engelhardt A (unlike some who claimed they jumped overboard together from the port side bridge wing) and when he looked again they were gone (captain Smith was seen on the starboard side by first class saloon steward Edward Brown around this time too, and Brown described captain Smith went back to the bridge alone after he said to the crewmembers there: "Well, boys, do your best for the women and children, and look out for yourselves."). Thomas Andrews Jr disappeared aft into the crowd of hundreds of people.
Hi again Thomas, hope you are well

Indeed I agree with pretty much all you have written. I believe Andrews was sighted in the A deck aft smoking room, but it was at a much earlier time than previously postulated. The main source was Steward John Stewart, who left in #15, lowered around 1.40am. As you say Cecil Fitzpatrick's account places him in the vicinity of the bridge. I have read somewhere that up until the last he was hurling deckchairs, bits of tables, anything with buoyancy really into the water to help the people.
Others saw him a few minutes before the end on the boar (sic) deck, our final and grandest sight of him, throwing deck chairs overboard to the unfortunates struggling in the water below. (Libby Hearld, 17 Jan 1913)
I am unsure as to the veracity of the following source and will try to find it, but there was a story (when isn't there with Titanic!) that he and Smith were standing on the starboard side of the bridge and Andrews remarked "There's no point staying any longer, she's going to go now" and they jumped into the ocean. Harold Bride did actually state that Smith jumped into the ocean, but no mention of Andrews.

There's even a fantastical account of Captain Smith swimming over with a baby to a boat, refusing to get on, and swimming back to his ship. It's not an account I believe, mainly due to the lack of a primary source corroborating it-in fact, I had a look in my browser history and can't even find where I read it! I really should do as Arun suggested and keep detailed notes when I find something of interest.

I would like to go down like Wilde, done his duty with the boats then simply thought to hell with it and casually smoked his last cigarette. In seriousness, the gravity of the situation had likely gripped him by then and I think his body had just frozen in a state of panic.

All the best to you Thomas,

James
 
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Thomas Krom

Thomas Krom

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Hello James,
I am unsure as to the veracity of the following source and will try to find it, but there was a story (when isn't there with Titanic!) that he and Smith were standing on the starboard side of the bridge and Andrews remarked "There's no point staying any longer, she's going to go now" and they jumped into the ocean. Harold Bride did actually state that Smith jumped into the ocean, but no mention of Andrews.
The story from a letter letter written to Lord William Pirrie, who was of-course Thomas Andrews Jr his uncle and the ruling chairman of Harland and Wolff since 1906, from David Galloway, who interviewed returning crewmembers from the SS Lapland in Plymouth. The letter mentions as followed:
"Near the end, a young mess-boy saw Andrews and Captain Smith on the bridge; the mess-boy said he saw both Andrews and captain Smith put on lifebelts, and heard Smith tell Andrews, 'It's no use waiting any longer.' The boy also recalled that when the bridge became awash with water, both Smith and Andrews entered the water."
For over the last few years I have disagreed intensively with the conclusion made by the writers from On A Sea Of Glass. There is no mention of them jumping overboard together, except that they entered the water together. Considering there was a heavy port list at the time I believe it doesn't refer to them jumping overboard, but them standing in the water that flooded the bridge. It also contradicts Fitzpatrick his newspaper account who stated he went to collapsible Engelhardt lifeboat A. Both men separated ways on the starboard side, captain Smith went back to the bridge (as recalled by first class saloon steward Edward Brown) and he jumped overboard alone from the port side.
I would like to go down like Wilde, done his duty with the boats then simply thought to hell with it and casually smoked his last cigarette.
That story is false. In the "Portrush" letter it came second officer Lightoller, who mentioned seeing chief officer Wilde quite a long time before the ship went down. So this story is sadly false. One of the last sightings I manage to find was him assisting first officer Murdoch and sixth officer Moody on the starboard side by colonel Gracie.
 
Seumas

Seumas

Member
That story is false. In the "Portrush" letter it came second officer Lightoller, who mentioned seeing chief officer Wilde quite a long time before the ship went down. So this story is sadly false. One of the last sightings I manage to find was him assisting first officer Murdoch and sixth officer Moody on the starboard side by colonel Gracie.
I've posted before that I have major doubts that this so called "Portrush letter" even existed in the first place.

For one thing, Mr Moloney, it's main proponent, never actually says in the article whether the physical letter is still extant. The whole thing seems to be based on "X heard it from Y who was told it by Z who received the letter". Any professional historian would wince at the idea of accepting such evidence.
 
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James Murdoch

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The account I got from the surviving officers, I am sure, is as near the truth as will ever be known....Mr Wilde, the Chief Officer, and Mr Murdock, the first mate, were splendid types of men, and old Captain Smith was beloved by everyone...I can only say that the Titanic crew were the pick of the White Star Line.

“The last seen of Mr Wilde he was smoking a cigarette on the bridge. I expect he was hoping the water wouldn’t put it out before he finished it. His wife died about sixteen months ago, and I have heard him say he didn’t care particularly how he went or how soon he joined her. He leaves three children. He would have been Captain of the Cymric two trips ago, only the coal strike and the tying up of some of the ships altered the company’s plans." ("The Portrush Letter" by Senan Molony)

Has Senan ever commented as to actually having physically handled the letter? Or is the conclusion one of that the letter did exist, but is now lost. Or that the letter, and its content, was entirely made up? Did someone write it, but it was based on what X told Y told Z and pure speculation? Sorry but I am a bit confused by this.
 
Seumas

Seumas

Member
The account I got from the surviving officers, I am sure, is as near the truth as will ever be known....Mr Wilde, the Chief Officer, and Mr Murdock, the first mate, were splendid types of men, and old Captain Smith was beloved by everyone...I can only say that the Titanic crew were the pick of the White Star Line.

“The last seen of Mr Wilde he was smoking a cigarette on the bridge. I expect he was hoping the water wouldn’t put it out before he finished it. His wife died about sixteen months ago, and I have heard him say he didn’t care particularly how he went or how soon he joined her. He leaves three children. He would have been Captain of the Cymric two trips ago, only the coal strike and the tying up of some of the ships altered the company’s plans." ("The Portrush Letter" by Senan Molony)

Has Senan ever commented as to actually having physically handled the letter? Or is the conclusion one of that the letter did exist, but is now lost. Or that the letter, and its content, was entirely made up? Did someone write it, but it was based on what X told Y told Z and pure speculation? Sorry but I am a bit confused by this.
The original alleged recipient of the "Portush letter" definitely knew Murdoch and Lightoller and there is even a picture of them all together. That's all it had going for it.

The alleged letter was supposedly from Lightoller to this old shipmate of theirs, and Lightoller allegedly wrote that Murdoch shot and wounded (but did not kill) a panicking firemen or trimmer.

Interesting. However .....
  • Mr Molony (who even his many friends must admit has some previous form for highly selective use of evidence) carefully avoids saying whether the physical letter exists today or if a copy exists. That's not good enough. Already, we have a perfectly legitimate question mark over whether it existed in the first place.
  • Lightoller is not known to have ever written or spoken such a thing (witnessing Murdoch shoot someone) to anyone else. Not even his wife, who he seems to have spoken with a lot about the disaster with.
  • An "X told by Y who knew Z the original recipient" is terrible grounds for "evidence". Professional historians do not use such flimsy sources. If we care about the truth here, we have to use the same methods as the professionals.
  • Just supposing the letter did once exist but was unfortunately lost or destroyed. How do we know that a "Chinese whispers" effect did not take place between the alleged recipient and the others in this human chain of evidence ? We don't. It's perfectly possible that the middle man juiced up the story or misremembered.
I'm sorry but unless this mythical "letter" can actually be produced it's unacceptable evidence and it's very existence open to question.

Shooting's on the deck near the end is something I'm open minded about. There's no smoke without fire, not all those witnesses could be lying. But this so called "evidence" above just will not do.

I also find it very hard to believe that Harry Wilde who by all accounts was "by the book" sort of professional would have just knocked off for a smoke whilst Murdoch, Lightoller and their men were frantically trying to get those two collapsibles into action.
 
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Gordon Mooneyhan

Gordon Mooneyhan

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Ok, my point (which seems to have been missed when I name a specific person) is to die like a man after having done all I could to help others survive the disaster. Fill in whatever name you want, I hope I've made myself clear now.
 
M.A.S.

M.A.S.

3rd class
Member
Not to "re-incarnate," but simply reminisce and dress-up:
I think I'd choose the surviving stewardess, Violet Jessop! :)
 
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