William M Murdoch What Happened


Dec 2, 2000
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I think "We'll never know for sure." sums it up nicely, and the question that goes begging is whether anybody shot anybody at all...him/herself or otherwise. There was a lot going on at the end...panic taking hold, the ship in her death throes and breaking up, people trying to get the last two collapsibles away...quite a bit indeed, and in all that, I seriously doubt that any officer or crewman would have given it any thought. With a crisis upon them and a job to do, they had other things on their minds.

As has been pointed out, a lot of things can sound like gunshots...cables and stays breaking for example, and if so much as one cable broke that supported the stack, even being grazed by the backlash can be both sloppy and fatal. No fantasy or speculation here as it still happens. I've seen ropes breaking when an aircraft carrier was being drydocked and the noise sounded exactly like a gun going off. Fortunately, the rope was made of kevelar, so there was little springback. Had it been otherwise, I number of people along that drydock would have been seriously injured or killed.

Befor we speculate on who committed suicide, I think it would be wise to question seriously if anybody did in the first place. Given the tension people were under, the eyewitnesses who survived would not neccesserily be in a position to judge, and even a trained observer would likely have seen only part of the story. They might see the effect without knowing the cause.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
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Cassandra Crowther

Guest
True, if an officer ended up lying on the deck, anything might have put him there, and not necessarily a bullet. Being struck by something, including a snapped funnel-stay, for example.

When the lines to NEW YORK snapped, I understand that the sound was like that of gunshots. So, anything could have done in Murdoch( or anyone else, for that matter).
 
Dec 12, 1999
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During the Senate hearings, the New York Times reported that a young woman forced her way into the committee room, looking for First Officer Murdoch. It states: "Nobody had the courage to tell her that he had perished, and she went to Chairman Smith with that question. She was referred to Second Officer Lightoller, who took her to one side and told her the story. The woman sobbed convulsively and presently walked slowly out of the room."

Does anyone know if this is true? Who was the woman?
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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This has been discussed among Murdoch researchers for years, with no definite conclusion having been reached. As you can imagine, the appearance of a young woman conducting herself in this manner has led to considerable speculation and conjecture.

Murdoch, however, was a sociable individual who seems to have had a circle of friends in foreign ports - whether she was family, a friend, or something else we do not know. There is a possibility that she was someone who fixated on him during his WSL career - the officers had followers, whose attention was not always welcome (even quiet, taciturn Boxhall had a few of these, up to the 1920s, some of them very socially prominant), or she might have been a publicity seeker who selected the first officer because of his prominance in the wake of the disaster. I've heard one possible candidate named, but there is no direct evidence that she was the woman in question.
 
Dec 12, 1999
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I suppose the woman could have been someone who had been aboard the Titanic, as well. That's interesting that the officers had followers. I watched the video of "The Chambermaid On The Titanic." They kept showing scenes of the Titanic, quite aside from the Chambermaid herself, like it had some kind of sex appeal. It seemed silly. But apparently, the ship and its officers did have such appeal.
 

Inger Sheil

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Perhaps it's the thrawted artist in me, but I can understand the sensuality (if not overt sexuality) of inanimate objects. I might not find the Titanic 'sexy', but I can see that others could find it so - in either feminine or masculine terms. Look at the terms commonly used to describe her and other ships (and even the assignation of gender) - 'power', 'grace', 'elegance'...writers loving dwell on her 'beautiful lines', etc. Anthropomorphism has yet to carry me quite that far, though...

Pursuit of ships' crews by passengers is by no means a thing of the past - one merchant mariner who occasionally posts here in ET could tell you about the attitude of some passengers who take the view that the crew is included in the price of their ticket.

There was a letter written to a lady's magazine in the early 1900s about the conduct of women on passenger ships - apparently, so aggressive could they become in their pursuit of the deck officers that they were interfering in the conduct of their duties (or so the letter writer thought).

I've heard some weird and wonderful tales of what used to go on aboard WSL ships (not all passenger attention was unwanted or went unreciprocated, it should be noted), and have heard much the same sort of tales from an old Alfred Holt man who sailed in the 60s. Some things don't change from era to era - today, it's not unheard of for women (and no doubt men!) to fixate on certain airline pilots, pursuing them like groupies pursue musicians.

Correction to what I wrote above - I should have written that Boxhall was pursued up to the 30s, after the Cunard-WSL merger. Never underestimate the appeal of a man in uniform, I suppose!
 
Feb 21, 2003
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Oh. Then it wasn't Ada. Thank you, Inger. BTW, when it comes to Will Murdoch, it's easy to see why women would fall for him. He's absolutely gorgeous, plus he's every woman's dream come true, when it comes to him being ideal husband material. Even I have the hots for him too.
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Feb 21, 2003
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Oh Jan. C. Nielsen, & guys...look what I happened on on this my favorite and most loved First Officer, William McMaster Murdoch. You can read it here at this site:

http://www.geocities.com/ancient_wonderer/bio_murdoch.html

Near the bottom of the page, it says this about who that "mystery woman" who showed-up at the U.S. Senate Inquiry...

NEW YORK - No one thought to inform Mrs. Murdoch of her husband's fate. At the U.S. Senate Inquiry she burst in hoping to find news of him. Charles Lightoller, friend of Murdoch's, was charged with informing.

Hope the above clears this mystery up.
 

Pat Winship

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May 8, 2001
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Ummmm-- not exactly. The newspaper reporter very likely thought that the woman was Mrs. Murdoch because of the way she was carrying on. It's a documented fact that Ada Murdoch was in England at the time. "Weepy Willa", as my friend Flo has christened her, was a young woman who was either a mental case, or had an excessive crush on Mr. Murdoch.

Pat W.
 
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Maxim A. Nikulin

Guest
Hello my friends...
Still cannot PROOF that Mr Murdoch
didn't commit suicide but deeply believe
in that-cont. my research...
Sad day today is SAD
sad.gif

I'm with U all burnin' my candle ...
 

Charmaine Sia

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Nov 25, 2001
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Max,

I honestly do not think that it will ever be able to prove that Mr Murdoch did not commit suicide. The thoughts that passed through the minds of all those people the day the Titanic sank can never be fully comprehended by us. The most we can do is to speculate, within the appropriate contexts. And also, to have faith in the officers of that day, that they were good honourable men who were more concerned with the fate of the passengers, than to worry about their own lives and fate.

It is time we remembered the good deeds they have done in helping many people to safely get on board the lifeboats, and thank them for that.

Regards,
Charmaine
 
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Shane Jenkins

Guest
Sorry guys if this post has already been asked/ and or answered but im new here.
Was Bill Murdochs body ever found or recovered?
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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Hallo Shane -

The bodies of none of the lost deck officers were recovered (or, more precisely as the ET bios always point out in that familiar phrase, if recovered they were never identified).
 
Feb 21, 2003
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Still yet another question arises. If they might've been recovered, then why weren't they identified...or, (for their families' sake...) why wouldn't they try to identify them?


Tammy
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Tammy, every effort was made to identify each of the bodies recovered. The problem was that sometimes, there was very little to go on. Little in the way of destinctive personal effects, and as often as not, the bodies were unrecognizable. Forensic science was nowhere near as advanced as it is today. They could not, for example, do a DNA test as in 1912, DNA hadn't even been discovered.
 
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Tom Pappas

Guest
On the other hand, it's hard to imagine that they took off their uniforms before taking The Big Plunge.
 

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