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New - William McMaster Murdoch


This topic/thread is for members of TDTSC to post information or their research on Titanic's first officer and to discuss him and the member’s information or resarch.

To start the topic:

William McMaster Murdoch


Life and career

William McMaster Murdoch was born in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, the fourth son of Captain Samuel Murdoch, a master mariner, and Jane Muirhead, six of whose children survived infancy. The Murdochs were a long and notable line of Scottish seafarers who sailed the world's oceans as early as the 19th century; William's father and grandfather were both sea captains as were four of his grandfather's brothers and it is little wonder that he followed in the family tradition.

Murdoch was educated first at the old Dalbeattie Primary School in High Street, and then at the High School in Alpine Street until he gained his diploma in 1887. He was remembered as being an intelligent and hard-working scholar. Finishing schooling, he followed in the family seafaring tradition and was apprenticed for five years to William Joyce & Coy, Liverpool, but after four years (and four voyages) he was so competent that he passed his Second Mate's Certificate on his first attempt.

He served his apprenticeship aboard the Charles Cosworth of Liverpool, trading to the west coast of South America. It would have been a harsh apprenticeship, but it gave Murdoch the determination he needed to succeed. From May 1895 he was First Mate on the Saint Cuthbert, which was to sink in a hurricane off Uruguay in 1897. Murdoch gained his Extra Master's Certificate at Liverpool in 1896, at the age of 23. From 1897 to 1899 he was First Officer aboard the [sign in to see URL] & Co. steel four-masted 2,534-ton barque Lydgate, that traded from New York to Shanghai.

From 1900 to 1912, Murdoch gradually progressed from Second Officer to First Officer, serving on a successive number of White Star Line vessels, Medic (1900 - along with Charles Lightoller, Titanic's second officer), Runic (1901-1903), Arabic (1903), Celtic (1904), Germanic (1904), Oceanic (1905), Cedric (1906), Adriatic (1907-1911) and the Olympic (1911-1912).

During 1903, Murdoch finally reached the stormy and glamorous North Atlantic run as Second Officer of the new liner Arabic. His cool head, quick thinking and professional judgement averted a disaster when a ship was spotted bearing down on the Arabic out of the darkness. He overrided a command from his superior, Officer Fox, to steer hard-a-port, rushing into the wheelhouse, brushing aside the quartermaster and holding the ship on course. The two ships passed within inches of one another. Any alteration in course would have actually caused a collision.

The final stage of Murdoch's career began in May 1911, when he joined the new Olympic, at 45,000 tons. Intended to outclass the Cunard ships in luxury and size - if not in speed - Olympic needed the most experienced large-liner crew that the White Star Line could find. Captain Edward J. Smith assembled a crew that included Henry Tingle Wilde as Chief Officer, William Murdoch as First Officer, and Chief Purser Henry W. McElroy. On June 14th, 1911, Olympic made her maiden voyage to New York.

The first indications of what was to come occurred on September 20, when the Olympic had her hull badly damaged in a collision with the Royal navy cruiser HMS Hawke. Since Murdoch was at his docking-station at the stern of the ship during this collision -a highly responsible position- he found himself giving evidence in the inquiry into an incident that turned into a financial disaster for the White Star Line, as the voyage to New York had to be abandoned and the Olympic taken to Belfast for repairs, which took a good six weeks. It was thus not until December 11, 1911, that Murdoch rejoined his ship. During the time that he served aboard Olympic as First Officer (until some time in March, 1912) there were two further -though lesser- incidents, striking a sunken wreck and having to have a broken propeller replaced, and nearly running aground while leaving Belfast.

However, upon reaching Southampton, he learned that he had been appointed as Chief Officer of the new Titanic, sister ship to Olympic and reputedly the largest and most luxurious ship afloat. Lightoller later remarked that "three very contented chaps" headed north to Belfast, for he had been appointed First Officer, and their friend Davy Blair was to be the new second officer. Awaiting them would be an old Adriatic hand, Joseph Groves Boxhall, as Fourth Officer, and others who would be familiar colleagues, including the now aging Edward John Smith, as Captain, and on the verge of retirement. Titanic sank on her maiden voyage and William Murdoch did not survive.

This article is licensed under the
]GNU Free Documentation License

It uses material from the Wikipedia article "]William McMaster Murdoch ".


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Margaret "Molly" Brown biography
White Star Line History Website
Titanic Pages
Sep/5/2006, 7:31 pm Link to this post Send Email to Thomas Dyer   Send PM to Thomas Dyer
 
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Re: New - William McMaster Murdoch


Excellent biographical sketch, Tom! Thanks for posting.

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"What I remember about that night- what I will remember as long as I live- is the people crying out to each other as the stern began to plunge down. I heard people crying, 'I love you.'"
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Re: New - William McMaster Murdoch


Regarding the other WMM thread's Victoria Farrell posted about her gt. gt. grandmother, Elizabeth Crogent...

I, for the life of me, cannot believe that Will would deliberately leave a woman he allegedly may have pregnated not once-but-four [sign in to see URL] then claim no responsibilty for her or them, by marrying another woman, Ada. He is just too much a loving kindhearted a gentleman to do somthing so shameful and dastardly.

Of course, I feel bad about Victoria's gt. granddad and his [sign in to see URL] on the other hand, I just don't buy her story. She must be talking about another William [sign in to see URL], the other William John Murdoch/Murdock, who did survive Titanic's sinking. Has anyone ever bothered to look into his personal background to see if he may have had a illegitimate Liverpool family?

Read about him here:

]Mr. William John Murdoch

-MA

edited by MurdochsAid, Sep/25/2006, 2:15 pm


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Re: New - William McMaster Murdoch


Gotta agree with you MA. Knowing what I do of William M. Murdoch, I find his getting a woman pregnant four times and taking no responsibility for [sign in to see URL], doesn't soung like him.

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"What I remember about that night- what I will remember as long as I live- is the people crying out to each other as the stern began to plunge down. I heard people crying, 'I love you.'"
Sep/23/2006, 6:13 pm Link to this post Send Email to Lights   Send PM to Lights AIM Yahoo Blog
 
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Re: New - William McMaster Murdoch


Furthermore--don't you find this to being purely coincidental, that both William J. Murdoch/Murdock and Elizabeth Crogent were both Irish? He too, was married, and had four legitimate children. Four was also the magic number for his alleged illegitimate family as well.

Maybe perhaps Elizabeth, when she learned that a Murdoch had perished during Titanic's [sign in to see URL] may have thought that her William J., was that Murdoch? Which is why she showed-up at the NY Inquiry.

Food for thought anyone?

-MA

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Re: New - William McMaster Murdoch


Will was even within the deep recesses of my heart as far back as the early 1980s...

First, when we visited the Rotterdam port of Holland/the [sign in to see URL] Captain Samuel Murdoch pulled his Iquique into port and tethered her there to the quay. We took a boat excursion around that very same Rotterdam channel.

Then I was drawn to the tender, Nomadic, when we visited the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. The tender was tethered within a close walking distance near the tower on the Seine River. I wanted so much to go aboard her, just to have a looksee around her.

Then when we flew to London-Heathrow, we flew over the English Channel where Titanic sailed away from Southampton, April 10th, 1912. Where she would later drop anchor in the Cherbourg Harbor to pick up more passengers, as well as dropping off across-channel passengers (Father Browne, the famous photographer, being one of them). Talking about coming full circle! It is there that Nomadic ferried the 1st & 2nd Class Passengers to/or from the above steamer. I knew way deep down in my heart that Will's sweet spirit must have been nearby...

As we were returning to the U.S., we flew over the spot of the North Atlantic, just off the coast of Newfoundland, where Titanic had collided with that iceberg, April [sign in to see URL] then sank, April 15th, 1912.

For me, it truly was like stepping back into William McMaster Murdoch's shoes all the time we had spent time in that part of Europe.

-MA

edited by MurdochsAid, Feb/18/2007, 9:07 pm


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