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RMS Titanic - Officer Murdock

 

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murdoch

Lieutenant William McMaster Murdoch was  employed by the White Star Line, serving as First Officer on the titanic, Murdoch was born in Dalbeattie in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, on the 28 february 1873, the fourth son of Captain Samuel Murdoch, 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. after Finishing his schooling, he followed in the family seafaring tradition and was apprenticed for five years to William Joyce & Coy of Liverpool, He served his apprenticeship aboard the Charles Cosworth trading to the west coast of South America. 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 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).

In 1903, Murdoch met a 29-year-old New Zealand school teacher named Ada Florence Banks who was to become his wife and on 2 September 1907 they were wed in Southampton at St Deny's Church.

In May 1911, he joined the new RMS Olympic, at 45,000 tons. Intended to outclass the Cunard ships in luxury and size 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 Wilde as Chief Officer, William Murdoch as First Officer, and Chief Purser Henry W. McElroy. On June 14, 1911, Olympic made her maiden voyage to New York.

On 20 September 1911 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 the Olympic was taken to Belfast for repairs, which took a good six weeks. Murdoch rejoined his ship on December 11 1911 However, upon reaching Southampton, he learned that he had been appointed as Chief Officer of the new Titanic.

Murdoch was the officer in charge at the bridge when the Titanic struck the iceberg on 14 April 1912. There are varying accounts as to what orders Murdoch gave in order to avoid collision with the iceberg. It is generally agreed that he gave an order of "Hard a ‘starboard" Murdoch is reported to have set the ships telegraph to "Full Astern" by Fourth Officer Joseph Boxhall, who saw them at that setting when he entered the bridge some time during the accident.

After the collision Murdoch was put in charge of the starboard evacuation, during which he launched 10 lifeboats, containing almost 75 percent of the total number who survived. He was last seen attempting to launch Collapsible Lifeboat, He was never seen again after Titanic disappeared into the Atlantic Ocean on the morning of 15 April 1912. His body, if recovered, was never identified.

William McMaster Murdoch memorial at Dalbeattie Town Hall Dumfries and Galloway,Scotland UK.

 


   

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Titanic Trivia

Crows Nest Warning: After lookouts Frederick Fleet and Reginald lee Sounded the alarm, officers on the bridge had only 37 seconds to respond before titanic struck the iceberg.

Lifeboat Drill: For reasons Unknown captain Smith cancelled the scheduled lifeboat drill due to take place on April 14, 1912

Titanic Dogs: From the nine on board Two dogs a Pekinese and a Pomeranian managed to make it into lifeboats and survived the disaster.

Smokestacks: One of titanics smokestacks was cosmetic as designers thought the ship would look more impressive with four funnels, however it did have a purpose as it provided ventilation to the turbine engine room and the reciprocating engine room.

Ripples in time: The sinking of the titanic probably changed the course of history, the loss of the world’s largest, most advanced ship deemed unsinkable not only brought about recommendations to the ship building codes, but unlike today communication in 1912 was difficult, there was no internet or mobile phones, for most of the population mail was the most common form of long distant communication, Titanic was effectively a floating post office when she sank seven million individual items of mail were lost and did not make it to their destination, this gives us food for thought as we will never know what was in all those letters.