Dalbeattie Town History

Murdoch of the 'Titanic' :

Lieutenant William McMaster Murdoch
Royal Naval Reserve

'RMS Titanic', White Star Line

This website was written to state the truth about Lieutenant William McMaster Murdoch, RNR. Information and editorial assistance came from the maritime historian, Mr. Ernest Robinson, and Samuel Scott Murdoch, the nephew of the First Officer of the RMS 'Titanic'.

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From the webmaster...

Thank you for visiting this website. I hope it has given you a more accurate idea of the life and character of William McMaster Murdoch. I will continue to update and maintain the site as a permanent record. Information and images are still needed, and I will acknowledge anything sent to me.

The website has had little change since May, but this autumn there will be more activity. New information is to be added to most pages on the site. I apologise in advance for an appalling sense of humour, and thank everybody for their support, - and the occasional criticism.

1st November 1998 : Site Amendments :
8th October 1998 : Up at 10112 ! :
27th September 1998 : A Chat with Susanne Stormer :
22nd September 1998 : Titanic Memorabilia :
16th September 1998 : Do We Have a 'Friends of Murdoch' Page ? :
12th September 1998 : Is Cameron at it again ...?
10th September 1998 : The Murdoch Website Companion(s)
6th September 1998 : Plagiarism, the Originator's Burden...
22nd August 1998 : 'Titanic' a float in Dalbeattie...
20th August 1998 : Meet A New Friend...One of The Many :
6th August 1998 :The Behes and Murdoch :
25th June 1998 : Dalbeattie High School Prizegiving : The New Medals :

1st November 1998 : Site Amendments :

Recent activity on the net has made it imperative to change and extend the information on the site. I am currently compiling a page that covers the key sections of every witnessed account regarding Murdoch's location and the 'shooting incidents'. This is because of a deliberate policy of hostile disinformation by two people whose book relies on William shooting himself. Compilation will take some time, but no information has been found that would prove that William shot others or himself. The majority of information about Wilde or Murdoch shooting themselves does, in fact, come from newspaper articles. I have been advised that the most reliable statements about 'Titanic' come (in order of reliability) from (1) witnesses under oath at inquiries, (2) personal histories and letters of those aboard, (3) verifiable press reports based on actual evidence. Mr. Ernest Robinson will be sending me a letter on his discussions with Harold Bride. Ernie was possibly the last researcher to discuss the 'Titanic' with Harold Bride before Harold's death.

It is highly unlikely that the evidence will silence the critics with an income dependent on attacking William's good name, but it will at least make their misleading tactics harder to carry out.

8th October 1998 : Up at 10112 ! :

Not sure quite why, but the site hit counter is going slightly mad these days. Why is everybody so interested again ? By all means get in touch with me, if you've something to discuss.

27th September 1998 : A Chat with Susanne Stormer :

Susanne's in Dalbeattie for a few days, so today I took the opportunity to have a chat with her. She informed me that the body of Purser McElroy was one of those recovered at sea, but that there was no record of any gunshot injury. More intriguing, she told me that a child survivor of the 'Titanic' had been heard by a passenger aboard 'Carpathia', saying that he had seen Captain Smith put a gun into his mouth and shoot himself. As the Captain was a well-known figure, the only 'Titanic' navigating officer with a full beard, it would have been difficult to mistake him for another navigating officer.

Bearing in mind the astonishing quantity of hearsay evidence, I am still reluctant to implicate Captain Smith, who may have survived the ship but died in the sea. However, the news about Purser McElroy is reliable enough to clear him from the list of possibles. That leaves us with the mysterious Henry Tingle Wilde and the fairly conclusive evidence that clears William McMaster Murdoch.

The pictures of the 15th April apology and cheque presentation are now to hand, as are those of the 'Titanic' float in Dalbeattie. I hope to integrate these with the text shortly.

22nd September 1998 : Titanic Memorabilia :

As all regular visitors are aware, this site is unusual for its lack of banner-ads and other advertising. However, I have come to the decision that I need to make at least my 'brass farthing' by linking it to an adjacent 'Titanic Memorabilia' advertising site. This new site offers scope for advertisers of Titanic memorabilia to bring their products before a fairly discerning part of the 'Titanic' community. I hope it will provide enjoyment. Many of the firms advertising also subscribe to that excellent quarterly 'Atlantic Daily Bulletin', run by the British Titanic Society. I commend both the 'Bulletin' and the BTS to you.

16th September 1998 : Do We Have a 'Friends of Murdoch' Page ? :

Our patient and kind correspondent Lady L. has been fielding many new friends of Murdoch. I apologise for dumping them on her. Perhaps we should have a net-based 'Friends of Murdoch' group. Any thoughts ? I could have a Members' Listing on the site, if enough people want to do it. Names, e-mails and 'Titanic'-related interests only, of course.

12th September 1998 : Is Cameron at it again...?

Information has been received that scenes filmed in 1996, but later cut, are being added to the so-called 'Director's Cut' to be released shortly. These scenes, my informant says, include ones showing William Murdoch taking several massive bribes to let men board the starboard side lifeboats. This serious charge of bribery has no grounding in fact. I would be grateful for any confirmation or denial that Cameron is including these incorrect scenes, The only evidence of corruption, during the 'Titanic' disaster, was the not-proven scandal around Lucille and Cosmo Duff-Gordon, who gave £ 5 Pounds Sterling to each crewman in the lifeboat that they were in. To impute bribery to William McMaster Murdoch is to make a totally unfounded charge for which there is neither origin nor evidence.

10th September 1998 : The Murdoch Website Companion and other publications :

Susanne Stormer's 'Good-Bye, Good Luck' is not going to be reprinted, and only thirty (30) copies remain unsold. Contact Geoff Whitfield of the British Titanic Society and Mimi Lai on ttdvth@gis.net to order copies.

In view of the predicted sellout of Susan's book, I have been pressed to embark on my own Companion volume to the website. I already have a printer to hand, the site text and some information and pictures that have not been shown here before. The price will be between £ 10 and £ 20, so it will be generally affordable. Please note, - it will not be either a hagiography or a 'sanitised version'; the truth is far more significant.

Jenni Atkinson is in touch with Elizabeth Gibbons. Here's hoping that her 'To the Bitter End' can be published shortly. Jenni is soon to be on the Internet. I'll keep you posted.

22nd August 1998 : 'Titanic' a float in Dalbeattie...

The 'Cum Ye Inn' public house sponsored an excellent 'Titanic' float that won First Prize. Pictures to follow. Now for the giggle : Scott Murdoch had voted for the Sea Cadet's 'Royal Navy' float, - but, then, he looks to the future as much as the past.

The float was on a large articulated lorry, with a superstructure assembled on the day by the eager participants. Their own page is to bve added to this site

20th August 1998 : Meet A New Friend...One of The Many :

Ilya McVey, a professional seaman, has joined the happy band of Friends that some scurrilities name the 'Murdoch Mafia'. He is researching the 'Titanic' and William Murdoch from his professional viewpoint. This is not popular with some landbound theorists, but it is a healthy move.

I also welcome other newcomers to the site, which has become almost a clubhouse for some. Perhaps the Friends of Murdoch should be made more formal... ?

6th September 1998 : Plagiarism, the Originator's Burden...

One lazy individual was pilfering research sites, including this one, to add information to his own 'Titanic Masters site' hosted on tripod.com. A dozen visitors to the Murdoch site asked that some action to be taken to stop him from abusing the unique images and other text. The host company was contacted and the individual himself also instructed either to (a) remove the stolen material or (b) to make a £ 100 Pounds Sterling donation to the Murdoch Memorial Trust Fund. In view of the fact that most people ask for permission before using material, it was only fair to them to point this out. An apology has been received and the offending site withdrawn.

6th August 1998 : The Behes and Murdoch :

I was very surprised to receive two e-mails from George and Pat Behe on the subject of William Murdoch and on icebergs. On the basis of the lookout having rung the bell three times, to warn of the iceberg, they took this to mean that he had made three phone calls. I have been contacted by seamen now afloat, who confirmed that the three rings (strokes) on the bell were the correct signal for a collision alert. This may reflect a difference in meanings between American and British forms of English.

From a discussion with other enthusiasts, I gather that the Behes have previously written a book on 'Titanic' in which they gave Murdoch a very bad image. Presumably, they are unwilling (unlike the worthy Walter Lord) to review their book in the light of new information. In their favour, the Behes apparently are disgusted by the corruption allegations about Murdoch that Cameron added to his film; such allegations have no historical basis.

The Behes disagree with me about Wilde; this is understandable, as his movements are rather ambiguous, and the Wilde Hypothesis does need modification in the light of received information. I am now fairly sure that he was awaiting a posting to the 'Oceanic', but that his Captaincy was delayed by events such as the Coal Strike. Smith grabbing him for the Chief Officership of 'Titanic' would have kept his service in the eyes of the White Star Line.

Thursday 25th June 1998 : Dalbeattie High School Prizegiving

This day, four Murdoch Memorial Prizes were given out. The first was the old £ 4 Prize, - the best scholar at age 14, or Junior Dux. It was won by Abby McClymont, who received both a cash prize and a medal from our good friend Dorothy-Grace Elder. She made a spirited speech in which she pointed out that Dalbeattie had achieved a great deal in gaining the apology.

Samuel Scott Murdoch presented the first Murdoch Memorial Senior Prize to Elliott Matthew the Senior Dux, a very able young man who has been both the best scholar of the senior school and a devoted worker within the community. Two runners-up also received prizes, - Jason Baxter and Thomas Wilson. Scott is a shy man, and kept his speech to a minimum, but he was very proud to have been able to present the Senior Prize in his uncle's memory.

The £ 5,000 Pounds Sterling cheque presented by Scott Neeson on 15th April 1998 has gone partly into the purchase of two new lap-tops for the Dalbeattie High School and partly to provide a further prize income for the future. It is being invested in a high-interest account, a portion of the annual interest going towards the Prizes, the rest being re-invested to prevent erosion of the Prizes' value by inflation.

I would like to give my personal thanks to all who have contributed to the Stewartry Education Trust's Murdoch Memorial Fund, as now a £ 20 prize can be given. The Trust wish me to express my thanks to you all, with the hope that further donations can be given to enhance the prize. I really felt that great good had been done, when I learned that.


This Prize is competed for annually by Fourth-Year scholars at Dalbeattie High School.
The Murdoch website has been prepared because of that Memorial.
The fund supporting this Prize needs to be increased and the account has been reopened by the Board of Governors of the Stewartry Education Trust.

To make a Donation to the official Memorial Prize.

In Memoriam

Monument to Lieutenant William McMaster Murdoch, Royal Naval Reserve, on Dalbeattie Town Hall.

Memorial to Lt. Murdoch RNR

Enquiries about William McMaster Murdoch for Mr. Ernest Robinson and Mr. Scott Murdoch can be forwarded by e-mail through :-

Main sections of the Murdoch of the 'Titanic' Website
The White Star Line Life of W.M. Murdoch RMS Titanic Collision and Aftermath The Board of Enquiry

Please Note :-
In view of the unanticipated level of interest in the Memorial Prize, I am uploading pages that are still under construction. Some text and images may be absent, incomplete or out of sequence. I will be happy to receive any relevant information or images and will acknowledge it if included.

- Richard Edkins, webmaster@dalbeattie.com

Dalbeattie Domain website is designed and managed for pleasure and profit by

Murdoch site started 23rd January 1998,
last updated 26th September 1998.
No charge was made for the W.M.Murdoch website.