Dalbeattie Town History

Murdoch of the 'Titanic' :

Lieutenant William McMaster Murdoch
Royal Naval Reserve

'RMS Titanic', White Star Line

Major Sources of Information

Back to Murdoch of the Titanic Homepage

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.

I have been aware that many people wish to examine my sources for themselves, and I regret that some information is either out of print or only available in limited editions. Wherever possible, I will give you prices and publishers' contact addresses. Some books and papers were only lent to me for a short time, but I will try to add these at a future date.

Note To Authors, Editors and Publishers :
The remarks and images included in this file are intended to help to publicise your books. I hope that this free advertising will help to enhance your royalties and be a small recognition of the depth of your scholarship. Please contact me if you wish this service to you to be withdrawn. - Richard Edkins.

This page is organised into sections on People, Printed Books, Bound Typescripts, Other Papers and Internet Information.

People :-

Samuel Scott Murdoch

This eighty-year-old volume of experience is only available to those who write to him. and I will continue to relay your questions. As many have noted, remarkably similar in appearance to his uncle and his grandfather...which is only right.
You may e-mail him through me at :-

Major source of family photographs and his family tree. Remarkably wise and understanding. Loaned me many of the books I have used, including the Don Lynch and Ken Marschall, the Susanne Störmer and the Claes-Göran Wetterholm. Most important of all, he has regularly lent to me his family's copy of The British 'Titanic' Inquiry, 1912 (Lord Mersey's Inquiry for the Board of Trade). His uncle's photograph is the front link of this site.

Ernest Robinson

Another limited edition of unique character. A maritime historian who has helped others to publish what he has been unable to publish for himself. Has been everywhere from Lloyds' Registry to the British Library, spoke to both Bride and Lightoller, and has material passed to his family by White Star Line's Ken Topping.
You may e-mail him through me at:-

Source of a lot of basic maritime lore and the precise details of William McMaster Murdoch's career. Has kept me on the right track, when I've become too fanciful.

Donald Thomas Henderson

Tom Henderson managed to shanghai me onto the Dalbeattie Museum Trust Committee in 1988, within eighty seconds of my sitting down at the back of the meeting. I only managed to get sprung in 1992, after the Museum was well on its way. He taught me a lot of Dalbeattie's history, and lent me books and his contacts; myself and Ernie pressured him to set down what he knows. President of the Dalbeattie Museum Trust and amateur historian of professional quality.
You may e-mail him through me at:-

Made available to me that rare copy of 'To the Bitter End' by Elizabeth Gibbons and other documents. In return, I linked him up with Raymond Elliott, whose two remarkable models of the 'Titanic' (before the collision and after the sinking) are to grace the Dalbeattie Museum in Southwick Road, Dalbeattie.

The British 'Titanic' Inquiry, 1912 :

Original re-bound pages from "The Journal of Commerce" Report of The British 'Titanic' Inquiry, 1912.

Published originally by the Journal, whose offices were then in 37, Walbrook, London and at Liverpool. An under-rated and rather 'dry' account, which holds much interesting information. It is worth consideration because of its attention to evidence about the ship and its operation; examination of this was more important than allocating blame. Lord Mersey's refusal to turn the Ismay and Duff-Gordon testimony into a time-wasting witch-hunt was mis-interpreted by the press of the day.

Now long out of print, but copies are held in the British Library and maybe in the Liverpool Library. Visitors are warned that a substantial part of the Liverpool collection was destroyed by Luftwaffe bombs in the 1940s, so the British Library's collection may be a better starting-point.

The Murdoch family copy is complete, but those parts covering the 'Californian' were cut out, possibly by one of his aunts, who knew and respected Captain Lord of the 'Californian'. This high-minded censorship was reversed by Ernie Robinson presenting Scott with photocopies of the missing pages from another copy. The material itself was bound in a buff cover with a red morocco spine, possibly by the Dumfries and Galloway Library Service.

Printed Books :

'Good-Bye, Good Luck' : The Biography of William McMaster Murdoch

Written and published by Susanne Störmer :

Susanne Störmer appointed the The British Titanic Society to sell this book. Five hundred copies were printed for the First Edition, and three hundred had sold at £10 each by December 1997. A further hundred had definitely been sold by mid-April 1998, and by 24th October 1998 only eight were left unsold.

This fascinating and sometimes dramatic book was the source for some of the photographs and the basic background. Mrs. Störmer is German, so the text has that accent, but her scholarship is excellent. Scott Murdoch and Ernie Robinson were both sources for this book, which served to set the scene for later detailed discussions. I regard it as a good companion volume for this Murdoch website...until I write my own.

To buy this book, please contact :-
Geoff Whitfield, 18, Terence Road, Liverpool L16 8NW.

Please remember to send a delivery address.

'Titanic' : An Illustrated History :

Text by Don Lynch, Paintings by Ken Marschall :
Published 1992 by Hodder & Stoughton and Madison Press
ISBN 0-340-56271-4

The heading rather says it all. The pictures of Ken Marschall have been copied widely across the Net, so I hope my advertisement of part of his book jacket will not offend. Certainly the most glamorous rendering of the story, and Don Lynch managed to obtain a Forward from Robert Ballard, the wreck's discoverer. The work of Ballard, Lynch and Marschall, is what made the visual effects of the Cameron 'Titanic' possible. It is still the most fascinating of the 'Titanic' books.

The most important text from this book is probably the recounting of passenger Elizabeth Lines' overhearing of Ismay putting pressure on Captain Smith (p 41). Lynch's account of the lifeboat launchings throws some light on the order, for which I otherwise had to rely upon quotes others have made about Gracie's book. However, even Lynch could not cover everything, and I learnt about the fate of the lifeboats (broken up after being left in a boatyard) from a site on the Internet.

To obtain this book, contact any bookseller, or the publishers :-
Hodder & Stoughton Limited, 47, Bedford Square, London WC1B 3DP.

Price £30 Sterling net in United Kingdom

American visitors to this site may prefer to contact the Titanic History Society website, which has a rather good publications list. Go to my Other Good 'Titanic' Sites page for the link.

'Titanic' :

Written by Claes-Göran Wetterholm :
Published 1988 by Båtdokumentationsgruppen HB,
ISBN 91-87360-00-4

Scott lent this one to me; Scott's wife Siv Murdoch is Swedish, and Claes-Göran Wetterholm gave this book to them. Unfortunately, I could not read enough Swedish to make much sense of the text of this remarkable book. What it did point out, was the large number of German and Scandinavian emigrants aboard, many of whom died. Those wishing to learn more about this aspect, would, in my opinion, do very well to contact the publishers and get this book. The illustrations are superb, but the author controls copyright of most of them. The advice of Scott is that permission MUST be obtained before using any of them.

Book obtainable from :-
Båtdokumentationsgruppen HB, Box III, 44060, Skärhamn, SVERIGE (SWEDEN).

I regret that I do not know the price of this book.

[N.B. : Other books may be added to this list, but are not to hand at this moment. - Richard Edkins.]

Bound Typescript :

'To the Bitter End'

By Elizabeth Gibbons.

This typescript on Murdoch was serialised by the 'Commutator' magazine of the American Titanic History Society. It was copied and spine-bound by the 'Galloway News' at Elizabeth Gibbons's request, then presented to Mr. Thomas Henderson of the Dalbeattie Museum Trust in July 1992.

American visitors are advised to look in back-numbers of 'The Commutator' or to ask Elizabeth Gibbons of the Society. Elizabeth Gibbons was unsure about the allegation of William Murdoch shooting himself, but, taken with Störmer's research and material of the time, it demonstrated that in fact he could not have shot himself.

Mr. Henderson has told me that he will contact Elizabeth Gibbons, to establish whether she will be willing for the Dalbeattie Museum Trust to copy and retail her typescript.

Other Papers :

(Still being compiled).

I have been remarkably fortunate in being able to examine a copy of William McMaster Murdoch's death-certificate, and good photocopies of the two last letters he wrote to his family. For obvious reasons, the originals are safely lodged in a bank.

Internet Information :

For this, both the good and the bad, see 'Other Good 'Titanic' Websites'

on this website. I can particularly recommend Philip Hind, as a source that has a human understanding of what went on. Other sites listed also list this one, - an honour, indeed, as this is a young site.

This website is being written to set the record straight on the real Lieutenant William Mcmaster Murdoch, Royal Naval Reserve. Information and editorial assistance is being given by Mr. Samuel Scott Murdoch, the nephew of the First Officer of the RMS 'Titanic', and the maritime historian, Mr. Ernest Robinson.

In Memoriam


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.

To make a Donation to the official Memorial Prize.

Enquiries about William McMaster Murdoch for Mr. Scott Murdoch or Mr. Ernest Robinson 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

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

Murdoch site started 23rd January 1998,
last updated 5th April 1998.
No charge was made for the W.M.Murdoch website.