The Life and Mystery of First Officer William Murdoch
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Dalbeattie Memorial

First Officer Murdoch's memorial
tablet in Dalbeattie, Scotland.
(Click to enlarge)

After Murdoch's death the Dalbeattie Town Council held a meeting that decided to erect a memorial to William, even before the outcome of the Board of Trade Inquiry. Additionally, the Council set up the Murdoch Memorial Prize fund paying £4 a year to the Dalbeattie school as a prize for the best 14-year-old scholar, later the ‘Junior Dux’.

The Dalbeattie memorial tablet reads:

"This tablet is erected to commemorate the heroism displayed by Lieut. William McMaster Murdoch R.N.R a native of Dalbeattie. When, on her maiden voyage, the R.M.S. Titanic of which he was first officer collided with an iceberg and sank and 815 of her passengers and 688 of her crew including Lieutenant Murdoch perished, 14th and 15th April, 1912. A memorial prize is also to be competed for annually in Dalbeattie Public School where Lieutenant Murdoch was educated."

Proposed memorial to Lieut. Murdoch

This report was published in the Dumfries & Galloway Standard & Advertiser on August 21st, 1912:

Proposed memorial to Lieut. Murdoch
Public meeting in Dalbeattie

Last night a public meeting was held in Dalbeattie to consider the propriety of taking steps to raise a memorial to the late Lieutenant William Murdoch R. N. R., the first officer of the ill-fated Titanic. Lieutenant Murdoch who was 38 (sic) years of age belonged to a sailor family, and was the son of Captain Samuel Murdoch, Oakland, Dalbeattie. The meeting was held in the Town Hall, and there was a large attendance.

Provost McLaurin, who presided, said it was some time since the news of the disaster caused consternation throughout the whole country, and many no doubt thought that that meeting should have been called earlier. Those who, like himself, knew Mr Murdoch intimately never for a moment doubted that he did his duty faithfully and well. (Applause). But he thought it was right to wait for the full report of the inquiry before taking steps : and the official report, which had now been issued, showed that Mr Murdoch not only did his duty; but that he did well. (Applause) He called upon Mr James Little, town clerk, to move the first resolution.

Mr Little moved the following resolution : "That steps be taken to raise a memorial to the late Mr Murdoch, the first officer of the ill-fated Titanic." It was well, he said, to postpone the meeting until after the inquiry was held, because although a good many of those in Dalbeattie knew what Mr Murdoch would do in the circumstances, others to whom an appeal would be made would not know so well. They all knew that Mr Murdoch was the man on the bridge on the night of disaster, and a serious responsibility rested upon him on that occasion. From the official report that had been issued Mr Little read a number of extracts, which, he held, showed that Mr Murdoch did all that was humanly possible immediately before and after the contact with the iceberg. Lord Mersey held that the vessel was going at too great speed. But the captain was alone responsible for the speed of the vessel, and Mr Murdoch had nothing whatever to do with it. Duty perfomed as he performed it was nothing short of heroisme -(applause) - and it was only such heroism that was is keeping with the best traditions of British seamanship. (Aplause.) They had all been glad to see their townsman occupying such a high position in this profession, and it was their duty to commemorate in some tangible form what he had done. (Applause.)

The Rev. J. A. Paton, United Free Church Manse, seconded the resolution. He said he had always been struck with Mr Murdochs courteous, brave, and unassuming manner, and in commemorating his action on the night of the disaster they were honouring themselves and the community, as well as offering solace, comfort, and satisfaction to his grief-stricken relatives. (Applause.)

The motion was carried unanimously.Bailie Newall moved that they send a minute of condolence to the relatives of Mr Murdoch. He was sure that his father and mother, and wife and other relatives, deserved their sympathy on the death of Mr Murdoch under such circumstances. Mr Alex. Wilson, coal agent, seconded the motion. They knew Mr Murdoch to be, he thought, one of the finest seamen they had ever turned out of their burgh. (Applause.)

The following committee, with power to add to their number, was then appointed to make the preliminary arrangements with regard to the raising of the memorial: Provost McLaurin, Bailie Newall, Bailie Dornan, Councillors Jack, Clark, Rae, Shennan, Mundell, and McGill, Alex. Wilson, Mr James Little, town clerk; Captain Cassady, Lauriesbon; Captain Rae, Anchordale; ex-Bailie Craik, Rev. J. A. Paton, Mr J. E. Miligan, solicitor; Mr J. Tait, builder; Captain Ewart Boreland, Colvend; Rr R. Wilson, burgh surveyor; Dr John Ewart, Stourbridge; Mr J. M. Austin, registrar; and ex-Provost Davie.

The proceedings terminated with a vote of thanks to Provost McLaurin for presiding.