The Life and Mystery of First Officer William Murdoch
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Oscar Wilhelm Olsson
Third class passenger

We saw the water come up and up until it almost reached him [Murdoch]. Then we heard a pistol shot. Many people thought he had shot himself.."

Triumph and Tragedy lists a “Olsson, Oscar Johansson,” aged 32, embarked at Southampton, traveling in third class and rescued aboard collapsible B (Triumph and Tragedy, p.345 (7.)). Encyclopedia Titanica describes a “Olsson Oscar Wilhelm,” a sailor, born in Sweden in 1879 and who left Sweden in order to find work on the Great Lakes in the USA. In America "Oskar Olsson changed his name to Johansson, according to himself ‘because everyone had problem to pronounce Olsson on the right way and of course my fathers name was Johan’” (courtesy of Encyclopedia Titanica (8.)). However, Titanica states that “Olsson survived on collapsible A”, not B, while Bill Wormstedt writes that “Olsson appears to have escaped in either Collapsible A or B” (Bill Wormstedt, Shots in the Dark (12.)) placing him in the general location/timeframe of the alleged suicide.

Confusion over his name also led Wormstedt to write:

“Olsson gave many accounts under the assumed names of Oskar Johann and Oscar Johansson (the alias he used while aboard the Titanic). He may have assumed these names due to the fact that he was ashamed of having survived the disaster when so many women and children had died, but a more likely reason is because he thought ‘Johansson was easier for people to remember’” (Bill Wormstedt, Shots in the Dark (12.))

Olsson spoke of a suicide on many different occasions, in “a private letter, several press accounts, and in a 1912 memorial book” (Bill Wormstedt, Shots in the Dark). The 1912 memorial book entitled Nearer My God To Thee; The Story of the Titanic contains this excerpt:

“We saw the water come up and up until it almost reached him [Murdoch]. Then we heard a pistol shot. Many people thought he had shot himself.”

Bill Wormstedt writes regarding this that the “fragment above appears to indicate that Olsson did not actually see the suicide” making it similar to Eugene Daly’s account, who said that “there was another shot, and I saw the officer himself lying on the deck. They told me he shot himself, but I did not see him.” Except in the case of Olsson, he does not see evidence of a suicide, but hears a “pistol shot. Many people thought he had shot himself”.

As he does not say he actually saw the shooting/suicide and he is the correct timeframe, Olsson can be considered a reliable witness and there is no reason to doubt his account.