The officer wilde henry did he commit suicide?

The officer wilde henry did he commit suicide?

Postby Caroline Mendes on Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:25 pm

Many witnesses said that wilde committed suicide.
but many saw him the last time trying to free the collapsible lifeboats A and B.
Never been proven that the officer was killed.
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Re: The officer wilde henry did he commit suicide?

Postby Jim Keller on Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:21 pm

Personally, I'm a bit skeptical of the "officer suicide" theories I've seen. I've read firsthand accounts of shots being fired in the air to control crowds. I've read firsthand accounts of people on deck hearing a gunshot or gunshots and "word spreading" back to them that an officer had killed himself. I've never read a reliable firsthand account of someone witnessing said suicide.

As anyone who has ever played a game of "telephone" knows, information gets distorted as it gets repeated. To me, the simplest explanation is to put the two known events together. Shots fired in the air. Crowd hears them and responds with speculation, which further back in the crowd is mistaken for firsthand knowledge, and a myth is born.

Naturally, if anyone does know of a reliable witness to an officer suicide, I'd love to hear about it...
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Re: The officer wilde henry did he commit suicide?

Postby Dennis Faenza on Sat Jun 16, 2012 2:36 am

In THE NIGHT LIVES ON , chapter 10- "Shots in the dark"-Walter Lord tells of 2 passengers who claim that they saw one of the officers shoot himself. Third class passenger Eugene Daly wrote a letter to his sister which was put in London's DAILY TELEGRAPH on May 4, 1912. First class passenger George Rheims wrote to his wife that he saw an officer shoot himself. Walter Lord felt that since it was witnessed by twe different men, writing to a family member-not the press-and right after the disaster-attention must be paid.
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Re: The officer wilde henry did he commit suicide?

Postby Jim Keller on Sat Jun 16, 2012 12:32 pm

I would agree that family letters should be given more weight than press accounts, but it's still quite possible for people to recall what they think they should have seen instead of what they actually did see. Person hears a gunshot. Person sees an officer's head vanish below the crowd in the (remember, very dim) light of the deck. Person hears a report through the crowd that an officer has shot himself. Memory suddenly adds details like a gun coming to the officer's head and blood coming from a wound that simply weren't there. It happens all the time with eyewitnesses, unfortunately, and in this case we can't sit the witness down and ask the "what did you actually see -- with no interpretations" question.

Since there were survivors who were nearer to our various "likely candidates" who saw nothing, I remain skeptical. Not an out-and-out denier, of course. If we could invent the time window and look back at that night, I would not be surprised to learn that those accounts were accurate. However, I consider it more likely that we've got unreliable witnesses.
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Re: The officer wilde henry did he commit suicide?

Postby Michael H Standart on Sun Jun 17, 2012 9:43 pm

Caroline and all, see http://wormstedt.com/Titanic/shots/shots.htm for an in depth and excruciatingly well researched article dealing with this controversial subject. What you see here is as close to the reality as you'll ever get. (Unless somebody can find some better evidence.)
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Re: The officer wilde henry did he commit suicide?

Postby Jim Keller on Sun Jun 17, 2012 11:58 pm

An excellent analysis. Thank you for sharing the link!
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Re: The officer wilde henry did he commit suicide?

Postby Joshua Noble on Tue Nov 06, 2012 7:33 pm

I think it's safe to say that an officer committed suicide. Jim makes a good point, but it can be turned around where those that say an officer didn't commit suicide saw shots fired and in the frenzy shot himself which would cause distractions and blocked views that would make only a few people able to see what exactly happened. I personally believe it was either Wilde or Murdoch (I'm leaning more towards Wilde currently) but I don't think we'll ever know for certain who did it.
Hello, Lights, Are you warm?
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