View Full Version : HMS Birkenhead:

Keith at Tregenna
23rd April 2012, 11:47 PM
It seems that the seafaring command about women and children being first to board lifeboats originated with the sinking of HMS Birkenhead off the coast of South Africa in 1852. The ship was carrying 480 British troops and about 26 women and children.

When the ship foundered, the soldiers’ commander told his men to ‘stand fast!’ and allow women and children to make use of the few lifeboats on the vessel.

Some women did not want to go on their own — they had to be torn away from their husbands, carried over to the bulwark and dropped over the ship’s side. Most of the soldiers and sailors aboard drowned or were eaten by sharks, but all the women and children survived, and the chivalric ethos became known as the Birkenhead Drill, celebrated in a Rudyard Kipling poem, Soldier An’ Sailor Too:

To take your chance in the thick of a rush, with firing all about
Is nothing so bad when you’ve cover to ’and, an’ leave an likin’ to shout;
But to stand and be still to the Birken’ead drill is a damn tough bullet to chew,
An’ they done it, the Jollies — ’Er Majesty’s Jollies — soldier an’ sailor too!

The notion of women and children first reached its apogee in the late Victorian and Edwardian eras, for the idea that women are weak and need protecting by males went hand-in-hand with the belief that women should be excluded from positions of responsibility.

Read more: Cruise ship Costa Concordia sinking: Whatever happened to women and children first? | Mail Online (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2087585/Cruise-ship-Costa-Concordia-sinking-Whatever-happened-women-children-first.html#ixzz1suVNn8st)


Peter Trodden
2nd May 2012, 11:37 AM
The Birkenhead Drill.
Women and Children First.
But if you were born in Birkenhead, go ahead La.:p
ttfn.Peter. from---Bir###