Memorial Built for Victims of HMS Birkenhead

Posted by Michelle Howard
Friday, March 07, 2014

A memorial has been unveiled in Birkenhead (Wirral, Liverpool City Region, United Kingdom) dedicated to the victims of one of the worst maritime disasters of the 19th century.



HMS Birkenhead, a steam frigate built by John Laird’s shipbuilders in Birkenhead, sank off the coast of Gansbaai, South Africa on February 26, 1852. Out of 638 people onboard, only 193 survived. Many victims were taken by sharks.  The tragedy was the first occasion when troops were ordered to stand fast and the protocol of women and children first was used. As a result, all women and children aboard the vessel survived. The action became famous as the Birkenhead Drill through-out the British Empire, capturing a spirit of Britishness, and was used when RMS Titantic sank in 1912. The phrase was also used by Rudyard Kipling in his poem A Soldier An’ Sailor Too, which was read at the memorial service.


The memorial was unveiled on Woodside Promenade, Birkenhead, by the Mayor of Wirral Cllr Dave Mitchell and the Lord-Lieutenant of Merseyside, Dame Lorna Muirhead. They laid commemorative wreaths as did representatives of the Armed Forces. Pebbles from Gansbaai beach, where the survivors swam ashore, surround the memorial which consists of three steel panels.


The memorial was designed through a competition organised and judged by Cammell Laird shipyard, Andy Liston of New Brighton Lifeboat Station and Wirral Council. The winning design was submitted by Jemma Twigg of Birkenhead Sixth Form College.



The memorial was then created by Cammell Laird’s apprentices with materials donated and costs met by Cammell Laird.
 


Cammell Laird chief executive John Syvret CBE said the company is immensely proud to build the memorial.



“This is a very powerful initiative that the company immediately wanted to support given our connection to HMS Birkenhead,” he said. “It is very fitting that the tragic story of the ship, and the origins of ‘women and children’ first, should be remembered in the form of such a striking memorial on Merseyside for future generations.  



“It is important that our apprentices understand the long history of Cammell Laird and what happened to many of the ships built here, some of which, like HMS Birkenhead, became very famous for what they did or what happened to them. This memorial helps ensure even after more than 160 years that the heroism and courage of the men that day is not forgotten.”  



The Mayor of Wirral, Cllr Dave Mitchell said: “This memorial is dedicated to those who lost their lives off the coast of South Africa 162 years ago. I am particularly honoured to be able to welcome our Armed Forces to remember this event, and to bring together the people of Wirral and South Africa in a spirit of friendship and solidarity.



“The memorial will take its place alongside Wirral’s other important monuments to the fallen, including those at Hamilton Square and Woodside Promenade along with the wider Wirral community.”


 

Maritime Reporter August 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

Syncrude Uncertain about Plant Fire Affecting Production

The operator of Canada's largest synthetic crude project said on Saturday it is investigating the causes of an early morning fire at an upgrading plant. Firefighters extinguished the blaze,

Hurricane Ignacio Gains Strength but Expected to Bypass Hawaii

Hurricane Ignacio intensified as it blew across the Pacific on a route likely to bypass Hawaii on Saturday, said the Central Pacific Hurricane Center of the National Weather Service.

United Heavy Lift Gears up for the Asian Boom

All set to expand its footprint in the South Asian market significantly, Hamburg based, United Heavy Lift (UHL) appointed strategically placed Lexicon Overseas Pvt Ltd.

Shipbuilding

MN 100: ContainerTug B.V.

The Company: ContainerTug B.V. is a specialized Dutch naval design engineering and construction company with a strong focus on developing workboats and the evaluation

Oman Drydock Company Expands Rapidly

Oman Drydock Company (ODC) is growing fast. In January, the yard hit an important milestone - its 300th drydocking. Harnessing the power of its new $1.8 billion, 1.

NASSCO Invests in Facilities, Equipment and People

General Dynamics NASSCO has invested several hundred million in capital projects as part of its efforts to increase efficiencies via  modular shipbuilding, including:

Casualties

Syncrude Uncertain about Plant Fire Affecting Production

The operator of Canada's largest synthetic crude project said on Saturday it is investigating the causes of an early morning fire at an upgrading plant. Firefighters extinguished the blaze,

Iranian Ship, Crew Escape Captivity off Somali Coast

An Iranian fishing vessel and its crew have escaped after being held captive for five months by Somali fishermen, maritime piracy experts said on Friday, but it

Migrant Boat Sinks off Libya; 200 Feared Dead

A boat packed with mainly African migrants bound for Italy sank off the Libyan coast on Thursday and officials said up to 200 might have died. A security official in the western town of Zuwara,

News

Syncrude Uncertain about Plant Fire Affecting Production

The operator of Canada's largest synthetic crude project said on Saturday it is investigating the causes of an early morning fire at an upgrading plant. Firefighters extinguished the blaze,

Hurricane Ignacio Gains Strength but Expected to Bypass Hawaii

Hurricane Ignacio intensified as it blew across the Pacific on a route likely to bypass Hawaii on Saturday, said the Central Pacific Hurricane Center of the National Weather Service.

United Heavy Lift Gears up for the Asian Boom

All set to expand its footprint in the South Asian market significantly, Hamburg based, United Heavy Lift (UHL) appointed strategically placed Lexicon Overseas Pvt Ltd.

Vessels

United Heavy Lift Gears up for the Asian Boom

All set to expand its footprint in the South Asian market significantly, Hamburg based, United Heavy Lift (UHL) appointed strategically placed Lexicon Overseas Pvt Ltd.

World’s Quickest Trip Through Northern Sea Route

Chinese sailor Guo Chuan intends to make it world’s quickest Northern Sea Route trip from Murmansk to the Bering Strait in 14 days without engine power. His

USCG Reopens Key West Ports After Erika Dissipates

Effective 9:30 a.m., Saturday, Capt. Jeffrey Janszen, Coast Guard Captain of the Port, reopened Key West, Florida, ports, terminals and facilities due to Tropical Storm Erika dissipating.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Naval Architecture Navigation Pipelines Port Authority Ship Electronics Ship Repair Ship Simulators
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.9649 sec (1 req/sec)