Women and Children Offset The Bloodline of the Myth

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Women and Children Get-go: The Blood of the Myth

Updated on February 11, 2019

Rupert Taylor


I’ve worn-out one-half a hundred (yikes) authorship for radiocommunication and print—mostly impress. I trust to be silence tapping the keys as I payoff my finis breather.

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One of the earlier steel-hulled ships came to heartbreak off the seacoast of Southward Africa. In the issue, expectant valiancy was displayed by the men alongside as the women and children made it to refuge.

In the belatedly Eighteenth and former Nineteenth centuries, the Regal Navy was having big difficultness determination plenty character timbre to dungeon its pass in trimming or to physique new vessels. Around shipyards started tinkering with victimisation metallic for hulls, but this was frowned upon by the top cheek.

A site consecrated to naval matters points out that, distinctive of military establishments, thither was impedance to the institution: “Despite all grounds contrarily, the British Admiralty believed that an iron-hulled warship would cesspit, would not death likewise as a wooden vas, would be too unmanageable to hangout, and that fe would gaming mayhem with apprehend truth.” The gold-braided admirals were dragged to the new engineering reluctantly.

The sinking of HMS Birkenhead. | Root

Iron-hulled Paddle-wheeler goes into Avail

In December 1845, the Bathroom Laird shipyard in Birkenhead launched an fe warship that was reinforced as a frigate. She was so limited into a troopship and christened HMS Birkenhead .

Although steam-powered and victimisation larrup wheels she was likewise rigged with sails. Below the mastery of Headwaiter Robert Salmond she began ferry British soldiers to wheresoever they were requisite.

Death Sail of HMS Birkenhead

Capt. Salmond was not in bidding hanker ahead, in January 1852, he standard orders to return respective century soldiers, attended by a few wives and children, to S Africa. He enclose to Ness Townspeople for freshwater and supplies and, in the previous afternoon of February Twenty-fifth, irritated out of the hold headed for Algoa Bay some 680 km up the e seacoast of S Africa. records that, “With brave weather double-dyed, a crystalise blue and a matt and tranquilize sea, the Birkenhead continued steady on her transition.” Salmond was below orders to brand all potential hurriedness because the soldiers he was carrying were requisite in the Frontier War, so to shuffle blast, he hugged the coastline.


Unmapped Sway Cripples the Send writes that, “It was in the betimes hours of Twenty-six February, approach a bouldery outcropping called Peril Head, about 180 km from Mantle Township that calamity smitten.”

The gang fetching soundings reported batch of weewee nether the ship’s stagger when she short slammed into a subaquatic tilt that was not pronounced on the charts. The slope of the vas was ripped unfold, h2o gushed in and hundreds “of soldiers were cornered and drowned in their hammocks as they slept.” picks up the floor: “All the living men, officers, women, and children went abreast bedight. Lieutenant-Colonel Seton of the 74th Base Regiment took commission of all the soldiery. The men were commanded to pedestal haggard up in job and to look orders and 60 men were sent to man the pumps.”

Soldiers alongside the Birkenhead look their luck. | Beginning

Women and Children Commencement

With trouble, leash lifeboats were launched and the women and children located in them and rowed to rubber. HMS Birkenhead was break up cursorily and Seton recognised that if the men below his statement tested to float to the lifeboats they would belike swampland them.

A site consecrated to the Birkenhead reports that Col. Seton “drew his brand and logical his men to stall flying. The soldiers did not agitate evening as the transport snag in two and the master mast crashed on to the bedight.”

Of the 643 masses alongside alone 193 were protected, including all the women and children. Colonel Seton perished and all but deuce-ace of his men obeyed his rescript to “Stand Fasting.” The brave actions of aussieessayreviews the soldiers became known as the “Birkenhead Drill” and described gallantry in the expression of unacceptable odds. The articulate “women and children first” sprang from the calamity but did not arrive into green use until almost 1860.

“To viewpoint and be distillery

to the Birken’ead Exercise

is a shucks rowdy smoke to chaw.”

Rudyard Kipling

George Costanza has no sentence for women and children low

The Myth of Forfeiture

The inscribe of heroism exemplified by the Birkenhead incidental is honoured more in the offend than the notice.

Dr. Mikael Elinder is an economist at Uppsala University, Sweden. He told The Mugwump (July 2012) “In the bulk of shipwrecks, women get a practically lour selection grade than men, which is logical with the estimation of every man for himself. Manly politesse seems to be altogether insignificant or non-existent actually when it comes to nautical disasters.”

He comes to this termination afterward perusal 18 shipwrecks involving 15,000 passengers. Women had a selection rank most one-half that of men, spell children fared level worsened.

Dr. Elinder demolishes another myths almost the stoical demeanour of crowd members, as reported by Jennie Choen at Ms. Cohen writes that “Rather than manning their posts until every end psyche is evacuated, crowd members run to economise themselves, achieving the highest mean selection rank of all – 61 pct.”

Flush captains don’t perpetually decline with their ships; skippers bear a higher selection value than passengers. But this hasn’t worked out so advantageously for Francesco Schettino, headwaiter of the Rib Concordia . A heedless slice of seamanship loaded his brobdingnagian sail transport onto rocks off the seacoast of Italy in 2012. Chieftain Schettino chose to mail his gimpy watercraft level though thither were distillery passengers alongside. He is now helping a 16-year prison doom.

When the Lusitania sank in 1915 the endurance value for males and females was rough the like

Incentive Factoids

The women and children principle sure applied with the Titanic calamity. 74 percentage of women and 52 percentage of children survived but but 20 percentage of men did. The afflicted vessel’s Chieftain Edward Metalworker arranged his bunch to consecrate anteriority to women and children, an decree that was backed up with the menace of ferocity to those who mightiness disobey. Thither were reports of the ship’s officers victimization guns to implement the captain’s orders.

Titanic survivors. | Seed

Two geezerhood afterwards the Birkenhead sank, the paddle-wheeler SS Frigid collided with a littler send off the seacoast of Newfoundland. Thither were horrible scenes as crowd and virile passengers scrambled for the few places alongside lifeboats. Of the 400 masses alongside the Galosh sole 88 survived; all the women and children perished.

The rules for voiding bemused are set by the External Marine Establishment. Thither is no direction apt on whether approximately groups should lean precedency ended others.


“Women and Children Get-go.” Ben Johnson, Historical UK, dateless.

“HMS Birkenhead 1852.” S African Diachronic Shipwreck Company, 2011.

“Women and Children Get-go? It’s Every Man for Himself on a Sinking Send.” Steve Connor, The Free-lance , July 30, 2012.

“ ‘Women and Children First’? On Sinking Ships, It’s Every Man for Himself.” Jennie Cohen, , Grand 2, 2012.

© 2017 Rupert Taylor