7431 Prospect St #3
British Columbia Tourism Region : Vancouver, Coast, & Mountains
- Famous in the annals of the British Army is the story of the Steam Frigate Birkenhead.
- In February 1852 this troopship struck a rock near the Cape of Good Hope, a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula in South Africa.
- Since a number of families were travelling with the men, the places in the few lifeboats were given to the women and children. While the boats rowed away, the soldiers stood lined up in their ranks on the deck.
- When the ship began to sink, the captain cried out, 'Every man for himself.' Trained in the iron discipline of the British Army, not a man moved from his place. Instead, they awaited an order of dismissal from their officers.
- That order was not given, two of the officers explaining that, should the soldiers be dismissed from parade and swim out to the boats, they would certainly capsize them in their endeavours to be saved.
- Firm until the end, the men stood in their ranks until the ship sank under them. Of the 638 men aboard the Birkenhead, 454 drowned, but the boats got ashore safely, and every woman and child who had been aboard the ship was saved.
- The King of Prussia was so impressed by the event that he ordered an account of it to be read to every regiment in his army.
- The officer commanding the soldiers on the Birkenhead, and one of those who perished, was Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander Seton, a relative of A.C. Anderson, the HBC officer and explorer who named the lake and river after him (Anderson Lake and Seton Lake).
- With permission from G.P.V and Helen B. Akrigg 1997 British Columbia Place Names. UBC Press.
Address of this page: http://bc.ruralroutes.com/Birkenhead