HMS Birkenhead painted by Paul Curtis

HMS Birkenhead prints now available to purchase 

HMS Birkenhead mural 

HMS Birkenhead, also referred to as HM Troopship Birkenhead or Steam Frigate Birkenhead, was one of the first iron-hulled ships built for the Royal Navy. She was designed as a steam frigate, but was converted to a troopship before being commissioned. She was wrecked on 26 February 1852, while transporting troops to Algoa Bay at Danger Point near Gansbaai, 87 miles (140 kilometres) from Cape Town in the Cape Colony. There were not enough serviceable lifeboats for all the passengers, and the soldiers famously stood firm on board, thereby allowing the women and children to board the boats safely and escape the sinking. Only 193 of the estimated 643 people on board survived, and the soldiers' chivalry gave rise to the unofficial "women and children first" protocol when abandoning ship, while the "Birkenhead drill" of Rudyard Kipling's poem came to describe courage in face of hopeless circumstances. This mural was painted in appalilng weather conditions in January 2020 by Liverpool artist, Paul Curtis. It is located on the side of Gallagher's Traditional Pub, located in Birkenhead, overlooking the River Mersey.