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The Wreck of the 'Birkenhead'

Photo credit: Williamson Art Gallery & Museum

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Thomas Hemy painted a series of pictures about the wreck of the HMS 'Birkenhead' in 1852, one of the Victorian age's famous disasters. This is a smaller version of the large painting, which is now lost. It shows the soldiers, marines and sailors standing on deck while the women and children are taken off the troopship following it striking an uncharted rock off the coast of South Africa. The order 'Women and children first' was first given on this occasion and became known as 'The Birkenhead Drill'.

Williamson Art Gallery & Museum

Art UK Founder Partner

More information




oil on canvas


H 119.3 x W 91.4 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

purchased, 1923

Work type



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