RN-1852 Drums of the Birkenhead-Survivors & Lost lists


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David Bevan
F.R.C.S., F.B.S.C.

1st. 1990 published by London Stamp Exchange Ltd, London

£14.00 + P & P (Included for UK)


A red cloth bound book with gilt lettering to the spine NEAR FINE condition - unclipped dust wrapper VERY GOOD PLUS.

ISBN 0 948130 23 7

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A true story of one of the most heroic and superbly disciplined incidents ever recorded.
The story of the disaster, on 26 February 1852, of Her Majesty's Troopship Birkenhead, offers us one of the most pulsating examples of discipline and self-sacrifice ever recorded. The night air was still, the sea was calm, and land was but three miles distant. But on the ship, with no premonition of the death to come, a change was taking place and events were falling into their dreadful sequence.

The stage was being set, the participants were in their places, and through the one hundred and one acts of heroism enacted that fateful night has grown the tradition of 'women and children first' which is now a matter of accepted conduct in times of peril on the sea.

The iron paddle steamer Birkenhead, designed and built by John Laird, was a fine ship, of that there is no doubt. But she was born of an age when England's invincible sea power had been gained and held by the great ships of oak and there were few in the Admiralty, and other high places, who wanted or would accept anything different. The evolution of ships was advancing rapidly but 'iron monsters' driven by steam, and the technical changes in navigation they brought with them, were resented.

That the Birkenhead was launched at all was something of a miracle, and when she did eventually get to sea most of her advantages as an iron ship had been taken from her anyway.
Her life was short-lived. And her spectacular death in shark-infested waters, under the most appalling conditions imaginable, touched the heart of an entire nation and justly earned for the ship and those who sailed in her their place in the illustrious pages of history.

Four hundred and forty-five people died with the Birkenhead. Three hundred and sixty-three of them were soldiers, young raw recruits, fresh to the service and away from their homeland and familiar surroundings for the first time. The British Army had offered them security and a future.

But when it came to the crunch these mere boys showed to the whole world that not only were they disciplined soldiers, they proved too, in a way that no-one should ever have to, that they were men.
David Bevan didn't believe the story of the wreck of the Birkenhead. Now he's more than convinced... and he's produced his own memorial to the men who went down with her.

Jacket Illustration
'Then amidst oath, and prayer, and rush, and wreck, Faint screams, faint questions waiting no reply, our Colonel gave the word, and on the deck Formed us in line to die.'
Sir Francis Doyle's verses
The photograph is a reproduction of Hemy's famous painting that now hangs in the Regimental Museum of the Black Watch, Balhousie Castle, Perth, to whom we are indebted for permission to reproduce.
Jacket © London Stamp Exchange Ltd 1990
London Stamp Exchange Ltd 5 Buckingham Street
London WC2N 6BS

ISBN: 0-948130-23-7


Author's Notes and Acknowledgements

  1. Prelude to disaster
  2. 'Stand Fast'
  3. In their own words
  4. The naval court martial
  5. The Roll of Honour
  6. Tributes to the brave
  7. The Birkenhead regiments
  8. The search for the gold
These images show the general condition of the the dust wrapper and the spine of this book. These images show the general condition of the the dust wrapper and the spine of this book.
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