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Lot 72
Charles Edward Dixon
(British, 1872-1934)
The sinking of HMS Birkenhead
15 April 2014, 14:00 BST
London, Knightsbridge

Sold for £1,000 inc. premium

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Charles Edward Dixon (British, 1872-1934)

The sinking of HMS Birkenhead
signed 'Charles Dixon' (lower right)
watercolour with white heightening
35 x 57cm (13 3/4 x 22 7/16in).


Britannia's Bulwarks: The Achievements of our Seamen, The Honours of our Ships, (London 1901)

HMS Birkenhead was one of the first iron-hulled ships built for the Royal Navy. Initially it was designed as a frigate, but was converted to a troopship before being commissioned.

Wrecked on 26 February 1852 whilst transporting troops to Algoa Bay, she went down at Danger Point near Gansbaai, 140km from Cape Town, South Africa. The event is credited with being the earliest maritime disaster to apply the 'women and children first' protocol; sometimes referred to as the 'Birkenhead Drill', it is referenced in Rudyard Kipling's 1893, 'Soldier an' Sailor Too'.

The event was noted by Frederick William IV of Prussia and Queen Victoria for the bravery of the soldiers and the order and regularity that prevailed. Of 643 passengers only 193 survived.

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