Ships and Harbours
HM Troopship Birkenhead 1852
A large troopship, HM Troopship Birkenhead, with about 638 men women and children on board, was sailing off the coast of Africa on a clear night on 26th February 1852 carrying reinforcements for the troops engaged in the Kaffir War. Off Cape Danger the vessel suddenly struck a sunken rock with such force that within 20 minutes she was a wreck. The actual number of personnel aboard is in some doubt but, according to the Times newspaper of the day `as accurately as can be ascertained`, is put at 638. It is generally thought that the survivors comprised 113 Army personnel (all ranks), 6 Royal Marines, 54 seamen (all ranks), 7 women and 13 children but these numbers cannot be substantiated as muster rolls and books were lost with the ship.
Picture added on 26 October 2006