Monday, October 5, 2009

Brikenhead Drill (Summary)

More than hundred years ago in 1851 Brikenhead a troopship was carrying British soldier and their families to South Africa. It has six hundred and thirty persons on board. The number of women and children was one hundred seventy.

When it was Sixty four kilometre from Cap Town, South Africa, it ran into an under water rock. The vessel was split into two and the front half sank immediately. However all the person had managed to shift over to the other half. Though they knew that their death was near and the ship was about to sink and there were only three life boats which had capacity for one hundred eighty persons. The decision about the rescue operation had to be taken hurriedly. In order to avoid confusion the commander took the situation in his own hands and ordered the soldier together on the deck in drill formation and directed them that women and children must be saved first because they were numbering one hundred seventy and there was capacity of one hundred eighty in three boats. The soldiers obeyed the order of commander and maintained full discipline in the face of certain death. There was no panic, if there had been panic the women and children would have been crashed under the feet of man in their bid to escape first. As the boats sailed away the soldiers stood at attention as if they were at their daily drill.

When the remaining part of the ship sank all the men went down into water in drill position. A few of them however struggled to the surface. They held wreckage till they were picked up by a rescue ship. Commander was one of those who has got the hold of wreckage but he let it go to save two young men and he chose to die. In all four hundred thirty eight people died.

Since that day Brikenhead Drill has become symbol of great courage to face certain death calmly in order to save weak in face of danger.


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