Brikenhead Drill (Questions and Answers)

Q.1: When and where did the Birkenhead sink?

Ans: The Birkenhead sank sixty four kilometres far from the coast of South African city of Cape town on February 25, 1951.

Q.2: What kind of people was being carried as passengers on the Brikenhead?

Ans: The Brikenhead was carrying soldiers and their families to South Africa. The soldiers were mostly young and in experienced.

Q.3: How did Brikenhead come to be wrecked? Were any members of crew to blame?

Ans: The Brikenhead ran into an under water rock and was wrecked on it. No member of crew was to blame for this disaster as the rock was not indicated on any map and none of them knew any thing about it.

Q.4: Why was there life boat accommodation for only 180 people after collision with toe rock?

Ans: Most of the life boats on the ship were damaged during the collision. Only three of them were left intact and they had capacity of sixty persons each. The total accommodation that came to 180 persons only.

Q.5: Was there enough room in the life boats for all the women and children on the board?

Ans: There was enough room in the life boats for all the women and children because they were 170 in all and there was capacity of 180 persons in life boats.

Q.6: What would probably have happened, had there been panic?

Ans: If there had been a panic, the women and children have been crushed under the feet of men in their bid to escape first.

Q.7: Describe the behaviour of the soldiers while the women and children escaped in the boats?

Ans: In the face of certain death of the soldiers showed an exemplary behaviour by maintaining full discipline, while the women and children escaped in the boats.

Q.8: Were many of men rescued who remained on the sinking ship? How did the survivors among those left on the ship manage to save themselves?

Ans: There were 630 persons on board out of these 170 were women and children. Thus the men numbered 460. Very few of them were picked up by the rescue ship. Only 24 men could be rescued.

Q.9: Describe one heroic action that took place after the Brikenhead went down?

Ans: The commander of the ship showed great heroism ever after the ship had sunk. He managed to cling to some piece of wreckage. But when he found that two young sailors were struggling for their life. He pushed the piece of wreckage towards them for the support. But when he found that it could not support all three of them, he let go his hold upon it and went down into sea.

Q.10: Were the troops on the board of the Brikenhead experienced and used to facing danger? How do we know that they behaved with gallantry and discipline up to very last?

Ans: The troops on the board of the Brikenhead were mostly young inexperienced. They were not used to facing danger. Nevertheless they were fully disciplined and behaved heroically. They faced certain death with perfect calmness. They sacrificed their lives in order to give weaker one a chance of life we have come to know their heroism through survivors.

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