Friday, July 18, 2008

The Sinking of the Titanic and Great Sea Disasters and The Birkenhead Drill

A Book Review:

Note: I have decided to combine these two books into one review since they are so much a like.

The Birkenhead was the first iron hulled vessel of war and was known for her speed. She could make the journey to the Cape of Good Hope in a matter of only 45 days where it would take other ships 64 days. On the final voyage of the Birkenhead she set out with 638 men women and children aboard. She was carrying troops of military reinforcements to the soldiers in the Kaffir Wars, her destination was the Cape of Good Hope.

Then, on the morning of February 26th 1852 sometime before two o 'clock she struck a rock ledge less then a mile off the beach of Danger Point. Once the Captain realized what had happened he ordered that the ship reverse engines. This caused the iron hull to scrape against the rock ripping a huge hole in the bottom. An interesting note that was mentioned in this book was that this fatal decision, to reverse engines was also made by the Captain of the Titanic speeding the sinking process of both ships.

All the passengers gathered on deck, everyone realized the seriousness of the situation, for the ship was sinking fast. There were not enough life boats for everyone to get away the decision was made that the women and children would be saved while the men would stay aboard the ship. There was no hope of saving the ship and it was known that there were sharks circling the sinking Birkenhead. Nevertheless the men stepped back and helped the women and children aboard the lifeboats. About 20 minutes after the Birkenhead hit the rock she split in two and sank. More then 400 men died that night, eaten by sharks or drowned. But all the women and children where saved!

In The Birkenhead Drill it tells the story of the Birkenhead but it also has the testimonies of several men who survived and lived to tell the story. I think it always makes stories more interesting whenever the there are tales told from an eyewitness. Also this book was a very easy read since the it was only 64 pages long. (At the end there was a few pages that listed the names of those who survived and were killed so that made it a little longer.) I was able to read the book in 45 minutes.

The Sinking of the Titanic and Great Sea Disasters is filled with information! It tells so much about the Titanic and the people aboard it. I really learned so much about how confident everyone truly was of this ship. The chapters cover everything from the building of the Titanic to stories of people on board the Carpethia and people in New York. This book is so great because it has a lot of wonderful sketches and photographs that illustrate the book. It also compares the Titanic to other ships that have sunk.

Most people don't want to remember or think about these stories and the losses that were suffered aboard both the Birkenhead and the Titanic. But it is impossible to forget the great heroes and heroins and the legacy they left behind. They truly lived and died showing us that, "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." (John 15:13)

The Birkenhead Drill
The Sinking of the Titanic and Great Sea Disasters


1 comment:

vmcleod said...

Victoria, during those disasters, thousands of decisions were made, some good, some bad, some influenced by selfishness and some by selflessness. And each one of those decisions affected many more people, perhaps influencing THEIR decisions as well. The fear or greed of some people could determine the life or death of others.

We do not need to be participating in a disaster to make decisions which impact others and THEIR decisions. It happens in everyday life. And even in your youth, you have the wisdom to begin discerning the importance of your decisions. I am proud of the young lady you are becoming!

Love, Aunt Venieta