Gansbaai History – HMS Birkenhead

Every year on 26 February the residents of Gansbaai on the Cape Whale Coast remembers how their town’s history changed on this day many years ago – back in 1852. It was the day the troop ship – HMS Birkenhead – sunk while transporting troops to the Eastern Cape. They were not to reach their destination.  In the early hours of the morning the ship struck rock near Danger Point and the engine rooms flooded.  Less than a third of the passengers survived and the term “women and children first” was conceived as a protocol for evacuating passengers.

Gansbaai Tourism has commemorated this sad yet interesting bit of history for many years and each year Glenda Kitley and her team make sure that people are reminded of this integral part of our region’s history. Today will be no different with proceedings at the Danger Point Lighthouse with a view of the sea.  A view that conjures images of another day many years ago.

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