The Birkenhead Commemoration is an annual event that takes place in Gansbaai to commemorate the sinking of the HMS Birkenhead in 1852. 445 men lost their lives in this tragedy. All the women and children on board were saved and this is the first documented use of - “ Women and Children first” it has become known as the Birkenhead Drill.
Two main events form part of this commemoration – a boat trip to the Birkenhead Rock and a service at the Danger Point Lighthouse,
On 26 February a group of about 70 interested parties set out on 3 different boats, to the Birkenhead Rock. One of these was the vessel “The Ivanhoe” on which there was 19 people aboard.
It was lovely calm if slightly misty morning.
Once at the rock the boats, anchor and a short prayer is read. Persons on board threw wreaths and fynbos into the sea at the rock as a token of remembrance. The Last Post is then played and the group then returned to shore.
At 11h00 a memorial service was held at the Danger Point Lighthouse.