The Birkenhead Sisterhood Fallacy

The Birkenhead Drill is a historical code of conduct whereby the lives of women and children were to be saved first in a life-threatening situation (typically abandoning ship, when survival resources such as lifeboats were limited).

300px-Stöwer_Titanic

On the 15th April 1912, four days into her maiden voyage, the HMS Titanic sank in the north Atlantic Ocean.  It was the largest passenger liner in service at the time and her sinking remains one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history.

The Titanic was designed to carry a total of 48 lifeboats.  She only carried 20 because someone decided that passenger comfort was more important and that any more would have cluttered the decks.  Harland and Wolff tried to persuade the White Star Line to install more lifeboats, but eventually gave up the fight. As they say, “the customer is always right”.

 More than 1500 souls were lost.

 All but one of the children and 92% of the women were saved, but…

79% of the men on board died, but…

that’s excluding third class passengers on lower decks.

75% of all third class passengers died.

 84% of the men, 54% of the women and

66% of the children with a third class ticket.

 52 children in all.

Only 3% of women with a first class ticket were lost.

Four souls.

To put that into context…

 …that’s half the number of men and boys who died during construction…

 …not including the man who died when his leg was crushed during the launch.

The first Titanic fatality was a 15 year old boy called Samuel.

He fractured his skull falling from height

and was buried in an unmarked grave in a Belfast City Cemetery.

 Screen Shot 2015-05-30 at 14.17.46

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