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Upholders of the Birkenhead tradition: the Australian transport Ballarat sinking at the entrance to the English Channel on April 25, ANZAC day, the most perfect discipline being maintained on the crowded vessel.

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Please acknowledge Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections AWNS-19170705-39-3 when re-using this image.
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Record ID

Central News
Auckland Weekly News Central News Auckland Weekly News
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5 July 1917

Date Period

World War, 1914-1918, Ballarat (Ship), Australian Army, Soldiers, Troopships, Naval warfareWorld War, 1914-1918Ballarat (Ship)Australian ArmySoldiersTroopshipsNaval warfare
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Digital image

Taken from the supplement to the Auckland Weekly News 5 July 1917 p039

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Showing the deck of the troopship Ballarat crowded with Australian soldiers. The ship was torpedoed on 25 April 1917 while in the English Channel. Some soldiers in the centre right of the photo are looking intently over the side. The Ballarat sank very slowly with enough time for many of the soldiers to be taken off by other vessels, themselves risking torpedo strikes. The discipline of the Australian troops is complimented by being likened to that of British troops aboard a paddle steamer, the Birkenhead, that wrecked off the coast of South Africa in the mid-nineteenth century. The women and children on the Birkenhead were sent off in the few available lifeboats, while the troops stood at attention on the deck until the ship sank, so that panicked crowds wouldn't swamp the boats.