The below information details some of the survivors and there history:
CORPORAL WILLIAM SMITH was born at Eyden Northants, enlisting in the 12th Regiment of Foot
at Weedon Bucks in 1848. Following the wreck he saw active service  with his regiment in the
South African bush.

"I managed fortunately to meet one of the ships` spars when in the water to which I clung and
getting on top I stuck tight to it as I could not swim. I was about twenty hours in the water. Some
others managed to get ashore in much the same way - I should think it would be about two and a
half miles. I believe most of the swimmers were drowned in miscalculating the distance as the
mountains looked much nearer across the water in the darkness. Many lost their lives by the falling
and smashing of timbers others by the sharks which infested this part of the sea as the waters were
tinged with blood in many places".
WILLIAM HENRY McCLUSKEY was born in Armagh on June 18th 1839 and about 1843 emigrated
to South Africa with his parents where they lived on a farm near Capetown.  He joined the Cape
Mounted Rifles and was aboard the Birkenhead to join units fighting the  war in the Eastern
Province.  When the ship went down he swiftly got away from the wreck and being a powerful
swimmer he struck out for the shore and after a time managed to join another soldier holding
on to a floating spar.  The waves threw them on to the rocks where they rested for a while then
made for the shore which they reached bruised and bleeding.  After recovery he was sent to
serve in the Kaffir wars.  Later he tried his luck in various gold and diamond fields but without
much success. He was commandeered into The Diamond Field Horse 1877-8 attaining the rank
of sergeant. His final military service was as a member of the Beaconsfield Town Arms during
the siege of Kimberley.  After retirement from military service he worked as a jailer and a
security guard and whilst in the employ of the De Beers Company at Bultfontein he was brutally
beaten to death on October 5th 1903.
"Yes I am one of the Birkenhead survivors.  I was between fourteen and fifteen years old when it
happened and have a very clear and distinct recollection of all that occurred.  I saved myself by
making for and fastening on to one of the boats to which I clung for some time after my fingers were
crushed  and was eventually pulled on board. We were afterwards picked up by the schooner Lioness
and never shall I forget the great kindness of Captain and Mrs Ramsden to all the survivors - men,
women and children. The different accounts given by some of the survivors are very correct and very
interesting to me.  I really cannot add in any way to its contents".  

"Everything was carried on by great regularity and without confusion.  I don`t think half an hour
could have elapsed from her striking until she broke up. I believe that I am the sole survivor in this
Colony. (in fact one other - William Butler was still living).  I should indeed be glad to see some
memorial to the wreck erected  in this country; it was the to  the assistance of the Colonists that
the troops were hastening when the ship was wrecked".   
Although not quite four years of age at the time, in later life she had vivid recall of the time of
the tragedy.

"I was three years and eight months old at the time of the wreck. There was only my mother and
myself of our family on board the Birkenhead; my mother was on the way to join my father. I can
remember quite well my mother taking me in her arms on deck in our night clothes and giving me to
a cabin boy to hold whilst she went again down below to fetch a cloak, and they lowered me into the
boat.  When she got back she could not find me and all the boats had pushed off.  Two officers
swung mother from the side of the vessel as she was sinking and she just caught the side of the
boat and fell amongst the people. If she had fallen the other way  they must have left her as the
boat was being drawn by the sinking vassal".
Mrs. MARIAN PARKINSON (nee Darkin)
When the Birkenhead sank she took down, with many another hero, Timothy Kelly of the 73rd
Foot whose name appears in the death roll.  Timothy Kelly`s wife and two little sons are stated
to have been on board and among the last to be placed in the ship`s cutter by which the
women and children were saved.  Almost immediately Timothy Kelly went down with the
Birkenhead and was drowned. The story goes that after the heart- rending experience of that
night Mrs Kelly remained some time in hospital at Capetown, suffering from the shock of that
last sad parting and the effects of exposure in the open boat. Her young sons James and
Thomas were taken care of by local people and eventually all three were sent home.

At the 50th anniversary of the wreck Thomas Kelly was in good health and living in Leeds, his
brother James being deceased. Thomas, who was not quite three years old when the troopship
was lost (he was born on March 12th 1849), said he had little recollection of the incidents of the
disaster, but he remembered how in after years his mother used to relate with pride and
sadness the story of those brave British soldiers who died heroes` deaths, uncomplaining and
with dignity.

As the name of Mrs Kelly does not appear in the official list of those saved from the wreck it is
not possible to substantiate Thomas Kelly`s account although there is no inference that his
claim to be among the 50th anniversary survivors is not correct.  The lists are not infallible.  
When Thomas was questioned about this he said he could not understand how his mother`s
name was missing from the official list and added “I have a faint recollection of the wreck. I was
the very last of the children to leave it and was nearly drowned. Myself and my brother were
each given £23 from the Government to learn a trade.  My mother received ten shillings a week
for life as long as she remained single. We stayed two years in Capetown before we came
THOMAS KELLY son of Timothy Kelly 73rd Foot