Rescue of the 'Deutschland' by a tug, 1875.
3 0 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 22cm

Rescue of the 'Deutschland' by a tug, 1875.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


Plate taken from the 'Illustrated London News'. The armour-plated frigate 'Deutschland', which weighed 8,000 tons, sank off the coast near Harwich on 1 December 1875, on the first stage of its journey to America. German politicians blamed Britain for the disaster, in which 57 lives were lost, claiming that the rescue boats had taken 30 hours to arrive. The incident inspired Gerard Manley Hopkins to compose 'The Wreck of the Deutschland', a poem dedicated to the 5 Francisan nuns who had died in the shipwreck, while emigrating to escape Bismark's anti-Catholic legislation. The wreck also prompted new legislation, requiring ships to be fitted with more than one propellor.

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