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The Birkenhead Drill is the practice of saving "women and children first." From the on-the-spot decision by Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander Seton during the sinking of the troopship Birkenhead, February 26, 1852, to order his troops to stand fast on the sinking ship instead of saving themselves by swimming to and swamping the lifeboats which had already been launched full of women and children.
"Drill" comes perhaps from the poem "Soldier An' Sailor Too," by Rudyard Kipling, which includes the line, "But to stand an' be still to the Birken'ead drill is a damn tough bullet to chew."