The work of a local artist whose Tranmere Rovers mural sparked controversy in Oxton Village has reappeared in another part of Birkenhead.

Paul Curtis was commissioned by traditional ale house Gallagher’s to produce an artwork of the sinking of HMS Birkenhead, which occurred on February 26, 1852 - 168 years ago today.

The artist, who has shot to prominence recently with a number of significant commissions on both sides of the Mersey, finished the outstanding masterpiece on Tuesday, - a day before the anniversary.

Speaking to the Globe, Mr Curtis said: “I didn’t know a lot about it but the story is that it is a troops ship that went down off the western cape of South Africa. When it went down, the corporal told the soldiers to stand back because there was women and children on board. They were given the lifeboats.

“Many soldiers died because of this action. The Birkenhead Drill comes from HMS Birkenhead and it basically means ‘women and children first’. I’ve tried the capture the moment that it happened.”

Mr Curtis comments are backed up by a wall-hung tribute inside the pub which tells the story.

It reads: “Lt. Colonel Seton stood before his men and begged them to stand fast as any attempt to save themselves would only mean certain death for the women and children.

“The ranks of troops stood fast. Not one man tried to save himself. As if on cue the Birkenhead gave an almighty shudder and the sea started to wash right over the deck. Still the soldiers stood firm, heads held high, as they prepared themselves to make their final sacrifice.”

Wirral Globe: HMS Birkenhead and the Birkenhead Drill are remembered on the wall of Gallagher's pub in Birkenhead. Photo: Richard GarnettHMS Birkenhead and the Birkenhead Drill are remembered on the wall of Gallagher's pub in Birkenhead. Photo: Richard Garnett

Mr Curtis commenced work on the wall last Tuesday (February 18) and was hoping to be completed by the weekend but the on-going bad weather set him back considerably after rain and hail washed away everything he had done a day after starting.

Regarding future plans, he added: “I’m hopefully doing something in Southport with Red Rum before the National. A lot’s coming up now with Liverpool FC because it looks like they’re going to win the league and I’m doing a tribute to Ken Dodd. Busy times ahead.”

The artist's previous commission - the mural of a Tranmere Rovers badge in Oxton village - is subject to an on-going dispute after it emerged that planning permission had not been approved by the council.

Regarding the matter, Mr Curtis said: "From my point of view, I was commissioned to do a piece of work by the owner, who I had permission from, so that's what I did.

"It's a shame some people don't like it. I don't know what the council will do. We'll just have to wait and see."