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The current time is: 12/14/2017 8:02:05 AM
 (1914-1918) WWI Battles    
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George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5704

Halifax Explosion, Dec. 6, 1917
Posted on: 12/6/2017 7:22:06 AM
One hundred years ago today, the city of Halifax in Nova Scotia experienced the largest man made explosion ever known to man.

It remained so until 1945 and the dropping of the atomic bombs.

And even then, the Halifax explosion was used as a frame of reference as newspapers described the Hiroshima blast as 7X greater than the Halifax explosion.

The blast yield was estimated at 3 kilotons.

Some data:



Halifax harbour was a bustling place in 1917. This was the harbour where shipping of all kinds gathered before making the trip across the ocean to the UK or France with military equipment, soldiers and all the necessaries of war.

At 9:06 AM, two ships collided in the harbour. One was the Mont-Blanc, a French munitions ship that was carrying explosives below deck and with the deck covered with barrels of a flammable liquid needed in bombs.

The French crew abandoned ship as the deck was on fire. The ship drifted to the Halifax side of the narrows. On the opposite shore was the city of Dartmouth.

Unfortunately, people ran to the piers to watch the burning ship as it came to rest against Pier 6.

The greatest damage was done in the two cities. Parts of the French ship including a cannon were found 3 km from the centre of the blast.
There was nothing left of the Mont-Blanc though pieces of her were found kilometres away, often embedded in houses or buildings.

Anchor shaft of Mont-Blanc, mounted where it was found, 3.2 km south of blast site



Stern cannon of Mont-Blanc found 4.2 km to the north of blast site



And windows were shattered in Truro, NS , nearly 100 km away.

Initially, the people thought that the city was under attack by the Germans.






A bit more of the story from the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic web site:

[Read More]



Hands across the border:

There were a lot of military people in Halifax and so first aid was available though the task was enormous. First response was good.

Boston, Mass. got word of the explosion that same morning and by the evening a train loaded with medical staff an supplies was on its way to Halifax.

It was co-ordinated by the Public Safety Committee of Boston. The response was amazing and needed badly.


The people of Nova Scotia have never forgotten this response and in gratitude, a large Christmas tree is shipped to Boston each year to be erected in Boston Common.




Some old photos of the day

[Read More]


Cheers,

George

phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2597

Re: Halifax Explosion, Dec. 6, 1917
Posted on: 12/6/2017 8:44:30 AM
Thanks, George.....what a timely reminder of such a frightful incident !

All the British civilians who died from German bombardment in WW1, whether from naval fire, from Zeppelins or Gotha Bombers, did not amount to the number of Canadian civilians who were killed by that single explosion.

Regards , Phil

---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 6103
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: Halifax Explosion, Dec. 6, 1917
Posted on: 12/6/2017 8:44:50 AM
The exact number killed by the disaster is unknown. The Halifax Explosion Remembrance Book, an official database compiled in 2002 by the Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management, identified 1,950 victims.

As many as 1,600 people died immediately in the blast, tsunami, and collapse of buildings. The last body, a caretaker killed at the Exhibition Grounds, was not recovered until the summer of 1919.[104] An additional 9,000 were injured.

1,630 homes were destroyed in the explosion and fires, and another 12,000 damaged; roughly 6,000 people were left homeless and 25,000 had insufficient shelter.[106][107] The city's industrial sector was in large part gone, with many workers among the casualties and the dockyard heavily damaged.


Regard

Jim

---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5704

Re: Halifax Explosion, Dec. 6, 1917
Posted on: 12/6/2017 10:02:09 AM
There was a mention in my first post of a village at Tuft's Cove that was destroyed both by the explosion and by the tsunami that followed the explosion.

There were different names for the village. One was Turtle Grove.

What was not mentioned was that this was a Mi'kmaq village and these people never received the same level of support that others did.

The village was never rebuilt and the people were sent to other reserves.

There is a power generating station on the site today.

It wasn't until 2014 that the government, through the Dept. of National Defence, turned over 4 hectares of the land owned by DND next to Shannon Park, to the Mi'kmaq First Nations.

This settles the land claim by the Mi'kmaq that has been in dispute since the explosion in 1917.

This wasn't a massive First Nation's village in 1917. Perhaps 6 to 10 families lived there. There was a school and some people still lived in wigwams.

The caption with this photo dates it to 1906. Hard to believe that people near a city were living this way.
The photo was large so I included it as a READMORE.

[Read More]

Most of them died and the survivors lost limbs and eye sight. Vision loss due to flying glass and other debris was a problem throughout the blast zone. Doctors removed one or both eyes from over 250 people.



Lightning
Glasgow, UK
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class


Posts: 459

Re: Halifax Explosion, Dec. 6, 1917
Posted on: 12/7/2017 6:55:04 AM
A really interesting thread, thanks to all. What an awful tragedy and one that I was unaware of.

George, that photo is astonishing; a true window into a largely lost way of life.

Cheers,

Colin
---------------
"There is no course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight to the end."

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5704

Re: Halifax Explosion, Dec. 6, 1917
Posted on: 12/7/2017 7:23:31 AM
Thanks Colin.

The Mi'kmaq (sounds like migmaw) history is being revived as the whole country goes through a period of reconciliation with those who were here first.

The Mi'kmaq and the British had a very tense and violent relationship as the British colonized lands that had been used by these people for thousands of years.

The British considered that the Mi'kmaq had to be eliminated and the story of how Cornwallis offered a bounty on every Mi'kmaq scalp is well known.

It is part of the reason that the Mi'kmaq have lobbied for years to have statues of Edward Cornwallis and street signs featuring his name, replaced with something less contentious.

The relationship with Canada has also been tense as colonization stripped them of land and identity.

And so I think it appropriate that in any discussion of the Halifax explosion that the fate of the Mi'kmaq who in 1917 continued to occupy, in small numbers, the coves in Halifax harbour be recognized.

[Read More]

Cheers,

George

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 2960

Re: Halifax Explosion, Dec. 6, 1917
Posted on: 12/7/2017 6:00:23 PM
George,

Thanks for posting, it sure was a sad day for Canada, 100 yrs ago on this date!

[Read More]

Cheers
MD

---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

brian grafton
Victoria, BC, Canada
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major
Moderator


Posts: 1451

Re: Halifax Explosion, Dec. 6, 1917
Posted on: 12/7/2017 8:02:42 PM
Thanks, George. To my shame, it completely slipped my mind.

Cheers
Brian G
---------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly.

"The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5704

Re: Halifax Explosion, Dec. 6, 1917
Posted on: 12/8/2017 3:59:00 PM
This was an interesting interactive model produced by the CBC. You can travel around the blast zone.

It is interesting because it highlights the fate of some individuals like the telegrapher at the train station right next to pier 6 who got up to leave his post and then recalled that a passenger train was due and would pass right beside the burning ship.

He went back to his seat and sent a message that a munitions ship was on fire near Pier 6. That message resonated all around Nova Scotia but did save the inbound train.


Quote:
“Munitions ship on fire. Making for Pier 6. Goodbye.”


Moments later, Vince Coleman died at his post.

[Read More]


Cheers,

George

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 2960

Re: Halifax Explosion, Dec. 6, 1917
Posted on: 12/8/2017 5:18:36 PM
Hi George,

That is one cool website, & it clearly explains what happened! Just curious can some of the destruction or damage from 100 years ago still visible in Halifax today??

Thanks,
MD

BTW I wonder if MHO member Dave G could comment he currently lives in Halifax!? Dave are you out there?
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

 (1914-1918) WWI Battles    
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