It was heard by other stations all along the Intercolonial Railway, helping railway officials to respond immediately. HMS Highflyer, along with the armed merchant cruisers HMS Changuinola, HMS Knight Templar and HMS Calgarian, sent boats ashore with rescue parties and medical personnel and soon began to take wounded aboard. [61], A cloud of white smoke rose to at least 3,600 metres (11,800 ft). [155], The event was traumatic for the whole surviving community, so the memory was largely suppressed. Good-bye boys." [26] The ship arrived in Halifax on 3 December for neutral inspection and spent two days in Bedford Basin awaiting refuelling supplies. [156] Construction began in 1964 on the Halifax North Memorial Library, designed to commemorate the victims of the explosion. By this Crash the "Mont Blanc" startet to burn. [113] A company of the Royal Canadian Engineers (RCE) repaired and converted the basement of the school to serve as a morgue and classrooms to serve as offices for the Halifax coroner. [13], Just before the First World War, the Canadian government began a determined, costly effort to develop the harbour and waterfront facilities. [72] The Royal Naval College of Canada building was badly damaged, and several cadets and instructors maimed. Le Mont-Blanc prit feu et explosa vingt minutes plus tard, tuant 2 000 personnes et en blessant des milliers d'autres. SS Mont-Blanc, a French cargo ship laden with high explosives, collided with the Norwegian vessel SS Imo in the Narrows, a strait connecting the upper Halifax Harbour to Bedford Basin. "[152] For many years afterward, the Halifax Explosion was the standard by which all large blasts were measured. Bei der Kollision geriet die Mont Blanc in Brand und explodierte. Schedule: From 20:00 on 4 Dec 2020 to 06:00 on 5 Dec 2020. Corrections? He was the only member of the eight-man crew of the fire engine Patricia to survive. The train was loaded with injured and left the city at 1:30 with a doctor aboard, to evacuate the wounded to Truro. [97][98], Surviving railway workers in the railyards at the heart of the disaster carried out rescue work, pulling people from the harbour and from under debris. Mackey gave a short blast of his ship's signal whistle to indicate that he had the right of way but was met with two short blasts from Imo, indicating that the approaching vessel would not yield its position. [73] The Richmond Railway Yards and station were destroyed, killing 55 railway workers and destroying and damaging over 500 railway cars. Halifax explosion of 1917, disaster in Halifax Harbour, Nova Scotia, Canada, in which a munitions ship exploded, killing nearly 2,000 people. [142] A reconstruction committee under Colonel Robert Low constructed 832 new housing units, which were furnished by the Massachusetts-Halifax Relief Fund. The toll of the Halifax Explosion was enormous with over 1600 men, women and children killed. The 1917 Halifax Explosion, which levelled two square kilometres of the city and shattered windows within an 80-kilometre radius, was the largest human-caused explosion prior to the atomic age. [16], The population of Halifax/Dartmouth had increased to between 60,000 and 65,000 people by 1917. [158] In 2015, the remaining fragments were shipped to Bonet's family in Montreal despite a public campaign to return the sculpture to memorial display. [66] The blast killed all but one on the whaler, everyone on the pinnace and 21 of the 26 men on Stella Maris; she ended up on the Dartmouth shore, severely damaged. Firefighter Billy Wells, who was thrown away from the explosion and had his clothes torn from his body, described the devastation survivors faced: "The sight was awful, with people hanging out of windows dead. As the Royal Canadian Navy had virtually no seaworthy ships of its own, the Royal Navy assumed responsibility for maintaining Atlantic trade routes by re-adopting Halifax as its North American base of operations. [111] A precise Mi'kmaq death toll is unknown; records show that nine bodies were recovered, and the settlement was not rebuilt in the wake of the disaster. The disaster crushed the festive hopes of thousands of Canadians in Nova Scotia: on December 6, 1917, two ships, one carrying relief for Belgium, which had been devastated by fighting in the First World War, another carrying several tonnes of high explosives, collided in Halifax … Die Halifax-Explosion war eine Katastrophe, die sich am 6. The munitions ship drifted towards the pier and after twenty minutes blew sky high. Von Steuben arrived a half-hour later. The gift was later taken over by the Nova Scotia Government to continue the goodwill gesture as well as to promote trade and tourism. [135] The inquiry's report of 4 February 1918 blamed Mont-Blanc's captain, Aimé Le Médec, the ship's pilot, Francis Mackey, and Commander F. Evan Wyatt, the Royal Canadian Navy's chief examining officer in charge of the harbour, gates and anti-submarine defences, for causing the collision. [18] Hospital ships brought the wounded to the city, and a new military hospital was constructed in the city. Lane closures: Lanes 1 and 2 will be closed. [67] All but one of the Mont-Blanc crew members survived. Chargé de munitions, il s’apprête à rejoindre un convoi vers l’Europe. Mackey was discharged on a writ of habeas corpus and the charges dropped. [26][28][29], The French cargo ship SS Mont-Blanc arrived from New York late on 5 December, under the command of Aimé Le Medec. [90] Spotting the large and rising column of smoke, Tacoma altered course and arrived to assist rescue at 2 pm. [132][133] Eventually the fear dissipated as the real cause of the explosion became known, although rumours of German involvement persisted. Halifax was isolated by the storm, and rescue committees were forced to suspend the search for survivors; the storm aided efforts to put out fires throughout the city. Trains en route from other parts of Canada and from the United States were stalled in snowdrifts, and telegraph lines that had been hastily repaired following the explosion were again knocked down. Simple monuments mark the mass graves of explosion victims at the Fairview Lawn Cemetery and the Bayers Road Cemetery. Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. That’s when, on the morning of December 6, 1917, a massive shock wave, often called the largest manmade explosion before the atomic bomb, stopped the clock. The explosion, on Thursday 6 December 1917… Tacoma was rocked so severely by the blast wave that her crew went to general quarters. Imo's prow pushed into the No. The track had become impassable after Rockingham, on the western edge of Bedford Basin. Mont-Blanc was under orders from the French government to carry her cargo from New York City via Halifax to Bordeaux, France. Canadian/Irish actor Vincent Walsh won a Gemini for best actor portraying Captain Charlie Collins. The collision cracked open the barrel of benezole, dousing the ship in flammable chemicals. [33], Imo was granted clearance to leave Bedford Basin by signals from the guard ship HMCS Acadia at approximately 7:30 on the morning of 6 December,[35] with Pilot William Hayes on board. The Canadian Government Railways created a special unit to clear and repair railway yards as well as rebuild railway piers and the Naval Dockyard. Port explosions have devastating effects far beyond the site of the actual blast. [27] Every building within a 2.6-kilometre (1.6 mi) radius, over 12,000 in total, was destroyed or badly damaged. A tsunami was formed by water surging in to fill the void;[64] it rose as high as 18 metres (60 ft) above the high-water mark on the Halifax side of the harbour. Nearly 2,000 people died and some 9,000 were injured in the disaster, which flattened more than 1 square mile (2.5 square km) of the city of Halifax. The French ship caught fire after several drums of benzol—a highly combustible motor fuel derived from coke-oven gases—tipped over on the deck, spilling their contents, which ignited, and the vessel drifted into a pier. [75][99], Led by Lieutenant Governor MacCallum Grant, leading citizens formed the Halifax Relief Commission at around noon. [125] Families recorded the deaths of five residents. The settlement, dating back to the 18th century, had been a subject of controversy because white settler landowners wanted to remove the Mi'kmaq residents. [27] Imo met American tramp steamer SS Clara being piloted up the wrong (western) side of the harbour. Unable to ground his ship for fear of a shock that would set off his explosive cargo, Mackey ordered Mont-Blanc to steer hard to port (starboard helm) and crossed the bow of Imo in a last-second bid to avoid a collision. Navigate parenthood with the help of the Raising Curious Learners podcast. [130] Immediately following the explosion, most of the German survivors in Halifax had been rounded up and imprisoned. A fire on board the French ship ignited her cargo, causing a massive explosion that devastated the Richmond district of Halifax. Le 6 décembre 1917, le Mont-Blanc arrive dans le port d’Halifax en provenance de New York. [111] About $30 million in financial aid was raised from various sources,[118] including $18 million from the federal government, over $4 million from the British government, and $750,000 from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. [95] As the rumour spread across the city, many families fled their homes. The area of Halifax along the shoreline⁠— what had been known as Richmond⁠— made up the majority of what would soon come to be known as the Devastated Area. [21], The convoys departed under the protection of British cruisers and destroyers.

Ships from Allied and neutral countries, loaded with war supplies of food, munitions, and troops, arrived and departed from Halifax as part of convoys that crossed the Atlantic with armed warships as escorts. Guess this will be my last message. Passengers and soldiers aboard used the emergency tools from the train to dig people out of houses and bandaged them with sheets from the sleeping cars. [135] Subsequent appeals to the Supreme Court of Canada (19 May 1919), and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London (22 March 1920), determined Mont-Blanc and Imo were equally to blame for navigational errors that led to the collision. [131] It turned out that the letter was actually written in Norwegian. [146] Once finished, the Hydrostone neighbourhood consisted of homes, businesses and parks, which helped create a new sense of community in the North End of Halifax. The loading of fuel was not completed until after the anti-submarine nets had been raised for the night. [96][100] The commission would continue until 1976, participating in reconstruction and relief efforts and later distributing pensions to survivors. Patrick Vincent Coleman (13 March 1872 – 6 December 1917) was a train dispatcher for the Canadian Government Railways (formerly the ICR, Intercolonial Railway of Canada) who was killed in the Halifax Explosion, but not before he sent a message to an incoming passenger train to stop out of range of the explosion. The ship entered the Narrows well above the harbour's speed limit in an attempt to make up for the delay experienced in loading her coal. Nearly all structures within an 800-metre (half-mile) radius, including the community of Richmond, were obliterated. [14] The outbreak of the war brought Halifax back to prominence. [135][138][141] No party was ever convicted for any crime or otherwise successfully prosecuted for any actions that precipitated the disaster. The five-inch (127-millimetre) hawser initially produced was deemed too small and orders for a ten-inch (254-millimetre) hawser came down. The initial informal response was soon joined by surviving policemen, firefighters and military personnel who began to arrive, as did anyone with a working vehicle; cars, trucks and delivery wagons of all kinds were enlisted to collect the wounded. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. News of the disaster spread quickly, and aid soon arrived from within Canada as well as from the United States. It’s status as the largest ice free port on the western Atlantic coast and the fact that it was the closest ice free port to Europe contributed to the hustle and bustle that it experienced in the war years. Aftermath of the 1917 Halifax Explosion [80][81][82][83] A flood of victims soon began to arrive at the city's hospitals, which were quickly overwhelmed. [123] The Halifax Remembrance Book lists 16 members of the Tufts Cove Community as dead; not all the dead listed as in Tufts Cove were Indigenous. Approximately 2,000 people were killed by the blast, debris, fires, or collapsed buildings, and an estimated 9,000 others were injured. [129] The Halifax Herald continued to propagate this belief for some time, for example reporting that Germans had mocked victims of the explosion. [24], The Norwegian ship SS Imo had sailed from the Netherlands en route to New York to take on relief supplies for Belgium, under the command of Haakon From. Construction of temporary shelters to house the many people left homeless began soon after the disaster. [62] The shock wave from the blast travelled through the earth at nearly 23 times the speed of sound and was felt as far away as Cape Breton (207 kilometres or 129 miles) and Prince Edward Island (180 kilometres or 110 miles). [93], Adding to the chaos were fears of a potential second explosion. October 22, 2020 Uncategorized 0 Comment. [148] Prime Minister Robert Borden pledged that the government would be "co-operating in every way to reconstruct the Port of Halifax: this was of utmost importance to the Empire". Shortly before 9:00 am the Imo, a Norwegian steamship carrying supplies for the Belgian Relief Commission (a World War I-era relief organization), headed out of Halifax Harbour and found itself on a collision course with the French steamship Mont-Blanc. [170] That gift was revived in 1971 by the Lunenburg County Christmas Tree Producers Association, which began an annual donation of a large tree to promote Christmas tree exports as well as acknowledge Boston's support after the explosion. These factors drove a major military, industrial, and residential expansion of the city,[11] and the weight of goods passing through the harbour increased nearly ninefold. Nine members of the Halifax Fire Department lost their lives performing their duty that day. Coleman's message was responsible for bringing all incoming trains around Halifax to a halt. Most piers returned to operation by late December and were repaired by January. The collision and fire attracted crowds of spectators on the docks and in nearby homes and streets. After the crash A growing number of Halifax citizens gathered on the street or stood. At 9:05 a.m., in the harbor of Halifax in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia, the most devastating manmade explosion in the pre-atomic age occurs when the Mont Blanc, a French munitions ship, explodes 20 minutes after colliding with another vessel. These ignited the vapours from the benzol. [117], An estimated c$35 million in damage resulted (c$591 million today). [17] Convoys carried men, animals, and supplies to the European theatre of war. [45] He first spotted Imo when she was about 0.75 miles (1.21 km) away and became concerned as her path appeared to be heading towards his ship's starboard side, as if to cut him off.