The 1917 Halifax Explosion The Event

By Avril Betts CHA
On July 31, 2011
1917 was a busy time for the Port of Halifax in Nova Scotia. World Battle 1 introduced prosperity to the town and the harbour was crowded with convoys of ships loaded with war provides, food, ammunitions and troops. The convoys have been preparing for the journey to Europe to be escorted by closely-armed warships.
Several impartial vessels with their crews aboard had been anchored within the harbour. Their crews were not permitted to land for fear they could supply info to the enemy. The extra site visitors necessitated new railway traces and terminals and these have been virtually complete. The town was swollen with troops ready to sail for Europe, and troops and their families garrisoned in Halifax. The town was a popular hub with loads of employment.
On December 6 at 7.30am, the French ship Mont-Blanc sailed from her anchorage outside the harbour headed to hitch a convoy gathering in the Bedford Basin. The ship was loaded with 200 tons of TNT, 2,300 tons of moist and dry picric acid, 10 tons of gun cotton and 35 tons of a extremely explosive mixture of liquid called benzol.
At the same time the Norwegian vessel Imo, in ballast, left the Bedford Basin headed to pickup reduction provides for Belgium from the town of New York. After several badly judged manoeuvres, the Imo struck the Mont-Blanc in the bow as they each entered the realm of the Halifax Port known as the Narrows.
The collision was not severe, but fire immediately broke out on board the Mont-Blanc. Anticipating that the ship with all its explosive cargo would blow up shortly the captain, pilot and crew of the Mont-Blanc launched the lifeboats and headed for refuge on the Dartmouth shore.
The sight of this spectacle drew crowds of sightseers to the shores. The Mont-Blanc drifted burning for 20 minutes until it rested in opposition to Pier 6, the busy, industrial north end of Halifax in an area known as Richmond. Only some naval officers and a radio dispatcher have been aware of the explosive cargo and the hazard. They’d no time to warn the unaware sightseers of the upcoming hazard.
Simply round 9.05 am the Mont-Blanc exploded. The explosion blew fragments crashing via buildings and embedding themselves the place they landed, not one piece of the ship remained beside the dock where she ended her voyage.
All the pieces in its path was destroyed, Church buildings, houses, schools, factories, docks and ships. Sightseers including youngsters who had stopped on their technique to college, workmen, households in their properties, sailors on board their ships, all died instantly. Others had been shocked and bewildered with frightful injuries, including blindness from splintering glass.
5 crew members and the captain and pilot of the Imo died, all of the crew of the Mont-Blanc aside from one who died from his wounds, survived the explosion.
The rescue started shortly with effectively-disciplined troops, volunteer help and assistance from surrounding cities. Hospitals, shelters, and even several commandeered ships in the harbour quickly turned overcrowded, and several other injured and homeless were despatched to other cities by train.
Assist got here from throughout Canada, and the rest of the world, however Boston, Massachusetts was significantly generous. Yearly at Christmas a huge Christmas tree is distributed to town of Boston as a thanks from the folks of Nova Scotia.
1,630 homes had been fully destroyed, 12,000 homes had been damaged, 6,000 folks had been left homeless, and just about each pane of glass in Halifax and Dartmouth was shattered.
The death toll was more that 1,900 with approx. 250 by no means recognized, and many known victims by no means discovered.
The Halifax Aid Fee was shortly appointed, and it handled pensions, loss and harm claims, the re-housing and rehabilitation of victims. It was disbanded in 1976 when the Department of Veterans Affairs took over the pensions.
Writer’s Bio:
My name is Avril Betts, I’ve over 25 years experience in all aspects of Travel and Tourism. I hold a CHA (Certified Resort Administrator). Together with my partner Khaled Azzam we own A-Z Tours and Action Journey in North America together with Travelocity Travel Egypt in Cairo, Egypt.
I have co-chaired Atlantic Canada Showcase an International Travel Commerce Show, managed 450 volunteers for the Tall Ships Go to in July 2000, and was awarded Entrepreneur of the Yr by the Tourism Trade Association of Nova Scotia. In 1996 I hosted the president’s wives luncheon for the G7 convention. In 1988 I based the Nation Inn Association in Nova Scotia.
As an experienced speaker I’ve presented seminars for many years on topics starting from Advertising and Sales and Life Skills to Tourism, Travel and Actual Property, and operating a web based Journey business.
I take pleasure in working with vacationers to move on my knowledge to help our shoppers take advantage of their vacations. Don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or journey inquiries.
For more data and tours to Nova Scotia check out