1917 was a busy time for the Port of Halifax in Nova Scotia. World Struggle 1 introduced prosperity to town and the harbor was crowded with convoys of ships loaded with battle provides, food, ammunition and troops. The convoys were preparing for the journey to Europe to be escorted by closely-armed warships.
A number of neutral vessels with their crews aboard were anchored in the harbor. Their crews weren’t permitted to land for concern they could supply info to the enemy. The additional site visitors necessitated new railway traces and terminals and these have been virtually complete. The city was swollen with troops ready to sail for Europe, and troops and their households garrisoned in Halifax. Town was a popular hub with plenty of employment.
On December 6 at 7.30am, the French ship Mont-Blanc sailed from her anchorage exterior the harbor headed to join 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 highly explosive combination of liquid referred to as benzol.
At the similar time the Norwegian vessel Imo, in ballast, left the Bedford Basin headed to pickup reduction supplies for Belgium from the town of New York. After several badly judged manoeuvers, the Imo struck the Mont-Blanc in the bow as they each entered the realm of the Halifax Port referred to as the Narrows.
The collision was not extreme, however fireplace immediately broke out on board the Mont-Blanc. Anticipating that the ship with all its explosive cargo would blow up rapidly 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 till it rested towards Pier 6, the busy, industrial north end of Halifax in an area generally known as Richmond. Only some naval officers and a radio dispatcher had been aware of the explosive cargo and the hazard. They had 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 by buildings and embedding themselves where they landed, not one piece of the ship remained beside the dock the place she ended her voyage. Every thing in its path was destroyed, Churches, homes, colleges, factories, docks and ships. Sightseers together with children who had stopped on their approach to school, workmen, families of their properties, sailors on board their ships, all died instantly. Others have 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 the crew of the Mont-Blanc excluding one who died from his wounds, survived the explosion.
The rescue started shortly with properly-disciplined troops, volunteer assist and assistance from surrounding cities. Hospitals, shelters, and even a number of commandeered ships in the harbor rapidly grew to become overcrowded, and several injured and homeless had been sent to different cities by train.
Help got here from all over Canada, and the rest of the world, however Boston, Massachusetts was significantly beneficiant. Every year at Christmas a huge Christmas tree is distributed to the city of Boston as a thank you from the folks of Nova Scotia.
1,630 homes were completely destroyed, 12,000 homes had been damaged, 6,000 individuals had been left homeless, and just about every pane of glass in Halifax and Dartmouth was shattered.
The demise toll was extra that 1,900 with approx. 250 never identified, and plenty of identified victims never discovered.