Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Halifax explosion - continuation.

The comments we've received yesterday through our Facebook page, regarding the information about the Halifax explosion in 1917, made me to do some additional research.

There are some interesting facts I've found on Maritime Museum of the Atlantic website:
"Mont Blanc load was - 2,300 tons of wet and dry picric acid, 200 tons of TNT, 10 tons of gun cotton and 35 tons of benzol: a highly explosive mixture.

Although the collision was not severe, fire immediately broke out on board the Mont-Blanc. The captain, pilot and crew, expecting the ship to blow up immediately, launched the lifeboats and took refuge on the Dartmouth shore. The ship burned for twenty minutes, drifting until it rested against Pier 6, in the Richmond district, the busy, industrial north end of Halifax. The spectacle was thrilling, and drew crowds of spectators, unaware of the danger.

Just before 9.05 a.m., the Mont-Blanc exploded. The captain, pilot and five Imo crew members were killed. All from the Mont-Blanc survived, apart from one man who later died from his wounds.

1,630 homes were completely destroyed, many by fires that quickly spread following the explosion; 12,000 houses were damaged; 6,000 people were left without shelter.

The death toll rose to just over 1,900. About 250 bodies were never identified; many victims were never found.

The captain and pilot of the Mont-Blanc and the naval commanding officer were charged with manslaughter and released on bail. Later the charges were dropped, because gross negligence causing death could not be proved against any one of them."

The Halifax explosion is considered as the largest man-made explosion prior to the Atomic bomb.
You may find more information here:

Please check our Facebook page - I've uploaded there the letter written by J.W. Freeborn, a witness to the Halifax explosion -
"the experience (...) that I hope to never have again", as he wrote in his letter.


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