mont blanc used pens Halifax marks 94th anniversary of Explosion
Halifax residents gather at Fort Needham Park to hear the bells toll for nearly 2,000 souls killed during the Halifax Explosion, 94 years ago today.
It was on Dec. 6, 1917 that a French munitions ship, the SS Mont Blanc, collided with the Norwegian ship, the SS Imo, in the narrows of Halifax Harbour.
A fire aboard the Mont Blanc caused the largest man made explosion prior to the atomic bomb in Japan, levelling homes throughout north end Halifax and killing nearly 2,000 people and injuries thousands more.
was the best one I ever been to, said survivor George Sims. been to all but one. All of the bands here, the different speakers here, it very nice. Lots of people,
it nice to see all the children here. It something for them to remember. Sims was a six year old eating breakfast at the kitchen table when the explosion smashed all the windows in the house and threw his mother on top of the stove.
Mary Murphy was two years old when the explosion happened. She too noticed the many children in the audience.
to remember. Not ever to forget what happened because it was a terrible thing, Murphy told reporters following the ceremony. they lost so much. Everything was destroyed. Local historian Blair Bede tells News 95.7 the disaster struck out of the blue on an otherwise ordinary, mild Thursday.
were going to school, they were going a little later because they were trying to save fuel supplies in wartime, he said. were in their jobs, they gone to work without their heavy top coats because it was an Indian Summer day, almost a beautiful fall day. So people thought, a nice day. What could go wrong on a day like this?’ Bede says most people who saw the tragedy unfolding didn grasp the magnitude of the pending catastrophe.
people on the shore, they saw black smoke, he said. thought it was an oil ship. No big deal with an oil ship. That doesn know blow up the same way a munitions ship would. But the Royal Canadian Navy, the British Royal Navy, the firemen who were rushing to the dock, they knew they were going to danger. They didn know how much danger. The disaster forged a new and lasting friendship between Halifax and Boston that is remembered every year when provincial officials send a specially chosen Christmas tree to the Massachusetts capital.