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The Halifax Explosion Essay Research Paper Vince

The Halifax Explosion Essay, Research Paper Vince Coleman On December sixth, 1917 a train dispatcher named Vince Coleman was running the dispatch office beside the Halifax harbor.

The Halifax Explosion Essay, Research Paper

Vince Coleman

On December sixth, 1917 a train dispatcher named Vince Coleman was running the dispatch office beside the Halifax harbor.

But one sailor who knew about the imminent explosion ran past the railway freight yards, warning Coleman and Lovett to clear out. Vince Coleman knew what was at stake when he ran back to tap out his crucial message.

Vince Coleman was thinking about the passenger trains speeding towards the threatened harbor. He had to stop them.

Coleman telegraphed his urgent warning. At precisely 9:06 the worst man-made explosion (at its time) tore through Halifax, causing two thousand deaths including the life of Vince Coleman. Nine thousand were wounded.

One brave man sacrificed his life to save seven hundred others. The seven hundred others were aboard a passenger train headed for Halifax.

The story

In many ways it was a typical early winter day in Halifax that December sixth, 1917. The sun was bright in a clear sky and the ground was clear of snow. A light haze hung over the harbor but visibility was generally very good.

During the war the harbor bustled with convoys of men and materials bound for Europe. But on the night of December fifth, two ships’ captains anxiously awaited departure. Aboard the Imo, a Belgian relief ship at anchor in the harbor, Captain From was annoyed that a late inspection had forced him to delay until morning.

Outside the harbor lay the French steamship Mont Blanc, its captain, Aim Le Medec, awaiting morning permission to the harbor and official clearance. Captain Le Medec had good reason to feel nervous. Four days earlier his freighter had been loaded with lots of picric acid, TNT, gun cotton and benzol. The Mont Blanc was a floating bomb.

At 7:30 a.m., on December sixth, the Mont Blanc began its slow entry into the harbor just as the Imo pulled up anchor. Forced to the wrong side of the channel by a steamer and tugboat, the Imo continued its improper course in direct line with the incoming Mont Blanc. The two ships sighted each other. There was confusion of whistle blasts, misunderstood signals and, at 8:45 a.m., a disastrous collision.

As blacks smoke and flames rose from the Mont Blanc, crowds gathered on the Pier to watch the excitement. Factory workers, stevedores, mothers and children rushed to the best viewing points.

The thirty-five tons of benzol that were stored on the open decks were soon to catch fire. The only man on board the ship who knew of the fragile cargo was Captain Aim Le Medec.

Boats soon were pulling up besides the floating time bomb and casually attempting to put out the fire. Some of the sailors were jumping overboard and swimming to the main land.

Then it happened! Suddenly there was an ear-piercing boom as the Mont Blanc was blown to pieces. A wave of fire swept through the north end of Halifax destroying most everything in it s path.

Then a sonic boom of air rushed through the city smashing windows and throwing glass into the people who were standing near them. In one part of the city was a military fort surrounded by a large wall. All the homes behind the fort were safe.

Last but not least a gigantic wave of water from the harbor

Covered Halifax like a blanket.

The Aftermath

When the sonic boom of air tore through Halifax it threw shards of glass into the people s eyes who were near any glass windows. At this time the medical knowledge to treat eyes was just spreading it s wings into the world.

The city of Boston sent in a lot of doctors to help the injured. Now every year the city of Halifax sends Boston a Christmas tree as a thank you gift.

Six thousand citizens were left homeless. The military built homes in Halifax for the homeless.

Mont Blanc

The Mont Blanc was an ammunition ship bound for Europe. It was coming from New York to the Halifax harbor.

The Mont Blanc was a French steamer; it was 330 feet long and 40 feet wide. Her cargo of explosives was bound for the war that was raging in Europe. The Mont Blanc would unload in Bordeaux, France. The Mont Blanc was carrying the following cargo:

· 2300 tons of wet and dry picric acid;

· 200 tons of TNT;

· 35 tons of benzol (stored on the open decks)

· 10 tons of gun cotton.

The Imo

The Imo was a Belgian relief ship. The Imo, 430 feet long and 44 feet wide, was heading for New York after its trip from Holland. She traveled as a neutral vessel and had no explosive material or guns on board.

A Survivor s Story

Swetnam Hare is one of the last remaining survivors of the explosion that tore through Halifax 80 years ago.

And she’s also one of a few survivors able to remember details of what happened after the French munitions freighter Mont Blanc collided with a Norwegian vessel, the Imo, in Halifax Harbor the morning of Dec. 6, 1917.

Swetnam Hare was six years old when the explosion devastated her house and dismantled her family.

“I don’t know if a youngster of six has reactions,” she says.

“I would sooner call them memories and they were very intermittent.”

Swetnam Hare lived in a small house on East Young Street with her Methodist minister father, Rev. William J.W. Swetnam; her mother, Lizzie; and her seven-year-old brother, Carmen.

The morning of the explosion, Dorothy’s mother was playing the piano in the living room while Carmen practiced his solo for a mission band concert that night.

Dorothy sat in a rocking chair, still confined to the house because she had whooping cough. Her father stood in the doorway, listening to his wife and son play.

“It was just a case of people being in the wrong place at the wrong time and people being in the right place,” Swetnam Hare says.

When the explosion occurred, the house collapsed, killing her mother and brother instantly.

The frightened Swetnam Hare was trapped under a jumble of plaster and broken beams.

She heard her father call out for her mother and her brother. Lizzy!!? Carmen!!?. But there was no answer.

Then Swetnam Hare yelled, “Where are you, Daddy?”

“He wasn’t very far away, because the house was very small,” she recalls.

“One thing I remember my father yelling;

Dot, you’ve got to allow yourself to be pulled out of this hole, no matter how much it hurts.’”

He sawed through the rubble with help from a couple of members of his congregation.

“When I saw and read and studied what dreadful things happened to people, I said to myself, ‘I’m one of the luckiest ones that came out of that explosion, my father and I,’” Swetnam Hare says.

Swetnam Hare says. “We escaped without a scratch, and my mother and brother were killed instantly.”

Now homeless themselves, Swetnam Hare and her father went to a friend’s house in Dartmouth.

“Our house was demolished and my father wanted to get away from it,” Swetnam stated

“Friends of his apparently offered to go through the remains of what was there, and it was rather grim even for them.”

The searchers found only two cups and two bones intact.

They thought the bones belonged to Lizzie and Carmen.

One of the cups looks like a ceramic shaving mug and has the words “Remember Me” painted on it. That mug is now part of an exhibit on the explosion at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax. Swetnam Hare believes her life might have taken another course if the explosion hadn’t occurred.

Vince Coleman

On December sixth, 1917 a train dispatcher named Vince Coleman was running the dispatch office beside the Halifax harbor.

But one sailor who knew about the imminent explosion ran past the railway freight yards, warning Coleman and Lovett to clear out. Vince Coleman knew what was at stake when he ran back to tap out his crucial message.

Vince Coleman was thinking about the passenger trains speeding towards the threatened harbor. He had to stop them.

Coleman telegraphed his urgent warning. At precisely 9:06 the worst man-made explosion (at its time) tore through Halifax, causing two thousand deaths including the life of Vince Coleman. Nine thousand were wounded.

One brave man sacrificed his life to save seven hundred others. The seven hundred others were aboard a passenger train headed for Halifax.

The story

In many ways it was a typical early winter day in Halifax that December sixth, 1917. The sun was bright in a clear sky and the ground was clear of snow. A light haze hung over the harbor but visibility was generally very good.

During the war the harbor bustled with convoys of men and materials bound for Europe. But on the night of December fifth, two ships’ captains anxiously awaited departure. Aboard the Imo, a Belgian relief ship at anchor in the harbor, Captain From was annoyed that a late inspection had forced him to delay until morning.

Outside the harbor lay the French steamship Mont Blanc, its captain, Aim Le Medec, awaiting morning permission to the harbor and official clearance. Captain Le Medec had good reason to feel nervous. Four days earlier his freighter had been loaded with lots of picric acid, TNT, gun cotton and benzol. The Mont Blanc was a floating bomb.

At 7:30 a.m., on December sixth, the Mont Blanc began its slow entry into the harbor just as the Imo pulled up anchor. Forced to the wrong side of the channel by a steamer and tugboat, the Imo continued its improper course in direct line with the incoming Mont Blanc. The two ships sighted each other. There was confusion of whistle blasts, misunderstood signals and, at 8:45 a.m., a disastrous collision.

As blacks smoke and flames rose from the Mont Blanc, crowds gathered on the Pier to watch the excitement. Factory workers, stevedores, mothers and children rushed to the best viewing points.

The thirty-five tons of benzol that were stored on the open decks were soon to catch fire. The only man on board the ship who knew of the fragile cargo was Captain Aim Le Medec.

Boats soon were pulling up besides the floating time bomb and casually attempting to put out the fire. Some of the sailors were jumping overboard and swimming to the main land.

Then it happened! Suddenly there was an ear-piercing boom as the Mont Blanc was blown to pieces. A wave of fire swept through the north end of Halifax destroying most everything in it s path.

Then a sonic boom of air rushed through the city smashing windows and throwing glass into the people who were standing near them. In one part of the city was a military fort surrounded by a large wall. All the homes behind the fort were safe.

Last but not least a gigantic wave of water from the harbor

Covered Halifax like a blanket.

The Aftermath

When the sonic boom of air tore through Halifax it threw shards of glass into the people s eyes who were near any glass windows. At this time the medical knowledge to treat eyes was just spreading it s wings into the world.

The city of Boston sent in a lot of doctors to help the injured. Now every year the city of Halifax sends Boston a Christmas tree as a thank you gift.

Six thousand citizens were left homeless. The military built homes in Halifax for the homeless.

Mont Blanc

The Mont Blanc was an ammunition ship bound for Europe. It was coming from New York to the Halifax harbor.

The Mont Blanc was a French steamer; it was 330 feet long and 40 feet wide. Her cargo of explosives was bound for the war that was raging in Europe. The Mont Blanc would unload in Bordeaux, France. The Mont Blanc was carrying the following cargo:

· 2300 tons of wet and dry picric acid;

· 200 tons of TNT;

· 35 tons of benzol (stored on the open decks)

· 10 tons of gun cotton.

The Imo

The Imo was a Belgian relief ship. The Imo, 430 feet long and 44 feet wide, was heading for New York after its trip from Holland. She traveled as a neutral vessel and had no explosive material or guns on board.

A Survivor s Story

Swetnam Hare is one of the last remaining survivors of the explosion that tore through Halifax 80 years ago.

And she’s also one of a few survivors able to remember details of what happened after the French munitions freighter Mont Blanc collided with a Norwegian vessel, the Imo, in Halifax Harbor the morning of Dec. 6, 1917.

Swetnam Hare was six years old when the explosion devastated her house and dismantled her family.

“I don’t know if a youngster of six has reactions,” she says.

“I would sooner call them memories and they were very intermittent.”

Swetnam Hare lived in a small house on East Young Street with her Methodist minister father, Rev. William J.W. Swetnam; her mother, Lizzie; and her seven-year-old brother, Carmen.

The morning of the explosion, Dorothy’s mother was playing the piano in the living room while Carmen practiced his solo for a mission band concert that night.

Dorothy sat in a rocking chair, still confined to the house because she had whooping cough. Her father stood in the doorway, listening to his wife and son play.

“It was just a case of people being in the wrong place at the wrong time and people being in the right place,” Swetnam Hare says.

When the explosion occurred, the house collapsed, killing her mother and brother instantly.

The frightened Swetnam Hare was trapped under a jumble of plaster and broken beams.

She heard her father call out for her mother and her brother. Lizzy!!? Carmen!!?. But there was no answer.

Then Swetnam Hare yelled, “Where are you, Daddy?”

“He wasn’t very far away, because the house was very small,” she recalls.

“One thing I remember my father yelling;

Dot, you’ve got to allow yourself to be pulled out of this hole, no matter how much it hurts.’”

He sawed through the rubble with help from a couple of members of his congregation.

“When I saw and read and studied what dreadful things happened to people, I said to myself, ‘I’m one of the luckiest ones that came out of that explosion, my father and I,’” Swetnam Hare says.

Swetnam Hare says. “We escaped without a scratch, and my mother and brother were killed instantly.”

Now homeless themselves, Swetnam Hare and her father went to a friend’s house in Dartmouth.

“Our house was demolished and my father wanted to get away from it,” Swetnam stated

“Friends of his apparently offered to go through the remains of what was there, and it was rather grim even for them.”

The searchers found only two cups and two bones intact.

They thought the bones belonged to Lizzie and Carmen.

One of the cups looks like a ceramic shaving mug and has the words “Remember Me” painted on it. That mug is now part of an exhibit on the explosion at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax. Swetnam Hare believes her life might have taken another course if the explosion hadn’t occurred.

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