Explosion Logo The Explosion
• What was the impact on the city and its people?

The impact of the explosion was disasterous. Sixteen hundred people were killed outright. They were sailors looking on from the decks of their ships, rail-workers, longshoremen. They were onlookers who were drawn to the spectacle of the burning ship. They were labourers looking on from factory windows or doorways; shopkeepers, and firemen. They were wives, mothers and babies, and school children. Nine thousand others were wounded.

Like a Battlefield
When the smoke cleared, the remains of the city looked like a battlefield.

• Part I - On the Water - When the smoke cleared!

Ships were torn from their moorings, their decks swamped, superstructures crushed, members of their crews either killed outright or drowned. The tsunami was felt by ships miles outside the Harbour.

Stella Maris  The Stella Maris was moving up to the Mont-Blanc at the time of the explosion. The crew were attempting to attach a line to the Mont Blanc to tow it away from Pier 6. When the Mont-Blanc exploded the Stella Maris was swamped and thrown up onto the shore. Capt. Brannen and nineteen of the crew were killed, by some miracle William Nickerson, the second mate, and four of the crew survived. The Stella Maris was salvaged, rebuilt and put back into war service.
Curaca Sunk   At Pier 8, to the north of Pier 6, stood the steamer Curaca, that had been loading mules. The Curaca was found in the center of Tuft's Cove, across the harbour, at Dartmouth, her bow protruding from the water. The stern of the Curaca was pushed in, her masts and smokestack blown away.
St Bernard at Parsboro   Although the St Bernard was on the northern side of Pier 6, the pier offered no protection. The St Bernard was completely destroyed along with Pier 6 and the Lola R, a small schooner. Here the St Bernard is beached at Parsboro its home port, during winter prior to the explosion.
Sugar Refinery Wharf  The Picton was tied up at the Sugar Refinery Wharf just below Pier 6. At the time of the explosion she was being unloaded to undergo repairs. Her cargo included munitions. Due to the quick thinking of the longshoremen the hatches were closed. Although the Picton caught fire, it was quickly put out with the help of the crew of the tug Lee.
HMS Highflyer   In 1917 the Highflyer was the flagship for the Royal Navy in North America and the West Indies. The Highflyer was anchored by the Halifax Dockyard, awaiting the return of the whaler crew who went to assist the burning Mont Blanc. The explosion killed the crew of the whaler, three onboard the Highflyer, and 50 were injured. Although built for battle, the ship sustained significant damage. While the Highflyer underwent repairs, the crew provided rescue and relief assistance on shore. On December 11, the Highflyer escorted the first convoy to leave Halifax following the explosion.

  On the impact of the Explosion on ships in the Harbour.

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