Prior to Hiroshima, the worst man-made explosion occurred on December 6, 1917, at 9:05 am in the town of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Two thousand people were killed, 9,000 were injured. Three hundred and twenty-five acres were destroyed. What caused this devastation?
World War I was raging in Europe but Halifax was prospering as a jump off port for troops, supplies and munitions. A busy port with lots of people. That morning A Belgian ship, the Imo was leaving the harbour, the French, Mont Blanc was arriving. The Mont Blanc was filled with TNT, gun cotton, benzol and picric acid. Enough combustibles to blow up a city.
As a result of traffic in the channel the Imo was forced to the wrong side of the channel, and misunderstood signals between the 2 ships resulted in a collision.
The crew of the Mont Blanc knew what they were carrying. They immediately lowered their lifeboats and headed in the opposite direction of Halifax. The damaged ship started to burn from sparks lit during the impact. The moving bomb floated towards Halifax while most of the citizens watched it come toward them with interest.
When it exploded at 9:05 am, much of the area was levelled. Then the fire started and burned a great deal of the city. Portions of the ship were found miles from the harbour.
Every year on December 6 at 9am, the Memorial Bells are rung in remembrance.
You stated the explosion happened at 9:06 right at the beginning of this article and later stated the explosion happened at 9:05. WHICH ONE WAS IT?
According to wikipedia the estimate time is 9:04:35 AM Atlantic Standard Time, but I have seen reports ranging 9:04 to 9:06. I do not believe there was a formal concensus – only a best estimate – on the exact minute, considering the circumstances and year. Actually, I just found this statement on CBC.ca which will clarify the confusion:
” Disputes over time: seismograph record
For many years after the Explosion there were arguments over the exact time it happened. Some people said it was 9:06, others 9:05 or 9:07. Some said it was definitely just before…or just after, or exactly at, 9 o’clock.
The last word on the subject came from the seismograph at Dalhousie University. Its record was in storage for years, until researchers Alan Ruffman and David Simpson found it at a geological observatory in New York.
The seismograph recording proves the explosion happened at 9:04:35, plus or minus 10 seconds. this allows for 0.57 seconds for the vibration to travel from the harbour to Dalhousie…and allows for the fact that the seismograph’s clock was itself 10 seconds fast. ”
Note: None of the information mentioned in this comment statement was available online when the article was initially written. The info was taken from an actual visit to the area, and limited reliable web sources available at the time.