1917 Halifax Explosion – Retold on Twitter

  1. Today is the 95th anniversary of the Halifax Explosion, and today the story is being retold in a modern way, care of the Nova Scotia Archives who are live-tweeting the events of the explosion. Below is a Storify I put together of the account and responses, for a much more complete and visual Storify, check out this one by Greg Pemberton.
  2. NS_Archives
    We’ll be live-tweeting the #hfxexplosion starting tomorrow morning at 7AM. This year marks the 95th anniversary.
  3. NS_Archives
    In December, 1917, Halifax Harbour was crowded with wartime shipping ow.ly/fi34n #hfxexplosion
  4. NS_Archives
    Ships loaded with supplies gathered in Bedford Basin for the voyage to Europe with heavily-armed warships as escorts. #hfxexplosion
  5. NS_Archives
    The Mont-Blanc had taken on Francis Mackay, an experienced harbour pilot. At 7:30 AM it began to make its way to the basin. #hfxexplosion
  6. Shortly into the live-tweet, other historical societies began to utilize their twitter accounts to provide additional information. The Nova Scotia Museum began tweeting information about the various ships involved with the explosion. 
  7. ns_museum
    Mont Blanc: France, General Cargo, Munitions, LOC Narrows inbound to Bedford Basin, Fate: Obliterated by blast, crew escaped #hfxexplosion
  8. NS_Archives
    In 1917, the Halifax area had a population of 65,000 people and was home to many troops awaiting embarkation for Europe. #hfxexplosion
  9. NS_Archives
    The Norwegian vessel Imo set off from the Basin bound for New York to pick up a cargo of relief supplies for Belgium. #hfxexplosion
  10. ns_museum
    IMO: Norway, General Cargo, charter for Belgian Relief, LOC Narrows outbound from Basin #hfxexplosion
  11. NS_Archives
    The Mont-Blanc was loaded with 2300 tons of wet & dry picric acid, 200 tons of TNT, 10 tons of gun cotton & 35 tons of benzol. #hfxexplosion
  12. NS_Archives
    Ships were expected to keep to the starboard (right) side of the Narrows as they passed oncoming traffic. #hfxexplosion
  13. NS_Archives
    Due to traffic, the Imo entered on the port side. It remained on that side as it passed the Stella Maris ow.ly/ficCb #hfxexplosion
  14. NS_Archives
    The Imo was traveling down the Narrows at nearly seven knots, well above the harbour speed limit of five knots. #hfxexplosion
  15. NS_Archives
    The crew of the Mont-Blanc spotted the Imo approaching very quickly in the wrong lane. #hfxexplosion
  16. NS_Archives
    Mackay gave a blast of his ship’s signal whistle to indicate that the Mont-Blanc had the right of way. #hfxexplosion
  17. NS_Archives
    Two short blasts followed from the Imo, indicating that the ship would not be able to yield its position. #hfxexplosion
  18. NS_Archives
    Mackay then ordered the Mont-Blanc to halt its engines and turn to starboard towards Dartmouth. #hfxexplosion
  19. NS_Archives
    The ships began to pass each other when the Imo reversed its engines, causing it to swing into the Mont-Blanc. #hfxexplosion
  20. NS_Archives
    Imo struck the starboard bow of Mont-Blanc. As the steel ships ground into each other, sparks flew. #hfxexplosion
  21. ns_museum
    IMO: Fate: Severely damaged, driven aground, bridge & deck crew killed #hfxexplosion
  22. NS_Archives
    Fire immediately broke out on board the Mont-Blanc. The crew, expecting the ship to blow up, took refuge in Dartmouth. #hfxexplosion
  23. NS_Archives
    Tug Stella Maris first to arrive beside burning Mont-Blanc. Capt. Horatio Brannen begins spraying ship with fire hose. #hfxexplosion
  24. ns_museum
    Stella Maris: CND Tug – RCN charter LOC Pier 6 attempting to tow Mont Blanc Fate Severely damaged, 19 crew killed, 5 survived #hfxexplosion
  25. NS_Archives
    Vince Coleman: “Hold up the train. Munitions ship on fire and making for Pier 6… goodbye boys.” ow.ly/fjz1u #hfxexplosion
  26. NS_Archives
    Naval whaler from HMS Highflyer arrives beside Mont-Blanc, orders Stella Maris to tow Mont-Blanc away from shore. #hfxexplosion
  27. ns_museum
    HMS Highflyer: Britain, Light Cruiser. LOC: Dockyard Anchorage. Fate: Damaged, 3 killed 50 injuries, crew assists with rescue #hfxexplosion
  28. NS_Archives
    Boatswain Albert Mattison arrives at Mont-Blanc with steam pinnace from HMCS Niobe to assist. #hfxexplosion
  29. NS_Archives
    Tug Stella Maris prepares heavy tow line to haul Mont-Blanc away from shore. #hfxexplosion
  30. NS_Archives
    The Mont Blanc explodes in Halifax Harbour, instantly killing 1600 people & injuring 9000 others ow.ly/fjzSq #hfxexplosion
  31. NS_Archives
    Coleman’s station, a mere 750 feet from the centre of the blast, disappeared. #hfxexplosion
  32. New Halifax Explosion donation just displayed: touching letters from family of heroic telegraph operator Vince Coleman. http://pic.twitter.com/VdqHXiIz
  33. NS_Archives
    The #hfxexplosion had more force than any man-made explosion before it. It was equivalent to ~3 kilotons of TNT. ow.ly/fjACv
  34. NS_Archives
    The blast caused a wave that washed up as high as 18 meters above the harbour’s high-water mark on the Halifax side. #hfxexplosion
  35. #halifax #novascotia #explosion #halifaxexplosion #1917 #95years #instacollage #nofilter #tbt #throwbackthur http://instagr.am/p/S5pjlLwJr4/
  36. TORailwayMuseum
    The Halifax Explosion was the worst disaster in Canadian history and the largest man-made explosion prior to Hiroshima. 3/7
  37. NS_Archives
    For almost two kilometres around the blast’s centre there was total devastation. ow.ly/fjBbw #hfxexplosion
  38. In the wake of the disaster, there was an immediate call put out for relief.
  39. NS_Archives
    Dominion Atlantic Railway manager G. Graham wires Kentville “Organize a relief train & send word to Wolfville & Windsor…” #hfxexplosion
  40. NS_Archives
    Graham: “…round up all doctors & nurses. No time to explain details but list of casualties is enormous.” #hfxexplosion
  41. NS_Archives
    Halifax had 15 public, military, & private hospitals in 1917. They were soon overflowing. ow.ly/fzPmq #hfxexplosion
  42. The town of Boston sent relief trains and supplies to aid in the recovery. Since then, each year the people of Nova Scotia have sent the people of Boston a Christmas tree in appreciation of their generosity and compassion. This year the tree has its own twitter account, @TreeForBoston, and it has been tweeting its journey.
  43. TreeforBoston
    OMG! Welcome to my BIG day! #Boston help celebrate #treeforBoston tradition tonight and light up this trees heart!
  44. Our @markcritch ‘in the field’ this wk in Boston w/ Nova Scotia’s @treeforboston all lit up! http://pic.twitter.com/BhW4nOZj
  45. Standing tall today. A reminder of the devastating Halifax Explosion on this day in 1917. #hfxex1917 http://pic.twitter.com/hFWDmEvo
  46. The live-tweeting of an historical event is quite a new experience, one that has the potential to get people re-engaged in history. Many people who were following the live tweet chimed in with their thoughts and personal stories.
  47. CTVNews
    On this anniversary of the #HalifaxExplosion, stories are being shared on Twitter via @NS_Archives: ow.ly/fSBLg
  48. julie_m23
    Following @NS_Archives closely today as they tweet through the #hfxexplosion . The sources are giving me shivers!
  49. bushidoka
    @NS_Archives my great aunt Mary used to say that Stellarton felt the Halifax explosion and initially thought it was another mine disaster
  50. GAdv_sarah
    @ns_archives is “live tweeting” the halifax explosion today its 95th anniv – cool mix of social media, history, & story-telling. #nerdalert

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