Posts Tagged ‘Halifax Explosion’

Thoughts on a Strange Birthday

Author: robertinseattle

As with lots of other things in my crazy life, my birthday also has a few stories attached to it, happy and sad and everything in between. I was born on December 6th in Halifax, Nova Scotia. What was significant about that date? The Halifax Explosion happened on Dec. 6th, 1917. At 8:45 in the morning, a Norwegian relief supply ship, the Imo, collided with a French ship, the Mont Blanc, loaded with 2500 Tons of munitions. With both ships ablaze, the crews abandoned ship and they floated through the harbor until the Mont Blanc finally exploded at 9:04 a.m. Many still consider it to be the largest accidental man-made explosion in history. The explosion was measured in Megatons.

Dad had just arrived in 1916 from China as a young boy of 9 to join his Father at the Chinese laundry that he and several partners owned in Halifax. So he’d only been there a little over a year and was slowly adapting to life in a new country. On this particular morning, Dad happened to be a few minutes late leaving for school and was in a rush to run out the front door. As he grabbed the door knob to the big wooden door, the impact of the explosion literally shattered the glass from the outer door and sent the shards of glass flying into the wooden inner door that probably saved Dad from certain death had he only been mere seconds earlier. He immediately turned and hid under one of the work benches in the laundry, joined by some of the other men. No one had any idea of what had happened at that point and I’m sure it took a while for the news to travel in those days.