Unidentified Dead
Halifax Explosion

6 December 1917

Photographs of

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Located on the north side of Bayers Road,
about 40m east from the railway overpass.

GPS location:   44°39'13"N   63°37'25"W
Google map

Halifax: memorial, unidentified dead, Halifax Explosion, 6 December 1917

Photographed on 4 January 2006

Halifax: memorial, unidentified dead, Halifax Explosion, 6 December 1917

Photographed on 4 January 2006

Halifax: memorial, unidentified dead, Halifax Explosion, 6 December 1917

Photographed on 4 January 2006

Halifax: memorial, unidentified dead, Halifax Explosion, 6 December 1917

Photographed on 4 January 2006

Halifax: memorial, unidentified dead, Halifax Explosion, 6 December 1917

Photographed on 13 January 2006

Halifax: memorial, unidentified dead, Halifax Explosion, 6 December 1917
Looking northwest across Bayers Road

Photographed on 13 January 2006

Also see:   Vincent Coleman's tombstone

Links to Relevant Websites

Halifax Explosion by Wikipedia

Photograph, Public funeral of unidentified dead
Halifax, 17 December 1917

Photograph, Protestant service at funeral of unidentified dead
Halifax, 17 December 1917

Photograph, Roman Catholic service at funeral of unidentified dead
Halifax, 17 December 1917

Canadian Disasters, An Historical Survey

Explosion vessel's remnants lie in Falklands

Two days and five flights took Hubert Hall from Yarmouth County nearly to the shores of Antarctica.

On a small piece of land in the Falkland Islands, he got in a Land Rover and drove another three hours over rocky coast and peat bogs.

And there — 11,000 kilometres from Halifax — was something with great historical significance for the city, though few human eyes have seen it.

A ship once called the Imo, a smallish ocean liner later converted into a whale oil carrier, has lain there wrecked for 90 years.

Once upon a time, its pilot stubbornly refused to give way for another ship in the Narrows of Halifax Harbour, and the other ship's pilot also navigated sloppily.  The Imo ground into the side of the Mont Blanc, where the sparks started a fire.

About 20 minutes later, on Dec. 6, 1917, the explosion of the other ship's volatile cargo laid waste to two square kilometres of the city, killed almost 2,000 and injured 9,000.

Though memorials to the Halifax Explosion dot the city and its lessons are taught in schools, few Nova Scotians know that one ship survived, was patched up and went on to a new career in the South Pacific.

And only a very few dogged travellers have visited the last remnants of that ship, where it was finally grounded off the Falkland Islands in 1921.  In mid-November, Hall, a retired Marine Atlantic captain, became one of them while in the Falklands for a tour with his wife.

Getting to the wreck meant passing a colony of majestic king penguins, but they were just a side attraction, said Hall.  "It was pretty exciting," he said.

"The tide was down low enough that we could see what they think is the boiler sticking up out of the water, about 200 metres offshore.  And looking around on the rocks there was this big anchor and piles of anchor chain and some other small bits and pieces.

"It's such an important part of Halifax and Nova Scotia's history, and here I am looking at it and sitting on it, really."

The Imo's end off the Falklands is well documented, said Richard MacMichael of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax.

"Everyone knows what happened to Mont Blanc because people were finding pieces of the ship," he said.

"But for Imo, her story goes on and not a lot of people know it.  And that's unfortunate because, in all four of her lives, she had a really interesting career."

The Imo was blown ashore in Dartmouth by the explosion, with its captain and bridge crew killed.  But by the following July, it was back in the water and heading to New York for repairs.  The name was changed to the Guvernören, and it was sent south, never to return to Halifax.

The Imo saw a lot in its 32 years.  Built in 1889 by White Star, the same company that built the Titanic, it was first called the SS Runic, then the Tampican, and transported passengers on the Atlantic.  In 1912, it was sold to Norway's South Pacific Whaling Company.

The owner of the company, Johan Martin Osmundsen, tried to name the ship with his own initials — JMO — but when people started calling it Imo, the name stuck, said MacMichael.

After the explosion, it was sold to another Norwegian company.

Superstition around the huge loss of life in Halifax wouldn't stop anyone from taking on the Imo in a "waste not, want not" era, MacMichael said.  After all, even the lifeboats from the Titanic were quietly put back into circulation after a new paint job.

"For anyone that was looking to add a ship to their fleet, here's a vessel that's had a little bit of damage — pick it up, dust it off and send it back out in the water again," he said...

Halifax Explosion vessel's remnants lie in Falklands
   —  Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 6 December 2011

Photographs of War Memorials, Historic Monuments and Plaques in Nova Scotia

Halifax City Hall Halifax City Hall Halifax

Halifax war memorial, Grand Parade Halifax war memorial The Cenotaph, Grand Parade

Fort Massey Cemetery, Halifax Fort Massey Cemetery Halifax

Plaque: Old Burying Ground Old Burying Ground plaque Halifax

Welsford-Parker monument Welsford-Parker monument, Crimean War Halifax

Deadman's Island, Northwest Arm Deadman's Island Northwest Arm, Halifax

Sailor's Statue, Sackville Landing Sailor's Statue, Sackville Landing Halifax

Norwegian Memorial, Sackville Landing Norwegian memorial, Sackville Landing Halifax

Captain James Cook monument Captain James Cook monument Halifax

Alexander Keith monument Alexander Keith monument Camp Hill Cemetery, Halifax

Joe Cracker, HMS Tribune plaque Joe Cracker, HMS Tribune plaque Herring Cove

Go To:   Nova Scotia History, Chapter One

Go To:   Nova Scotia Historical Biographies

Go To:   Statutes of Nova Scotia, 1805, edited by Richard John Uniacke

Go To:   Nova Scotia Quotations

Go To:   History of Railway Companies in Nova Scotia

Go To:   History of Electric Power Companies in Nova Scotia

Go To:   History of Automobiles in Nova Scotia

Go To:   History of Telegraph and Telephone Companies in Nova Scotia

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First uploaded to the WWW:   2006 January 06
New photographs installed:   2006 January 14
Added Google Map link:   2007 December 09
Latest update:   2011 December 06