Ships of the Halifax Explosion

Halifax Harbour was crowded with wartime shipping on December 6, 1917. Vessels were loading cargo, awaiting convoys, or under repair. The following lists include the major vessels involved or affected in the explosion. Selected vessels have links to images and more information.

The Two Ships in the Fatal Collision

Mont Blanc

 

Flag France
Type General Cargo, Munitions
Location At Narrows inbound to Bedford Basin
Fate Obliterated by blast, crew escaped

 

IMO

 

Flag Norway
Type General Cargo, charter for Belgian Relief
Location At Narrows outbound from Bedford Basin
Fate Severely damaged, driven aground, bridge & deck crew killed

Other Ships Affected by the Explosion

HMCS Acadia

 

Flag Canada
Type Auxiliary Patrol Ship acting as Bedford Basin Guard ship
Location East side, Bedford Basin entrance
Fate Minor damage. (Now part of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic & the last surviving vessel from the explosion).

 

Acadian

 

Flag Canada
Type General Cargo Inbound
Location 15 miles from Halifax
Fate Undamaged, felt concussion, saw blast cloud

 

Baleine (RCN)

 

Flag Canada
Type Minesweeping Trawler
Location Sweeping Harbour approaches for mines
Fate Felt explosion, undamaged, continued sweeps

 

Booton

 

Flag Canada
Type Tug
Location

 

Fate Towed Old Colony to No. 4 Dockyard Pier for emergency hospital duty

 

CC 1 & CC 2

 

Flag Canada
Type Submarines
Location At Dockyard Pier 1 under refit
Fate Broke moorings, minor injuries

 

CD-73

 

Flag Canada
Type Coastal Drifter acting as Duty Boat
Location To Niobe for Supplies
Fate Badly damaged, crew injured

 

Calonne

 

Flag Britain
Type General Cargo
Location Loading horses at Pier 9
Fate Severely damaged, hove over, 36 crew killed

 

HMCS Canada

 

Flag Canada
Type Auxiliary Patrol Ship
Location Dockyard Anchorage by Jetty 2
Fate Minor damage, 1 serious injury, crew sent ashore to assist

 

HMCS Cartier

 

Flag Canada
Type Auxiliary Patrol Ship
Location At Dockyard Jetty 3 following coaling
Fate Minor damage

 

HMS Changuinola

 

Flag Britain
Type Armed Merchant Cruiser (Escort Ship)
Location At Dockyard anchorage
Fate Minor Damage. Crew assists in rescue

 

Clara

 

Flag United States
Type General Cargo "Tramp Steamer"
Location Arriving Bedford Basin from Narrows
Fate Proceeded Mont Blanc through Narrows, complicating Imo and Mont Blanc manoeuvres

 

Curaca

 

Flag Britain
Type General Cargo
Location Loading horses at Pier 8
Fate Blown across harbour, sank at Tufts Cove, 45 crew killed, refloated in 1918

 

Dartmouth

 

Flag Canada
Type Harbour Ferry
Location

 

Fate Damaged but continued running

 

Douglas H. Thomas

 

Flag Canada
Type Tug
Location At Dry Dock wharf
Fate Severe damage, 3 deaths, towed to safety in Dartmouth

 

F.W. Roebling

 

Flag Canada
Type Schooner
Location

 

Fate Severe damage, 1 death

 

HMCS Grilse

 

Flag Canada
Type Torpedo Boat Destroyer (Armed Yacht)
Location Dockyard Jetty 2 on stand by for Harbour Defence
Fate Minor damage and injuries

 

CGS Gulnare

 

Flag Canada
Type Bedford Basin Guard Vessel, anchored off Africville
Location West Side Bedford Basin entrance
Fate Minimal damage

 

Halifax (II)

 

Flag Canada
Type Harbour Ferry
Location Mid Harbour approaching Halifax
Fate Serious damage but continued running. Many minor glass injuries

 

HMS Highflyer

 

Flag Britain
Type Light Cruiser
Location At Dockyard Anchorage
Fate Damaged, 3 killed 50 injuries, crew assists with rescue

 

Hilford

 

Flag Canada
Type Tug, RN Charter, Port Convoy Office
Location Returning from basin convoy liason, at Pier 9 to raise alarm
Fate Severe damage, blown out of water onto Pier 9. Only 2 survived.

 

Hovland

 

Flag Norway
Type General Cargo
Location In Dry Dock for repairs
Fate Upper works seriously damaged, five crew members killed

 

J.A. McKee

 

Flag Canada
Type Coal Carrier
Location At Dry Dock Wharf for repairs
Fate Heavily damaged, no deaths

 

HMS Knight Templar

 

Flag Britain
Type Commissioned Escort Ship
Location Alongside at Dockyard
Fate Blown adrift by explosion. Two injuries. Sends rescue party and doctor ashore to assist.

 

HMCS Lady Evelyn

 

Flag Canada
Type Auxiliary Patrol Ship
Location On Harbour Approaches patrol
Fate Felt explosion, undamaged, went to action stations to face possible attack

 

Lola R.

 

Flag Canada
Type Schooner
Location From Herring Cove to inner harbour
Fate "Blown to pieces"

 

Maggie

 

Flag Canada
Type Tug, RN Charter, Port Convoy Office
Location Downtown Halifax piers
Fate Carried relief parties & surgeons ashore from RN ships

 

HMCS Margaret

 

Flag Canada
Type Auxiliary Patrol Ship
Location At Dockyard Jetty 2
Fate Broke moorings, minor damage, two crew members killed ashore

 

Middleham Castle

 

Flag Britain
Type General Cargo
Location Preparing to leave Dry Dock wharf for sea
Fate Heavily damaged, lost funnel

 

USS Morrill

 

Flag United States
Type US Coast Guard patrol vessel
Location At anchor, Dartmouth Cove awaiting supplies
Fate Damaged

 

Musquash

 

Flag Canada
Type RCN Minesweeping Trawler
Location At Dry Dock Wharf
Fate Set afire and adrift

 

Nereid

 

Flag Canada
Type RCN Armed Tug (Examination Service)
Location At anchor off Dockyard Pier 4, near Niobe
Fate Moderate damage

 

HMCS Niobe

 

Flag Canada
Type Cruiser, Depot Ship
Location Hospital Wharf, north end of Dockyard
Fate Serious Damage. Several crew, including entire pinnace crew, killed. Surviving crew assisted ashore.

 

USS Old Colony

 

Flag United States
Type Ex passenger ship bound for Britain for naval conversion
Location At dry dock wharf awaiting boiler repair
Fate Manned as temporary hospital by naval surgeons

 

PV-V (RCN)

 

Flag Canada
Type Minesweeping trawler
Location Dockyard Jetty 3 for refit
Fate Moderate damage

 

PV-VII (RCN)

 

Flag Canada
Type General Cargo, Munitions
Location At Narrows inbound to Bedford Basin
Fate Obliterated by blast, crew escaped

 

Picton

 

Flag Britain
Type General Cargo, including munitions
Location At Sugar Refinery Wharf
Fate Badly damaged & set ablaze by explosion

 

Ragus

 

Flag Canada
Type Sugar Refinery Tug
Location At sugar refinery wharf
Fate Heavily damaged, most crew killed

 

Sambro

 

Flag Canada
Type Shipyard Tug
Location Graving Dock Wharf
Fate Sunk. Raised in 1920s and renamed Erg

 

St. Bernard

 

Flag Demerara, British Guiana
Type Schooner
Location Unloading Lumber, Pier 6
Fate Completely destroyed. Crew of 3 killed

 

Stella Maris

 

Flag Canada
Type Tug under RCN charter, ex RN gunboat
Location At Pier 6 attempting to tow Mont Blanc
Fate Severely damaged, 19 crew killed, 5 survive

 

USS Tacoma

 

Flag United States
Type Third Class Cruiser
Location 50 miles at sea off Halifax
Fate Felt blast, came into port to assist with rescue

 

Togo

 

Flag Canada
Type Tug
Location Naval Dockyard
Fate Took wounded from rescue parties to USS Old Colony

 

USS Von Steuben

 

Flag United States
Type Armed Troop Transport
Location At sea off Halifax
Fate Felt blast, came into port to assist with rescue

 

W.H. Lee

 

Flag Canada
Type Naval Motor Boat
Location At Dockyard Coaling Wharf
Fate Fought fires on damaged vessels

Abbreviations: HMCS - His Majesty's Canadian Ship (Canadian naval vessel)
HMS - His Majesty's Ship (British naval vessel)
USS - United States Ship (American naval vessel)
CGS - Canadian Government Ship
RCN - Royal Canadian Navy
RN - Royal Navy (British)