Explore History

First World War (1914-1918)
The Halifax Explosion

In December 1917, a collision between the relief ship SS Imo and the munitions ship SS Mont Blanc in the port of Halifax led to a massive explosion that devastated the harbour and the city, killing thousands.

Captain Edward H. Martin
Captain Edward H. Martin

Captain Edward H. Martin was the superintendent of the dockyard at Halifax at the time of the explosion.

After 36 years in Britain's Royal Navy, Martin retired in 1909, joined Canada's newly created navy the following year, and assumed responsibility for the dockyard's operations and for the port's naval defence. Although he was on a mission in England at the time of the Halifax explosion, a subsequent enquiry raised the question of Martin's role in the disaster, including his apparent reluctance to address problems with the control of shipping in the harbour.

CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum

Fragment of the SS Mont Blanc
Halifax Pier, 1917
YMCA Building, Halifax, 1917
Dockyard Gate, Halifax, 1917
Albert Medal, First Class Lieutenant Commander Thomas Kenneth Triggs
Albert Medal, Second Class Able Seaman William Becker
HMS Highflyer
HMCS Niobe, 1917
Cadet Robert Brett, 1917
Medal Set, Robert Brett
SS Imo and Halifax Sugar Refinery
HMCS Lady Evelyn after the Halifax Explosion
Captain Edward H. Martin