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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.

Albert Medal, Second Class Able Seaman William Becker
Albert Medal, Second Class Able Seaman William Becker

This medal was awarded to British sailor William Becker, the sole survivor of the volunteer crew from HMS Highflyer that came to the assistance of the SS Mont Blanc and the SS Imo following their collision.

A volunteer party led by Lieutenant Commander Thomas Triggs left the Highflyer in a ship's boat to put out the fire on the Mont Blanc and tow it away from the pier. The Mont Blanc exploded, destroying the Highflyer's boat and killing some of its crew instantly. A few survived the blast, but only Becker survived the swim to shore through icy December waters.

Albert Medal, Second Class, Able Seaman William Becker
Tilston Memorial Collection of Canadian Military Medals
CWM 19880067-001

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