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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.

Cadet Robert Brett, 1917
Cadet Robert Brett, 1917

Robert Benney Brett was a cadet in training at the Royal Naval College of Canada when he was injured by the Halifax Explosion.

This photograph shows the bandages covering Brett's head wounds, inflicted by flying metal and glass. Brett had commenced training at the naval college in 1915 and, along with his classmates, was waiting to take his final exam when the Mont Blanc exploded. Brett recovered and was one of three Canadian cadets subsequently posted as midshipmen to the British battleship HMS Canada for further training.

George Metcalf Archival Collection
CWM 19800603-001_52

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