The four-car overnight passenger train contained a maximum of 300 people, not 700 as claimed in the Heritage Minute. Another error is the exaggeration of the number of passengers aboard the Saint John train. Earlier in the year, as the U.S. prepared to enter World War I, Phelan agreed to serve on the governor’s Committee of Safety. From there, trains were controlled on the mainline into Halifax. Stop it now. Unsure of what had happened, but fearing that it was likely disastrous, nearby communities rallied to send relief. And that is how Ann Finlayson remembers him — an ordinary family man who gave his life on an extraordinary day. Coleman was an experienced dis… One of those is the gravesite of Vince Coleman, the train dispatcher immortalized for his bravery in staying at his post to warn an incoming train of the pending danger. On the morning of December 6, 1917, two ships collided in the harbor of the Canadian province of Halifax in Nova Scotia resulting in a massive explosion that ultimately killed 2,000 people and injured thousands more. Preparatory work entailed “de-commissioning” the ship. Two men on the Halifax side who had learned that an explosion was imminent were Vincent Coleman, a railway dispatcher in the nearby railway yards, and William Lovett, chief clerk of the yards, who was warning people in the yards about the Mont-Blanc's deadly cargo. After the telegraph lines to Halifax went dead, Vincent Coleman’s last message out had flashed from station to station along the Eastern Seaboard (Mac Donald, Curse of The Narrows – The Halifax Explosion 1917, p. 103). Halifax concentrated on strengthening its rail and water transportation functions, spurred by the large-scale ocean terminals built in 1913 to export prairie grains. [10], Coleman was inducted into the Canadian Railway Hall of Fame in 2004. "Munitions ship on fire. 10 from Saint John, New Brunswick, carrying nearly 300 passengers, was due to arrive at 8:55 a.m. Before leaving the office, Lovett called CGR terminal agent Henry Dustan to warn him of a burning ship laden with explosives that were heading for the pier. The railway quickly mobilized aid, sending a dozen relief trains with fire and medical help from towns in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick on the day of the disaster, followed two days later by help from other parts of Canada and from the United States, most notably Boston. As a result of the blast, the Imo was found beached on the Dartmouth shore, lifted there by the massive tidal wave. A condominium near Mount Olivet Cemetery on Bayer's Road is named The Vincent Coleman, also in his honour. Cars were left in twisted masses. And they saw clouds coming up from the harbour. "The train was held up at Rockingham station, but it was running late to begin with," said Richard MacMichael, co-ordinator of interpretive programming at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. RELEASED 1991. When an explosion off the coast of Halifax, Nova Scotia, devastated much of the city on December 6, 1917, doctors and nurses in Boston were quick to act. They were very treasured by my grandmother.". A moving exhibit on the Explosion, "Halifax Wrecked," can be seen at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, Lower Water Street. Stop it. The line ran along the western shore of Bedford Basin from Rockingham Station to the city's passenger terminal at the North Street Station, located a mile to the south of Richmond Station. The Halifax Explosion started when two ships collided in the harbor of … The rail cars started to shake and the train came to a complete stop. No. The explosion was a cargo explosion on a ship that led to nearly two thousand deaths. In 2000, my late wife and I visited Halifax and saw some of the markers commemorating the explosion, a rather sobering experience. Coleman controlled the busy freight- and passenger-rail traffic coming and going from the Halifax peninsula. The line ran along the western shore of Bedford Basin from Rockingham Station to the city's passenger terminal at the North Street Station, located a mile to the south of Richmond Station. Train No. 10 did stop, and his message also reached every station from Halifax to Truro. Minutes later came a dull rumble from the east, like a distant thunderclap, as the largest man-made explosion in human history until that time levelled the city of Halifax. 10 passenger train was stopped just before the explosion occurred. They were the only two things that was given to her when they found the body," Finlayson said. The Halifax Explosion was disaster that occurred in Nova Scotia in Canada. "Halifax Explosion". Dec. 6, 1917. Halifax Explosion. Train dispatcher Vince Coleman sacrifices his own life to save a train from the Halifax Explosion. She can be reached at amy.smith@cbc.ca or on Twitter @amysmithcbc, Audience Relations, CBC P.O. Making for Pier 6. She remembers growing up hearing the story of Coleman, who was working as a train dispatcher at the station in the Richmond Depot just before two ships collided in Halifax Harbour. The mistreatment of African-Nova Scotians in the aftermath of the Halifax Explosion is, by now, well-known. Two ships collided in busy Halifax harbour early in the morning on December 6, 1917. As newspapers rushed to print information, stories of tragedy and survival changed as the days went on, amid the confusion, to form a picture of a developing event. Back that train up and reconsider. However, historians don't know if Coleman's frantic pleas stopped the train. "She had my grandfather's telegrapher's key and his watch. First, we watched a couple of videos – including the short Heritage Minute that showcased the efforts Vince Coleman, a train dispatcher who ran back to the office to message an incoming train full of passengers to stop them from arriving just as the explosion … Halifax never reset it; … Goodbye" — is now etched in history. Dan Conlin, "Vincent Coleman and the Halifax Explosion", "They've been acknowledged: Vince Coleman, Rita Joe chosen as new Halifax ferry names", "He loved the railway and he loved his job': Halifax ferry dedicated to Vincent Coleman", Google Maps location of Vince Coleman's burial site, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Vince_Coleman_(train_dispatcher)&oldid=993117688, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 8 December 2020, at 21:51. One of the Mont-Blanc’s cannon barrels was thrown three and a half miles, and her 1/2 ton anchor was later found two miles in the opposite direction. The Halifax Explosion. The museum holds many artifacts from the explosion. “The whole story of the Halifax Explosion could be attached to graves and gravesites at Mount Olivet Cemetery,” McSweeney said. Patrick Vincent Coleman. My 10-year-old son uses his LEGO to re-enact the events of the Halifax Explosion of December 1917, when two ships collided in Halifax harbour, creating the largest man-made explosion … At approximately 8:45 a.m., there was a collision between SS Mont-Blanc, a French munitions ship carrying a cargo of high explosives, and a Norwegian vessel, SS Imo. Moments later came word the message was received, but by then it was too late for Coleman to flee the blast. Guess this will be my last message. According to MacMechan, the train was past the point where it could be stopped because it had already passed the Rockingham station, the last station before Richmond. It destroyed much of the city and must have remained a horrific memory for those who survived. 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