The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #87624   Message #1637330
Posted By: Rapparee
30-Dec-05 - 09:21 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Halifax (Chuck Hall)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Halifax shipwreck and fire in WW1
If I remember my visit to Halifax rightly, you can still see evidence of the explosion. Somewhere I have a book on it.

Apparently there was enough blame to go around: ships moving which shouldn't have been, things like that. No point to it, as those involved had utterly vanished in the blast.

Here's info on some other ammunition ship disasters:

On the morning of November 10, 1944 the USS MOUNT HOOD stood at duty in Steeadler Harbor on Manus Island, which is North East of New Guinea in the South Pacific.

The ship was delivering and receiving ammunition for the 200 ships that lay in the harbor at that moment. Sailors were working in all 5 holds at the time. The ship was full of 13,910 tons of ammunition which included bombs, projectiles, fixed ammunition, rockets mortars and depth charges.

Suddenly there appeared a small explosion near the middle of the ship that was quickly followed by an enormous explosion. The radius of the smoke was 1,000 feet and the smoke quickly rose to a heigth of 7,000 feet.

The explosion caused damage to ships as far away as 2,000 yards and at least 30 of the nearby ships were damaged by the blast and flying ammunition. Major ships that were damaged were the USS ARGONNE, USS YMS-340, USS MINDANAO, USS ALHENA AND USS OBERRENDER.

Nothing remained of the ship. It was later determined that the blast tore a hole in the sea bottom 85 feet deep, 1,000 feet long and 200 feet wide.

382 sailors were killed and 371 injured on all effected ships. Needless to say no one survived aboard the USS MOUNT HOOD.

Port Chicago was a shipping town on the San Francisco Bay. Liberty Ships and Navy Ships would come into the base and be loaded with munitions that would be sent out to the Pacific Theatre of operations. Late in the night of July 17, 1944 the SS E. A. BRYAN and the SS QUINAULT VICTORY lay at Port Chicago taking on enormous amounts of bombs, ordnance and cordite. Just about the time the 1,500 residents of the town were going to bed an enormous blast broke the silence of the night, blasting both ships and the wharf area around them to shreds.

Passengers in an airplane flying over the area saw house-sized pieces of metal fly up past them.

The blast was felt in Oakland, Alameda and San Francisco. Some areas thought that another earthquake had occured. Flames could be seen from 50 miles away and buildings had structural and glass damage for 20 miles distance. All of the homes in Port Chicago were damaged. A friend of mine was in a bar in Concord and he stated that glass shattered and people hit the floor as they thought the Japanese were bombing them.

The next day almost nothing of the E.A. BRYAN was found and not much more of the QUINAULT VICTORY was located. QUINAULT VICTORY was found upside down and 500 feet from where it has been loading.

Also, very little was found of the 321 crew members who were loading ammunition on the ships that night.

April 16, 1947 -- the SS Grandcamp, a French ship, was being loaded with a mixed cargo of small arms ammunition, wire and other things. Then the ammonioum nitrate fertilizer in number 4 hold caught fire....

The result was used as an example in the book "Effects of Nuclear Weapons," both the 1957 and 1962 editions.