First World War in the News is an edited review of hand-picked World War I (1914-1918) articles - covering everything from the soldiers and generals to the trenches and militaria.

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Explosions

Latest hand-picked First World War news. See also: See also 'WW1 Archives, Ancestry', 'Battlefield Casualties', 'Touring Battlefields'.

Remembering the Halifax Explosion
The First World War (1914-1918) became a reality for those living in Halifax on December 6th, 1917. The Port of Halifax was busy and the Harbour was filled with ships carrying various supplies. On December 6th, Belgian relief ship the Imo was moving out of the Bedford Basin the same time as the French munitions ship the Mont Blanc was heading into the Basin to join a convoy. When the ships passed each other the Imo struck the bow of the Mont Blanc - which was carrying 200 tonnes of TNT, 2,300 tonnes of wet and dry picric acid, 35 tonnes of benzyl, and 10 tonnes of gun cotton.
(smujournal.ca)

First World War round blows up, injures man
A cannon round from the World War I era exploded while a man tried to disassemble the projectile to recycle the brass. Vernal Miller suffered serious injuries. Metro Explosives Disposal Unit personnel said that Miller was injured by a 37mm cannon round from the WWI era. These munitions were fired from single- and multiple-barreled mounted rifles - this piece was manufactured in Paris, France, in Sept. 1916. They were a very common WWI souvenir. The shell carried either a high explosive or black powder burst charge that was initiated by an impact fuse in the nose.
(katu)

Statue for young World War One blast victims
A campaign is being mounted to commemorate the lives of children killed in a World War I blast. 7 children in Ashton were among 46 killed by an explosion at a TNT factory. The blast injured 500. A brass plaque with the names of the seven children who were killed is the only current memorial. Beth Williams, whose book The Names on the Wall is based on the explosion, said: "It was an enormous event but there is nothing about it in Portland Basin. The museum says we can have a display but we need artefacts and people to come forward with information and donate artefacts they may have. There is no memorial to the people who died and there should be."
(tamesideadvertiser)

The biggest munitions site of its kind from WWI
In March 1918, a British intelligence unit set out to blow up a huge German ammunition dump. It was an audacious mission, one that involved the clandestine use of a German plane for the daylight insertion of a demolition expert. "We would prefer to lose 10,000 men than to lose this munitions site," Belgian air force Commandant Jan Savelkoels said, quoting a WW1 German army general. The mission succeeded, insofar as it denied German forces use of that stockpile. But the saboteurs failed to destroy all the munitions, something a explosive-ordnance disposal team is now ealing nearly 9 decades later.
(estripes)

1916 Black Tom Blast - The largest explosion ever in the U.S.
The sound of the blast was unearthly, and the tremor was felt 100 miles away. The night sky over New York Harbor turned orange. The Statue of Liberty, less than a mile away, was damaged by a rain of red-hot shards of steel. The epicenter of the blast - a small island called Black Tom - all but disappeared in what was then the largest explosion ever in the U.S., on July 30, 1916 at 2:08 a.m. It destroyed 2,000 tons of munitions awaiting transfer to ships - destined for the World War I battlefields. Evidence pointed to German sabotage, and some historians regard it as the first major attack on the US by a foreign party.
(washingtonpost.com)

Munitions factory explosions dead remembered
A ceremony to remember workers killed in explosions at a munitions factory in Leeds during the First World War was taking place on Sunday. Some 37 girls and women and three men died in three explosions at the nearby Barnbow Munitions Factory. The Barnbow factory on Manston Lane was opened in 1915 and at its height employed 17,000 workers, 16,000 of them being women and girls. On December 5 1916 a huge explosion killed 35 women and injured many more. Details of the tragedies were kept secret until after the war.
(bbc)

The Halifax Explosion in 1917
The Halifax Explosion was the world's largest man-made explosion before Hiroshima. It occurred December 6, 1917, when a Belgian vessel and a French munitions carrier collided in Halifax Harbour during First World War. In 1917, Halifax was the main base of the new Canadian Navy and housed the most important army garrison in Canada. The port was a major hub of wartime operations and Harbour was crowded with warships and troop transports. Casualties of the Halifax Explosion include: over 1900 people killed, 9000 injured, 1600 buildings destroyed.
(about)


See also

'WW1 Archives, Ancestry'

'Battlefield Casualties'

'Touring Battlefields'.