The Halifax Explosion
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||edHelper's suggested reading level:
||grades 3 to 5
||Flesch-Kincaid grade level:
||atomic, contents, evasive, indicate, reverse, shards, during, spite, sundown, center, crashed, booming, natural, setting, effort, spectacular
||World War, Nova Scotia, World War II, United States
The Halifax Explosion
By Mary Lynn Bushong
1 During World War I, Halifax, Nova Scotia, was a center for the war effort. The city had one of the largest and best natural harbours in the world. Her economy was booming with the war effort.
2 Across the harbour from Halifax was the city of Dartmouth. Ferries ran back and forth keeping people moving. In those days, few people had cars; most used a horse and cart.
3 The people of Halifax were proud of their harbour and the contributions they could make to the war effort. It was outside their harbour that ships would wait to join a convoy before setting off across the Atlantic.
4 The Germans had submarines that wrecked shipping whenever possible. The harbour of Halifax had a narrow entrance. At sundown a double net was pulled into place. It not only kept U-boats out but also ships.
5 In 1917, the harbour continued to get busier and busier. When the submarine net was removed in the mornings, ships were in a hurry to leave or enter the harbour.
6 On December 5, 1917, the Mont-Blanc, a French munitions ship, was late arriving at Halifax. She had to wait outside the harbour until the next morning.
7 On the same day, the Imo, a Norwegian ship, waited too long to leave the harbour and had to stay. When the net was opened the next morning, she went speeding out.
8 She safely passed two ships coming into the harbour. The Imo was on the wrong side of the shipping lanes and wanted to stay there. When the Mont-Blanc came along, she wanted to stay in her own lane, the correct one.
9 At the last minute, both ships tried evasive actions, but it was too late. The Imo crashed into the Mont-Blanc's bow. Then she began to reverse to pull herself free. That caused a spark, and the explosive contents of the Mont-Blanc began to burn.
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