dr martens cherry red boots Resident recalls second Halifax explosion
With the anniversary of the Halifax Explosion of 1917 taking place earlier this month (Dec. 6) and talk of Nova Scotia donating a Christmas tree to Boston as a thank you, it brought to mind for one Antigonish resident, thoughts of what is commonly known as the ‘second Halifax explosion’ which took place in 1945.
Greg Albert was only six years old back on July 18, 1945 when, as a final report indicated, a fire of unknown origins spread from the docks to an ammunition depot which was part of the Canadian Naval Ammunition Storage Depot at the Bedford Basin.
Albert was living at an orphanage in Halifax at the time and although he can’t remember its exact location, he does recall it being near Barrington Street.
“The nun was sitting on a chair and I was on kind of a hill picking black beads off the ground and then, all of a sudden, ka boom,” Albert said, recalling details which indicate the lasting impression the event has had on his memory.
“She fell off of her chair, the kids fell off their swings,
I could see chimneys falling off of houses, windows breaking out of the orphanage blues, blacks, all kinds of colours from the explosion,” Albert said.
Albert said the next couple of days they lived outside as a precaution.
“We were put outside and fed outside for three days and nights,” he said. “And I remember them going up and down the street with the loud speaker saying ‘keep your doors and windows closed.’ I don’t what the heck they would keep them closed for, they were all blown out anyways.”
He said it was never explained to them exactly what happened, but then they were just children at the time.
It’s reported around 15,000 people in Halifax and another 10,000 in Dartmouth spent the night of the explosion camped out in parks for safety reasons.
The second explosion wasn’t at all as devastating as the one 28 years earlier (one death and minor injuries reported) but Albert wonders why it isn’t referenced that often.
“There is so much about the first one but nobody really talks about the second one,” he said, noting he started to do more research on the explosion about three or four years ago because of the memories from his youth.