Coleman was killed in the Halifax Explosion in 1917 that claimed the lives of 2,000 and injured 9,000 more. The home that Vincent Coleman had left that morning was only 2000 feet from Ground Zero. It was a short five blocks to his workplace at the Richmond railway station. Vincent Coleman, the harbour ferry, begins service near Halifax Explosion site | National News | kelownadailycourier.ca Calgarian Jim Coleman never met his grandfather, railway dispatcher Vincent Coleman, but he's come to learn a lot about the man who died to save the lives of many. Each station agent would have quickly moved the station order boards, those semaphore blades you once saw mounted on the side of stations, dropping them from the vertical "All Clear" position to the horizontal "Stop!" Vincent Coleman, whose actions were captured in a Heritage Minute video, is being honoured at a ceremony in Halifax on Wednesday. "As a result of his actions, the other telegraph people were able to relay the message on and helped improve the expedition of the aid that came in. Today he is remembered as one of the heroic figures from the disaster. The Coleman artifacts form a special part of the Museum's permanent exhibt on the Halifax Explosion. This help, in the vital first hours was absolutely critical to the fate of for hundreds of lives as a snowstorm the next day slowed everything down. For more information about the Halifax Explosion visit The Canadian Encyclopedia. He contacted them then said these last words. As dispatcher, he was a rank above the ordinary telegraph operators in most stations. Box 500 Station A Toronto, ON Canada, M5W 1E6. Her two older children Gerald and Eleanor rushed home from school to take their mother and sister to Gottigen Street where soldiers took them to the Camp Hill Hospital. When a … 10, the overnight train from Saint John, New Brunswick. People poured out of the offices in that part of the city to watch. In his wallet that morning, tucked beside some raffle tickets for the Victory Bond drive, was a clipping about an upcoming union meeting in Montreal. It would be many decades before two-way radios were installed aboard trains. The French munitions ship Mont-Blanc had caught fire after a collision. The American relief trains did not arrive until two days later. The morning of December 6, 1917, Railway Dispatcher Vincent Coleman went to work from his home on Russell Street in the neighbourhood of Halifax's North End known as Richmond. Observing the burning ship just prior to the explosion, both he and his co-worker decided to run from what they knew would be a life-threatening situation. Website developed and maintained by Nova Scotia Communities, Culture and Heritage Contact Us Social Media, ormer Curator of Marine History (April, 2014), Vincent Coleman and the Halifax Explosion, Travelling Exhibit MS St. Louis: Ship of Fate, Teaching With Small Boats Alliance Conference, Nova Scotia Communities, Culture and Heritage. McSweeney said … Seconds later, the ship would explode and set off the 3,000 tons of explosives inside. A sailor appraised train dispatcher Vince Coleman of the danger, and rather than flee, Coleman warned incoming trains: “Hold up the train. My father talked about it. Fortunately, it was running a few minutes late and was far enough from the explosion so the blast inflicted only broken windows and minor injuries. His watch speaks grimly of the violent forces which descended on Coleman as its crystal and hands are blown away and its back is pounded in as if by hammers. 10 and save the 300 people aboard? Calgary lawyer Jim Coleman — Vince’s grandson — will deliver brief remarks during the city’s commemorative ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of the blast that killed or wounded 11,000 people. As Coleman relieved the night dispatcher at the telegraph, off in the distance there was a muffled crash, followed by a column of black smoke rising above the rows of parked freight cars in front of the station. The sailor had been sent ashore by one of the naval officers responding to the blaze, one of the few people who knew of her deadly cargo. By: Misaki Chan Vincent Coleman was born on 13 March 1872, in Halifax, Nova Scotia He has a wife named Frances Coleman and 4 Childrens . "While there may be debate whether Coleman actually stopped Train No. Vince Coleman Halifax Explosion-Vince Coleman, a railway dispatcher, sacrificed his life in order to warn an incoming train of the imminent Halifax explosion. He alerted the entire Intercolonial to this catastrophe. .. More specifically, Mr. Coleman worked for the Canadian Government Railways company during WW1. "Most of my friends didn't know anything about my grandfather. Such was the case that December morning in Halifax, when Vince Coleman, a railway dispatcher working less than a mile from the explosion, learned what the Mont-Blanc was carrying. Only known photograph of the blast, probably taken about 15 seconds after detonation from about one mile away. Rows of boxcars were vaporized while others were hurled through the air. His last message was: "Hold up the train. He left his wife Frances looking after their young two-year old daughter Eileen, dressed in a cheerful blue dress handmade by Frances. HALIFAX — He is the ultimate hero of the Halifax Explosion: Vince Coleman saved a trainload of passengers at the cost of his own life. Today marks the 100th anniversary of the Halifax Explosion, December 6, 1917. "Hold up the train. ", Audience Relations, CBC P.O. Within minutes it was due to pass along the approach tracks to the North Street Station directly in front of the blazing Mont-Blanc. The record is unclear. Come for an hour or stay for the day. Otherwise the lines would just have gone dead and hours would have been wasted figuring out what was wrong in Halifax. A few days later, searchers found Vincent Coleman's body in the wreckage of the Richmond rail yards. Frances was presented with the telegraph key, the watch and the pen of her husband who was quickly becoming famous. A single telegram saved the lives of hundreds on Dec. 6, 1917 — the day two ships collided in the Halifax Harbour, setting off an explosion that decimated the city. Guess this will be my last message. Jim Coleman said, for many years, people avoided talking about the disaster, including his grandfather's contribution. HALIFAX — Exactly one century after he died, mustachioed train dispatcher Vince Coleman’s status as the ultimate Halifax Explosion hero will be cemented Wednesday. And then at 9:05 am, Mont-Blanc exploded. Here’s a reenactment detailing Vince Coleman’s involvement in providing aid during the catastrophe. Coleman's action and results were truly heroic. Image credits: CAFinUS. "He had a choice, he had a decision to make and I think he made the right one — to stay and save the people," Jim Coleman told The Homestretch Tuesday. Guess this will be my last message. Coleman was especially worried about Passenger Train No. Vince Coleman, a train dispatcher who gave his life in the 1917 Halifax explosion to save hundreds of lives. The Heritage Minute and other sources contain historical inaccuracies in that Coleman is shown warning others in the area surrounding the depot station of the impending explosion. Did Coleman really stop Train No. Working only a few feet from the harbour with its busy piers , his job was to control the massive rail traffic generated by the crowded wartime harbour of Halifax. However a recent railway history, Built for War: Canada's Intercolonial by Jay Underwood, records an article in the December 7, 1917 Moncton Transcript newspaper which indicates that Coleman did stop the train: "Conductor Gillespie Had a Marvelous Escape From Death—Conductor Gillespie, who went to Halifax on No. May be reproduced for personal and study purposes only. Articles belonging to telegraph operator Vince Coleman are among the artifacts from the Halifax Explosion displayed at the Maritime Museum of Atlantic in Halifax … It was the largest man-made explosion to ever happen until the atomic bomb. Ammunition ship afire in harbor making for Pier 6 and will explode. The train that Vincent Coleman stopped from entering the area had 700 people on board. Vincent Coleman's neighbourhoodNova Scotia Archives, Notman Collection. 10 Express on Thursday morning, arrived in Moncton this morning in charge of No. Canadian Government Railways Timetable Dec. 1, 1917. A very detailed account of what happened aboard Train No. Images or text not to be reproduced for commercial purposes without permission from the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. Vince Coleman’s widow, Frances, also survived. It wasn't really spoken about.". Image credits: Historica Canada. 9 Express from Halifax. Patrick Vincent "Vince" Coleman (March 13 th, 1872 - December 6 th, 1917) was a Canadian train dispatcher who lost his life during the Halifax Explosion while he warned an oncoming train about the pending disaster.. On that fateful day, the SS Mont-Blanc, a French munitions ship carrying a cargo of high explosives collided with a Norwegian vessel, SS Imo. Clearly Coleman knew the explosion was imminent and that he was staring death in the face. The Halifax Explosion was a disaster that occurred in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, on the morning of 6 December 1917. Apr 16, 2018 - 1280. Barron, Leon, retired Dominion Atlantic railway brakeman, telephone interview about station order boards and train crews. Eileen Coleman's DressMaritime Museum of the Atlantic, M2004.54.1, Gift of Janette Snooks. Coleman's station, a mere 750 feet from the centre of the blast, disappeared. 6/12/1917 The Halifax Explosion: a Canadian city devastated 06/12/2017 09/12/2017 ianmoore3000 1917 Canada , First World War , Halifax , Halifax Explosion , Vince Coleman The east coast Canadian port of Halifax is an important centre for the shipment of war materials to Europe. Eileen Coleman's Dress Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, M2004.54.1, Gift of Janette Snooks Coleman's wife Frances suffered serious back injuries. Coleman died in the explosion as did his office manager, William Lovett, and his stenographer, Florence Young. "When the ships collided, there was a huge fire aboard the ships. The choice is yours with an Annual Pass. It is a priority for CBC to create a website that is accessible to all Canadians including people with visual, hearing, motor and cognitive challenges. These were the last words of Vince Coleman, the train dispatcher who met his end on December 6, 1917, in the Halifax Explosion. Vince Coleman was also the subject of a Heritage Minute and was a prominent character in the CBC miniseries Shattered City: The Halifax Explosion. Coleman worked for what everyone in Halifax called the "Intercolonial Railway" or "ICR" even though it had been renamed "Canadian Government Railways" in 1916. Years later she would donate them to the Public Archives of Nova Scotia. Guess this will be my last message. Guess this will be my last message. Train dispatcher Vince Coleman sacrifices his own life to save a train from the Halifax Explosion. He even signed off with a telegraph shorthand for "Goodbye Boys". Vincent Coleman's penMaritime Museum of the Atlantic, M2004.50.103c, YMCA Emergency HospitalM.M.A., Kitz Collection, N-15,034. On that day, Coleman and his co-worker, Henry Dunstan got word that a ship caring explosives was docked in Halifax Harbor. 10 are safe. The rapid railway response allowed heavy equipment and construction crews to mobilize in Halifax with remarkable speed. All the crew of No. Patrick Vincent Coleman was a train dispatcher for the Canadian Government Railways who was killed in the Halifax Explosion, but not before he sent a message to an incoming passenger train to stop out of range of the explosion. Unaware of the Mont-Blanc’s cargo, crowds gathered to see the fire. Vince Coleman. The Aftermath of the Halifax Explosion & Vincent Coleman Railway Dispatcher The explosion upon December 6 1917 at 7.30am among the French mail Mont-Blanc and the Norwegian vessel Imo remaining the north conclude of the town of Halifax inside of ruins and chaos. The same year, the Coleman family donated Vincent's wallet and Eileen's dress. His train was running on time, but was held fifteen minutes by the dispatcher at Rockingham. It was crushed by the blast and buried in debris from the railway yard as tidal waves rose from the harbour and roared back and forth across the Richmond yards. A sailor apprised train dispatcher Vince Coleman of the danger, and rather than flee, Coleman warned incoming trains: “Hold up the train. They represent the many heroes of that day, the firefighters, the soldiers, sailors and the many ordinary men and women across the city who rushed into burning and collapsing houses to save family, neighbours and strangers. HALIFAX - He is the ultimate hero of the Halifax Explosion: Vince Coleman saved a trainload of passengers at the cost of his own life. The Coleman house was wrecked and then burned by the explosion. The 'ordinary man' who died for strangers when Mont-Blanc exploded, INTERACTIVE | Experience the Halifax Explosion in 360º video, Landlord of hastily evacuated apartment block calls collapse warning 'absolute lie', Alberta unveils $1.4B plan to drive innovation, boost energy industry, diversify economy, CBC's Journalistic Standards and Practices. The explosion was even heard all the way south in Massachusetts. His grandson is set to speak at the event, which marks the 100th anniversary of the day a Norwegian vessel and a French cargo ship collided, killing nearly 2,000 people and injuring 9,000. It is also very important to remember that Coleman's message had a second, arguably more important effect. Coleman's wife Frances suffered serious back injuries. Instead of running off, he stayed behind He inspire me because he's brave,smart, quick thinker... Vince Coleman & the Halifax Vincent ColemanNova Scotia Archives, 230.1, N-6198. 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. Bang, bang, bang, all the way to Truro the order boards would drop bringing all Halifax bound trains to a halt as soon as they approached their next station. A single telegram saved the lives of hundreds on Dec. 6, 1917 — the day two ships collided in the Halifax Harbour, setting off an explosion that decimated the city. The Coleman house was wrecked and then burned by the explosion. Conductor Gillespie had a narrow escape from death. Coleman's message, followed up an hour or so later by a more detailed call for help from a Halifax Intercolonial official, put an entire railways system into high gear and the Intercolonial sent six different relief trains to Halifax that day from Truro, Kentville, Amherst, New Glasgow and Moncton bringing firefighters, doctors, nurses, medical supplies and wrecking crew. 10 was gathered from interviews of passengers and crew by Archibald MacMechan in 1917 and published in Graham Metson's 1978 book The Halifax Explosion December 6, 1917. SS Mont-Blanc , a French cargo ship laden with high explosives , collided with the Norwegian vessel SS Imo in the Narrows, a strait connecting the upper Halifax Harbour to Bedford Basin . HALIFAX — Exactly one century after he died, mustachioed train dispatcher Vince Coleman’s status as the ultimate Halifax Explosion hero will be cemented Wednesday. A few years previously he was commended for helping to stop a runaway train. Pier 6 and the ship vanished in a column of flame. CNS photo/Francis Campbell, The Catholic Register The tall, gray and weathered headstone in Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery is carved with 11 names, all from the same family, and with a simple statement at the bottom: “They died Dec. 6, 1917, at 66 Veith St.” 10, that was his intention and he clearly halted all the other inbound freight and passenger trains. Patrick Vincent Coleman (13 March 1872 – 6 December 1917) was a train dispatcher for the Canadian Government Railways (formerly the ICR, Intercolonial Railway of Canada) who was killed in the Halifax Explosion, but not before he sent a message to an incoming passenger train to stop outside the range of the explosion. You can still see water stains in his wallet at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic today. Coleman no doubt died instantly at his telegraph key. The newspapers of the day recorded slight variations on the exact wording of Coleman's message but its content is consistently reported as: “Hold up the train. Today he is remembered as one of the heroic figures from the disaster. The explosion shattered the glass and hundreds and hundreds were blind or semi-blind," he said. They were transferred to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in 2005. Pier 6 and the Richmond rail yards after the explosion.MMA, Charles A. Vaughan Collection, MP207.1.184/47, N-14,020. They, too, are buried at Mount Olivet. Closed Captioning and Described Video is available for many CBC shows offered on CBC Gem. Please credit the Nova Scotia Museum, Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage. However the message sent by that telegraph key went out on the railway telegraph line and would have been heard by every station from Halifax to Truro: all along the line from Rockingham, Bedford, Windsor Junction, Elmsdale, Stewiacke and so to Truro. Coleman was a dispatch operator working at a Halifax, Nova Scotia, railroad on December 6, 1917. People were coming in from all over to help out. "In addition to people dying, lots of people lost their vision because they were looking out the window. We remember it as a great act of heroism by a telegrapher, train dispatcher Vince Coleman . Contact webmaster with questions or comments regarding this page. He says, that the explosion blew the windows out of the train at Rockingham some 4 miles from Halifax. Written by Dan Conlin, former Curator of Marine History (April, 2014). "He stopped the train but he didn't have enough time to get away from the area, and he lost his life as a result.". Without warning the munition ship exploded into flames a few hours later. He ran back into his office and started the telegraph to stop the train," Jim Coleman explained. The home that Vincent Coleman had left that morning was only 2000 feet from Ground Zero. His telegraph said “Hold up the train. Coleman's wallet and raffle ticketsMaritime Museum of the Atlantic, M2004.54.2, Gift of Janette Snooks. Today he is remembered as one of the heroic figures from the disaster. It was a split-second decision about the fate of train passengers bound for Halifax. HALIFAX - Exactly one century after he died, mustachioed train dispatcher Vince Coleman's status as the ultimate Halifax Explosion hero will be cemented Wednesday. He warned everyone that the burning Mont-Blanc was full of ammmunition and about to explode. Coleman's telegraph key, recovered from the wreckage of the station.Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, M2004.50.103a. He was also very active in his railway union. I think we, as part of Canadian history, should look back and be very proud of those people. Suddenly a naval sailor burst through the door. When I was growing up in the '50s, '60s and '70s there were no commemorative events. It had about 300 people aboard and was due in Halifax at 8:55 am. He stands with a number of heroes of the Halifax explosion such as Horatio Brennan, a heroic tugboat captain who died trying to pull Mont-Blanc away from the city. A sailor came by and said the ship was full of explosives and it was going to blow up. Ammunition ship afire in harbour making for Pier 6 and will explode. Frances and all four of her children survived and recovered. [My grandfather] tried to clear the people away, there were school children, away from there. Ammunition ship afire in harbour making for Pier 6 and will explode. Image credits: CAFinUS. Ammunition ship afire in harbour making for Pier 6 and will explode. He was 11 years old when it happened," he said. Good-bye boys.” Coleman died at Within a week, the battered wartime port of Halifax was back in action, and trains rumbled through the ruins of Richmond bringing passengers to the repaired North End station and supplies to the cleared wharves of the harbour. Vince Coleman (train dispatcher) P. Vincent Coleman (1872 - December 6, 1917) was a train dispatcher for the Canadian Government Railways (formerly the ICR, Intercolonial Railway of Canada) who was killed in the Halifax Explosion. He worked not in the grand brick passenger station on North Street but in the deceptively small wooden station in the middle of the Richmond rail yards. On Wednesday, a ferry … This is how rail traffic was controlled in 1917. He sent orders to the countless trains feeding freight into the ship filled wharves of North End Halifax as well as routing the heavy wartime passenger traffic passing into the North Street Station and the vital troop trains and hospital trains from the Pier 2 ocean liner terminal. But in recent years, there's been fresh interest, he said. The Halifax explosion is considered to be one of the largest artificial non-nuclear explosions. The kitchen sink crashed down on two year old Eileen Coleman, badly cutting her neck and leaving her little blue dress spattered with bloodstains that you can see to this day. It would be the biggest and most devastating explosion in history until the invention of the nuclear bomb. The kitchen sink crashed down on two year old Eileen Coleman, badly cutting her neck and leaving her little blue dress spattered with bloodstains that you can see to this day. Good-bye boys.”. "People just didn't talk about it and now, 100 years later, people are talking about it and wanting to learn more about it. position. Overview This lesson is based on viewing the Heritage Minute, "Halifax Explosion," which focuses on the heroic act of Vince Coleman, who died while alerting a passenger train about the explosion in Halifax harbour on December 6, 1917. "They were all heroes. 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