The Train Dispatcher Hero Who Died To Save Hundreds Of Strangers

Samuel Reason - November 7th, 2019

Vince Coleman is a true Canadian hero, a train dispatcher who in 1917, gave up his own life to save hundreds from the SS Mont-Blanc exploding in the Halifax harbor. It was a split-second decision and it was about the fate of the train passengers bound for Halifax. Dispatcher Vince Coleman, in the minutes before the explosion, chose to stay at his post even when he knew disaster was imminent.

What happened was the SS Mont-Blanc was a french munitions ship that collided with a Norwegian vessel the SS Imo, the problem was the Mont Blanc was carrying high explosives. The ship caught fire and the crew immediately abandoned the ship, but it drifted from being in the mid-channel towards the harbor and over to Pier 6 in Halifax. In fact, in a matter of minutes, it was beached itself along the city’s coast.

After he realized that the ammunition ship Month-Blanc was on fire and would cause a massive explosion, Coleman sent out frantic messages an oncoming train full of passengers that were heading towards the city. He wanted to save the passenger’s lives and ensure the train did not come into the station. The message was indeed received, and the train was saved, however, for Coleman this decision cost him his life. It was too late to escape the oncoming blast.

The telegraph he sent became world-famous, it read the following: Hold up the train. Ammunition ship afire in harbor making for Pier 6 and will explode. Guess this is my last message. Good-bye, boys.

The message he sent not only stopped the train but reached every station from Halifax to Truro, as a result, Coleman is credited with saving thousands of lives. This is because at the time information traveled much slower, and because of his telegraph, emergency services were able to make it quickly to Halifax. Had they not came immediately, the people who did survive would surely have died in the freezing temperatures.

When Mont Blanc did explode, Coleman was killed along with nearly 2,000 other people. Coleman was made a hero, as his actions directly saved more deaths from the disaster.

Next Article
  • Byzantine Emperor Justinian II Was Called The Slit Nosed

    Justinian II or as many called him The Slit Nosed, was the last Byzantine Emperor of the Heraclian dynasty. This was a dynasty that took place from 685 to 695, and then again from 705 to 711. Justinian II had extremely ambitious plans and was passionate about growing the empire. His aim was to restore...

    Read More
  • Great Depression Started Dance Marathons For Food

    Events that offered the promise of food and money during the Great Depression attracted people like flies. As a result, huge dance marathons would happen where the winners would get food. The problem was everyone was starving with no solution in sight, they were all determined to win. This caused many dancers to suffer from...

    Read More
  • France’s Deadly WWI Red Zone

    The Zone Rouge, or Red Zone as it is known in English, is a quarantine area throughout Northeastern France that the government decided was inhabitable after World War I. Though the area is non-contiguous, it was deemed unfit for life. Originally, the land covered over 1,200 square kilometers. All of it was considered too damaged...

    Read More
  • Sally Ride First American Women In Space

    On June 18, 1983, NASA Astronaut Sally Ride became the first American woman to enter space. She launched with her four crewmates on the Shuttle Challenger, on mission STS-7. The ride had been selected with five other women to be part of NASA’s space program back in 1978. With the advances of the space shuttles...

    Read More
  • Reindeer In A WW2 Submarine

    One of the more unusual moments of World War II was when a British submarine transported around a reindeer it had been given by the Russians as a gift. In 1941, the crew of the HMS Trident was given a reindeer by the USSR navy. The reindeer then spent the next 6 weeks living with...

    Read More
  • Archduke Franz Ferdinand Killed Over 300,000 Animals While Hunting

    Over one hundred years ago, the heir to the Astro Hungarian throne was a crazy guy called Franz. Well Archduke Franz Ferdinand to be exact, his assassination led to the turn of events that caused the start of World War I. Pulling in the Russian Empire, Germany, France, Italy, China, and the U.S. into one...

    Read More
  • The Legend Of Snake Rock In Naka Cave

    Naka Cave is found in Phu Langka National Park in Thailand, and in Thai it means snake. There is a real reason for this, the cave looks like a giant snake. The texture of the stones appears to resemble the scaled skin of a snake. Over the years there have been hundreds of articles publishing...

    Read More