Monday, December 12, 2011

Tragedy in North America's Oldest Capital


On the night of December 12, 1942, the poison of war permeating the entire world, a fire in the Knights of Columbus Hostel killed 99 and wounded an additional 109 persons who were attending a “barn dance," an activity welcomed by the hundreds of service men stationed in St. John’s.

St. John’s harbor was a staging area for transport of materiel and personnel to the European Theater.

The Canadians had set up military bases at Gander and Torbay. The Americans had leased Fort Pepperrell, and the Newfoundlanders, who at this time were not a part of the Canadian confederation, had an operational base at Shamrock Field. In addition to these varied military forces utilizing St. John’s facilities, the city was a hotbed of intrigue and was apparently overrun with foreign agents with allegiances to many interests.

And so it was that people, conditions, and ideals converged on a fateful night. A saboteur took advantage of a volatile situation and in an act of arson created the worst disaster by fire in Canadian history.

Honor and Recognition is due those who died here, for they also served in Freedom's cause.
A rather detailed but very interesting account is given here, Newfoundland’s Grand Banks Site.

4 comments:

John Cowart said...

Hi Vanilla,

I had never heard of this incident before. Important events in history tend to be important for a very short time.

For instance, this morning's Google homepage features a memorial to Robert Noyce, whoever he is. Yet, on December 7th, there was no Google graphic related to Pearl Harbor.

That stuck me as both curious and callous.

John

Marydon said...

We will have to follow up on more history ... had never heard of this before. TY for bringing it to our attention. Sounds very interesting.

Merry Christmas
TTFN ~
Marydon

Vee said...

Who said, "The more things change, the more they remain the same?" Oh for a kinder and gentler world!

vanilla said...

John, a very interesting, if little known, WWII event. I had to google Noyce. I had no clue. Pearl Harbor I remember. Always.

Marydon, history is so very interesting; and there is so much of it to explore!

Vee, :Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose" or something like that.