Tragic Story of the Empress of Ireland
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A century after it sank to the bottom of the St. Lawrence River, the ruin of the Empress of Ireland has remained one of the most devastating tragedies in maritime history. Logan Marshall’s vivid and detailed reportage was the first account of the disaster and has endured as a classic chronicle of what happened that fateful night.
On May 28, 1914, the grand ocean liner, the Empress of Ireland, left Quebec on the St. Lawrence River, bound for an Atlantic crossing to Liverpool, England. At a few minutes before two o’clock on the morning of Friday, May 29, the Empress sighted the Norwegian collier, Storstad, at the same time as a heavy fog bank was descending. Despite warnings and evasive maneuvers, the Empress was struck on the starboard side by the Storstad, which penetrated its hull by twelve feet. The captain and crew had less than fifteen minutes to save their passengers before the ship slipped under the waves. Of the 1,475 aboard, 1,078 perished in a matter of minutes. It remains the worst peacetime catastrophe in Canadian history.
In addition to his unforgettable account of the sinking, Logan Marshall also presents a gripping retelling of the Titanic disaster, as well as other maritime tragedies. For decades, Marshall’s account of the Empress of Ireland has remained the definitive version, comparable to Walter Lord’s chronicle of the Titanic sinking, A Night to Remember.
CENTENNIAL EDITION: INCLUDES PHOTOS AND A NEW AFTERWORD UPDATING THE STORY