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Testimonials From Our Readers

 Foreword Clarion Review

   Spies, Espionage & Explosions is a what-if page-turner that will convince many that the German Empire came frighteningly close to putting its armies ashore in North America.

   While this is clearly a novel, with fictionalized dialogue and the type of character studies that one would expect from a detective thriller, historical research permeates every single sentence. Diplomatic cables, newspaper headlines and clippings, government inquiries, and academic monographs all play a role, but the book is still pleasurable to read and

avoids scholastic jargon. 

   The text’s balance between history, fiction, and well-informed conjecture is strong. By the end, the idea that the Germans had something to do with the horror at Halifax in 1917 feels concrete, especially with the revelation that, a year earlier, German carried out the Black Tom Explosion in New Jersey, also targeting stockpiles of ammunition." - Clarion Foreword Review

Kirkus Review 


   "Debut author Kane ingeniously appropriates actual history in his revisionist interpretation; for example, in real life, the famous Halifax explosion, caused by the collision of two massive vessels, was falsely rumored to be the work of German agents; here, it’s retold as an attack that William arranges.

   The author’s scholarly rigor and breadth are extraordinary throughout, and he also offers the perspectives of Canadian and British authorities, often expressed through various official memorandums.” - Kirkus Review

Paul LeDoux - Canadian International Playwright

   "Kane's long researched exploration of German espionage activities and their involvement in the catastrophic Halifax Explosion of 1917 makes for fascinating reading. The blend of fact and fiction is both compelling and entertaining. " 

Tiiu Poder - Bussiness Owner - Aproditeart and Fashion


   "Wow! Congratulations on taking it all the way. The cover looks great!  So proud of you for this major achievement. I know how it has dominated your psyche for much of your life." 


Book Resources

Book Resources Used in Developing Book

2017 - Bearing Witness - Michel Dupuis

2017 - The Halifax Explosion - Ken Cuthbertson

2017 - Betrayal Of Trust - Joel Zemel

2017 - Breaking Disaster - Newspaper Stories of the Halifax explosion - Katie Ingram

2017 - Daniel Paul - Mikmaw Elder - Jon Tattrie

2017 - Chief Lightning Bolt - Daniel N. Paul

2017 - Seven Days In May -Kim Izzo

2015 - Aftershock - Janet Maybe

2015 - The Patriot Threat - Steve Berry

2015 - War Plan Red: The United States' Secret Plan to Invade Canada and Canada's Secret Plan to Invade the United States -  Kevin Lippert 

2015 - French And Indian Wars - Walter E. Borneman

2015 - Edge of Eternity - Ken Follett

2014 - 1915, Germany's Secret War And The Hunt For The First Terriorst Cell in America - Howard Blum

2014 - The Encyclopedia of Warfare - Dennis Showalter

2014 - The Great War 1914-1918 - Hilary Brown 

2014 - Winter of the World - Ken Follett

2013 - The Great War In 3D - The Album of the Great War 1914-1918 - Jean-Pierre Verney

2013 - The War That Ended Peace - Margaret MacMillian

2013 – Cornwallis - The Violent Birth Of Halifax - Jon Tattrie

2013 - The Spy Mistress - Jennifer Chiaverini

2012 - The Lost History of 1914 -Reconsidering the Year the Great War Began - Jack Beatty

2012 – Scapegoat - Joel Zemel

2012 - Cape Breton Railways - Herb MacDonald

2012 - Nova Scotia's Role in the War of 1812 - Harry Chapman

2011 - The Town That Died - Michael Bird

2011 - Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution - Anthony C. Sutton

2011 - The Spring Rice Document - Jack Fitzgerald

2010 - The Madman And The Butcher - The Sensational Wars of Sam Hughs and General - Arthur Currie

2010 - The Persecution of Pilot Mackey - Janet Maybee

2010 - Fall of Giants - Ken Follett

2010 - An Irish Heart - How a Small Immigrant Community Shaped Canada - Sharon Doyle Driedger

2010 - Sweet Suburb - A History of Prince's Lodge, Birch Cove & Rockingham  - Sharen Ingalls And  Wayne Ingalls

2010 - The Man Who Shot The Man  - Grame Donald

2010 - Halifax Warden of the North - Thomas H. Raddell

2010 - The Story of Canada - The Epic Story of the True North Strong And Free - Nick Brune

2009 - The Fourth Horseman - Robert Koenig

2009 - Loyalists and Layabouts - Stephen Kimber

2008 - 1421 The Year A Magnificent Chinese Fleet Sailed To Italy And Ignited The Renaissance - Gavin Menzies

2008 - Battles of WWI - Martin Marix Evans

2008 - Passchendaele - Norman Leach

2008 - The Peaceful Revolution: 250 Years of Democracy in Nova Scotia - John Boileau 

2008 - Shock Troops - Tim Cook

2007 - In Secret Service - Mitch Silver

2007 - Enriched by Catastrophe: Social Work And Social Conflict - Mchelle Herbert Boyd

2007 - Flying Babies, Shads of Glass and a Bucket of Eyeballs - Fred Rockwell

2007 - A Military History of Canada - Desmond Morton

2007 - The Mapmaker's Legacy - Nineteenth Century Nova Scotia through Maps - Joan Dawson

2007 - The Halifax Connection - The Thrilling Story of a Canadian Spy in the Civil War - Marie Jakober

2006 - Turning Back the Fenians - Robert L. Dallison

2006 - We were Not The Savages - First Nation History - Daniel N. Paul

2006 - Thunder Struck - Erik Larson

2006 - The Island Of Seven Cities - Paul Chiasson

2006 - King Kaiser Tsar - Catrine Clay

2005 - 1917 Russia's Year of Revolution - Roy Bainton

2005 - Curse Of The Narrows - Laura MacDonald

2005 - The Dynamite Fiend - Ann Larabee 

2005 - A Most Damnable Invention - Dynamite, Nitrates, and the Making of the Modern World - Stephen R. Brown

2005 - A Crack in the Edge Of the World - America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906 - Simon Winchester

2004 - Explosion in Halifax Harbour - David B. Flemming

2004 - Historic North End Halifax - Paul Erickson

2004 - Fortress Halifax - Mike Parker

2002 - Halifax Street Names - Shelagh MacKenzie and Scott Robson

2002 - Tracking Doctor Lonecloud - Ruth Holmes Whitehead

2002 - The Halifax Explosion And Royal Canadian Navy - John Griffith Armstrong 

2002 - Marching As to War - Pierre Berton

2002 - Spy Wars Espionage and Canada - David Stafford & Granatstein

2002 - 1917 Halifax Explosion and American Response - Blair Beed

2002 - December 6 - Martin Cruz Smith

2002 - Sailors, Slackers and Blind Pigs - Halifax At War - Stephen Kimber

2002 - The Coasts of Canada - A History - Lesley Choyce

2000 - On Bullshit - Harry G. Frankfurt

2000 - Great Question of Canada - Edited by Rudyard Griffiths

1998 - Halifax Explosion and American Response - Blair Beed

1999 - Halifax The First 250 Years - Judith Fingard

1998 - Shattered City - Janet F. Kitz

1998 - Too Many to Mourn: One Family's Tragedy in the Halifax Explosion - James Mahar and Rowena Mahar

1998 - History with a Twist - Bruce Nunn

1998 - Newspaper - The Times of Halifax - A Celebration Of Our History, Culture and Tradition - Tony Coliaiacovo

1997 - Comic Book: The Halifax Explosion - True North Comics

1997 - Guns Germs and Steel - The Fate of Human Societies - Jared Diamond

1997 - The Angel of Darkness - Caleb Carr

1996 - Tarnished Brass - crime and Corruption in the Canadian Military - Scott Taylor & Brian Nolan

1996 - Past Futures - The Impossible Necessity of History - Ged Martin

1995 - The Town That Died - Michael J. Bird

1995 - How the Irish Saved Civilization - Thomas Cahill

1995 - How the irissh Became White - Noel Ignatiev

1995 - Story Parade - Roland H. Sherwood

1994 - Spies -The Secret Agents Who Changed The Course Of History - Ernest Volkman 

1994 - Ground Zero A Reassessment of the 1917 Explosion - Edited by: Alan Ruffman and Colin D. Howell

1993 - Canada's Enemies: Spies and Spying in the Peaceable Kingdom - Graeme Mount

1993 - Best Kept Secret - Jeffery Archer

1992 - Newspaper - Special Project Halifax Explosion - &5 Years - Daily News - Editor: Sam Bufalini

1992 - Burden of Desire - Robert MacNeil

1992 - Maritime Radical The Life And Times of Roscoe Fillmore - Nicolas Fillmore

1992 - Dartmouth's Day of Anguish: The Halifax Explosion - Harry Chapman

1992 - Survivors: Children of the Halifax Explosion - Janet Kitz

1992 - Cinder & Saltwater: Story of Atlantic Canada's Railways - Shirley E. Woods

1991 - Tin-Pots & Pirate Ships - Canadian Naval Forces & German Sea Raiders 1880-1918 - Michael L. Hadley & Rodger Sarty

1990 - Trams & Tracks - "The Birneys" of Halifax Nova Scotia - Russ Lownds  

1989 - Shattered City: The Halifax Explosion and the Road to Recovery - Janet Kitz

1989 - Canada's Submariners - 1914-1923 - Dave Perkins

1989 - Burning Conscience - The Guilt of Hiroshima - Claude Eatherly & Gunther Anders

1985 - The King's Yard An Illustrated History of the Halifax Dockyard - Marilyn Gurney Smith

1982 - The Two World Wars - Susanne Everett/Brigadier Peter Young

1981 - Scarlet to Green  - Canadian Army Intelligence 1903-1963 - Major S.R. Elliot

1981 - The Sixth of December - Jim Lotz

1978 - The Nova Scotia Historical Society 1878 - 1978 - Ven. Hasting B. Wainwright

1978 - The Halifax Explosion Dec. 6, 1917 - Graham Metson

1978 - The Halifax Explosion: December 6, 1917 - Archibald MacMechan

1978 - Nicholas And Alexandria - Robert K. Massie

1977 - Miracles and Mysteries: The Halifax Explosion: December 6, 1917 - Mary Ann Monnon

1974 - The National Dream - The Last Spike - Pierre Berton

1973 - Anarchist Peril - the Psychology of the Anarchist - Augustin Hamon 

1973 - Glimpses of Halifax, 1867-1900 - Phyllis Blakeley

1973 - World War I - David Shermer

1972 - Spy Wars - Espionage and Canada from Gouzenko to Glasnost - J.L. Granatstein & David Stafford

1967 - The McKay Motor Car - Nova Scotia's First Production Car - William H. McCurdy

1967 - the Great ship - Archibald MacMechan

1967 - Nation Of The North - S. John Rodgers, Donald F. Harris & John T. Saywell

1966 -  Hangman's Beach - Thomas H. Raddell

1965 - Halifax: Warden of the North - Thomas Raddell

1964 - The Road To Confederation - the Emergence of Canada 1863-1867 - Donald Creighton

1962 - The Town That Died - Michael J. Bird

1961 - Ordeal By Fire: Canada 1910-1945 - Ralph Allen

1960 - Governor's Lady - Thomas H. Raddell

1958 - Barometer Rising - High MacLennan

1957 - The Story of Dartmouth - John P. Martin

1950 - The Cave At Cormorant Point - A Canadian Naval Adventure - Frank Houghton

1948 - Hiroshima - The Unforgettable Account Of the Event that Opened the Atomic Age - John Hersey

1948 - Halifax: Warden of the North - Thomas H. Raddell

1948 - Historic Halifax - William Coates Borrett

1948 - The Winning of Responsible Government in Nova Scotia - Centenary Celebration - Nova Scotia Revolution (1848 - 1948)

1945 - Down East - Another Cargo of Tales Told Under The old Town Clock - William C. Borrett

1944 - Readings In Canadian History 4th Edition - R. Douglas & Donald B. Smith

1943 - Grand Parade - Renal & Hitchcock

1942 - His Majesty's Yankees - Thomas H. Raddell

1942 - Tales Told Under The Old town Clock - William C. Borrett

1941 - Barometer Rising - Hugh MacLennan

1938 - Robert Laird Borden: His Memoirs - Robert L. Borden

1932 - Final Report: Massachusetts-Halifax Health Commission - Oct. 1919 - Oct 1929 - Chairman G. Fred Pearson, K.C.

1929 - The Assassination of Lincoln - History & Myth - Lloyd Lewis

1926 - The Informer - Liam O'Flaherty

1920 - Catastrophic and Social Change: based upon a Sociological Study of the Halifax Explosion - Samuel H. Prince

1920 - Nova Scotia's Part in The Great War - M. Stuart Hunt

1918 - Nova Scotia Historical Society Volume XIX

1918 - A Romance of the Halifax Disaster - Bell MacNeil

1917 - 40 Views of the Halifax Disaster - Royal Print & Litho Ltd.

1916 - Nova Scotia Steel & Goal Co Limited -Eastern Car Company - Catalog

1915 - Boys Own Annual - Volume 38 1915-1916 - London Office

1915 - The German Spy System From Within - William Lequeux

1904 - Views of Halifax and Vicinity - Published for E. P. Charlton & Company

1893 - Nova Scotia Historical Society for the Years 1893 - 95 Volume IX

1751 - Genuine Narrative of the Transactions in Nova Scotia since the settlement June 1749 till August 5th, 1751 - John Wilson (Inspector of Stores)


Wikipedia Resources

Wikipedia Sites Used as a resource for developing the book!


List of Years in Canada.

1400 - History of Canada

1400 BCE - Timeline of the History of Canada

19th – 20 Century The Clan na Gael

1492 - Christopher Columbus -

1497 - John Cabot

1520 - João Álvares Fagundes

1523 - Giovanni da Verrazzano

1524 - French Colonization of the Americas

1524 - Giovanni da Verrazzano

1530 - Jacques Cartier

1576 - Martin Frobisher

1583 - Sir Humphrey Gilbert

1598 - The Marquis de la Roche lands

1599 - Samuel de Champlain

1600 - Name of Canada

1600 - The Mi'kmaq Territory'kmaq

1600 - The Wabanaki Confederacy

1603 - First Black Nova Scotian

1607 - British Colinization of the Americas

1621 Nova Scotia Means New Scotland in Latin

1672 - Fort Lawrence

1677 - Earl of Halifax

1686 - The Town Of Windsor

1688–97 - King William's War's_War

Father Jean Baudoin's War

1689 - Joseph-Nicolas Gautier dit Bellair

1697 - Treaty of Ryswick or Ryswyck

1700 – 1800 - Pre-Confederation

1702 -John Rous

1702 - Joseph Broussard

1702 - Queen Anne's War's_War

1704 - Windsor

1707 - Acadian Militias

1707 - Mi’kmaq Militias'kmaq_people

1709 - Brigadier-General Charles Lawrence

1710 - Acadia

1710 - Canadian Military Victories

1710 - John Gorham

1710 - Siege of Port Royal

1712 - Eastern Passage

1713 - Fortress of Louisbourg

1713 - Lieutenant General Edward Cornwallis

1713 - The Treaty of Utrecht

1722–1725 - Father Rale's War's_War

1733 - Michael Francklin or Franklin

1744–1748 - King George's War.'s_War

1745 - Naval Battle off Tatamagouche

1745 - Siege of Louisbourg

1746 - Duc d'Anville'Anville_Expedition

1749 - Father Le Loutre’s War's_War

1749 - Fort Vieux Logis

1749 - Fort Sackville

1749 - Halifax Citadel

1749 - History of Halifax

1749 - Town of Halifax

1750 - Dartmouth

1750 - Oldest Buildings in Halifax

1750 - The Battle at Chignecto

1753 - Lunenburg

1754 - Lawrencetown

1754–1763 - The French and Indian War

1755 - Fort Gaspareaux

1755 - The Northeast Coast Campaign

1755 - The Seven Years' War'_War

1756 - Fort Gaspareaux.

1760 - Étienne Bâtard

1749 - Bedford

1774 - Vice Admiral William Fitzwilliam Owen

1775 - Colonial American Military

1776 - 1st (Halifax-Dartmouth) Field Artillery Regiment, RCA

1783 - British North America

1800 Century - Timeline of Halifax Nova Scotia

1809 - Abraham Lincoln

1826 - Shubenacadie Canal

1828 - Great Migration of Canada

1832 - James W. Pumphrey

1839 - Samuel Cunard

1848 - Fenian Brotherhood

1850 - European and North American Railway (E&NA)

1850 - Pinkerton

1852 - The Grand Trunk Railway

1853- Nova Scotia Railway

1856 - Theobald Theodor Friedrich Alfred von Bethmann Hollweg

1859 - Wilhelm II

1860 - The Halifax Rifles (RCAC)

1860 - Sir Arthur George Doughty

1863 - Franz Ferdinand Archduke

1864 - The Military Honor Medal

1867 - Canadian Confederation

1867 - Patrick James Whelan

1870 - Railway Frog War

1866 - MilitaryMerit Cross

1872 - Intercolonial Railway of Canada

1873 - Sabotage

1877 - Rhodes Curry Company

1879 - Franz von Papen

1885 - Thiel Detective Service Company

1890 - Baldwin–Felts Detective Agency

1897 - Canadian Car and Foundry (CC&F)

1906 - RMS Mauretania

1908 - Johann Heinrich Graf von Bernstorff

1902 - Cunard Line

1910 -The Blue Riband Award

1910 - Admiral Sir Charles Edmund Kingsmill

1912 - Sir Cecil Arthur Spring-Rice

1913 - President Thomas Woodrow Wilson

1914 - Heinrich Friedrich Albert

1914 - Roger David Casement

1915 - Canadian Government Railways

1915 - Captain Franz Dagobert Johannes von Rintelen (

1916 - Black Tom Explosion

1916 - Pencil Bomb

1917 - USA German Saboteurs


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Chapter 6... Page 93



Chapter 99   'PREPARATIONS for WAR'



Chapter 6... Page 93



   The Indian–German Conspiracy is a series of plans starting by Indian nationalist groups to attempt Pan-Indian rebellion against the British Raj. it was formulated between the Indian revolutionary underground and exiled or self-exiled nationalists who formed, in the United States, the Ghadar Party, and in Germany. It is an Indian independence committee that a world war is coming. 

   The conspiracy was drawn up with extensive support from the German Foreign Office, the German consulate in San Francisco, as well as some support from Ottoman Turkey and the Irish republican movement. The most prominent plan is to try to attempt unrest and trigger a Pan-Indian mutiny in the British Indian Army from Punjabto Singapore. This plot is planned to be executed in February 1915 with the aim of overthrowing British rule over the Indian subcontinent. The Indo-German alliance and the conspiracy will target a worldwide British intelligence effort. This series of events is consequential to the Indian independence movement. It will become to forcing a major factor in reforming the Raj's Indian policy.

   Nationalism had become more and more prominent in India throughout the last decades of the 19th century as a result of the social, economic and political changes instituted in the country through the greater part of the century. The Indian National Congress, founded in 1885, developed as a major platform for loyalists' demands for political liberalisation and for increased autonomy. The nationalist movement grew with the founding of underground groups in the 1890s. It became particularly strong, radical and violent in Bengal and in Punjab, along with smaller but nonetheless notable movements in Maharashtra, Madras and other places of South India. In Bengal the revolutionaries more often than not recruited the educated youth of the urban middle-class Bhadralok community that epitomised the "classic" Indian revolutionary, while in Punjab the rural and military society sustained organised violence. 

   The controversial 1905 partition of Bengal had a widespread political impact. Acting as a stimulus for radical nationalist opinion in India and abroad, it became a focal issue for Indian revolutionaries. Revolutionary organisations like Jugantar and Anushilan Samiti had emerged in the 20th century. Several significant events took place. These included assassinations and attempted assassinations of civil servants, prominent public figures and Indian informants, including one in 1907 aiming to kill the Bengal Lieutenant-Governor Sir Andrew Fraser.


   Matters came to a head when the 1912 Delhi–Lahore Conspiracy, led by erstwhile Jugantar member Rash Behari Bose, attempted to assassinate the then Viceroy of India, Charles Hardinge. In the aftermath of this event, the British Indian police made concentrated police and intelligence efforts to destroy the Bengali and Punjabi revolutionary underground. Though the movement came under intense pressure for some time, Rash Behari successfully evaded capture for nearly three years. By the time war will begin in Europe, the revolutionary movement had revived in Punjab and Bengal. In Bengal the movement, with a safe haven in the French base of Chandernagore, had sufficient strength to all but paralyse the state administration.

   Jatin Mukherjee (Bagha Jatin) and Naren Bhattacharya have met with the Crown Prince of Germany during his visit to Calcutta in 1912. He obtained an assurance that they would receive supplies of arms and ammunition. At the same time an increasingly strong pan-Islamic movement started developing, mainly in the north and north-west regions of India. With the coming onset of the war, the members of this movement formed an important component of the conspiracy.

   At the time of the partition of Bengal, Shyamji Krishna Varma founded India House in London and received extensive support from notable expatriate Indians including Madam Bhikaji Cama, Lala Lajpat Rai, S. R. Rana, and Dadabhai Naoroji. The organisation – ostensibly a residence for Indian students – in reality sought to promote nationalist opinion and pro-independence work. India House drew young radical activists of the likes of M. L. Dhingra, V. D. Savarkar, V. N. Chatterjee, M. P. T. Acharya and Lala Har Dayal. It developed links with the revolutionary movement in India and nurtured it with arms, funds and propaganda. 

   The authorities in India banned Indian Sociologist and other literature published by the House as "seditious". Under V. D. Savarkar's leadership, the House rapidly developed as a centre for intellectual and political activism and as a meeting- ground for radical revolutionaries among Indian students in Britain, earning the moniker "The most dangerous organisation outside India" from Valentine Chirol.

   In 1909 in London M. L. Dhingra fatally shot Sir W. H. Curzon Wyllie, political aide-de-camp to the Secretary of State for India. In the aftermath of the assassination, the Metropolitan Police and the Home Office rapidly suppressed India House. Its leadership fled to Europe and to the United States of America. Some (like Chatterjee) moved to Germany; Har Dayal and many others moved to Paris.

   Organisations founded in the United States and in Japan emulated the example of London's India House. Krishna Varma nurtured close interactions with Turkish and Egyptian nationalists and with Clan na Gael in the United States. The joint efforts of Mohammed Barkatullah, S. L. Joshi and George Freeman founded the Pan-Aryan Association — modelled after Krishna Varma's Indian Home Rule Society — in New York in 1906.

   Barkatullah himself had become closely associated with Krishna Varma during a previous stay in London, and his subsequent career in Japan put him at the heart of Indian political activities there. Myron Phelp, an acquaintance of Krishna Varma and an admirer of Swami Vivekananda, founded an "India House" in Manhattan in New York in January 1908. Amidst a growing Indian student population, erstwhile members of the India House in London succeeded in extending the nationalist work across the Atlantic.


   The Gaelic American reprinted articles from the Indian Sociologist, while liberal press-laws allowed free circulation of the Indian Sociologist. Supporters could ship such nationalist literature and pamphlets freely across the world. New York increasingly became an important centre for the Indian movement, such that Free Hindustan— a political revolutionary journal closely mirroring the Indian Sociologist and the Gaelic American published by Taraknath Das moved in 1908 from Vancouver and Seattle to New York. Has established extensive collaboration with the Gaelic American with help from George Freeman before it was proscribed[by whom in 1910 under British diplomatic pressure. This Irish collaboration with Indian revolutionaries resulted in some of the early but failed efforts to smuggle arms into India, including a 1908 attempt on board a ship called the SS Moraitis which sailed from New York for the Persian Gulf before it was searched at Smyrna.

   The Irish community later provided valuable intelligence, logistics, communication, media, and legal support to the German, Indian, and Irish conspirators. Those involved in this liaison, and later involved in the plot, included major Irish republicans and Irish-American nationalists like John Devoy, Joseph McGarrity, Roger Casement, Éamon de Valera, Father Peter Yorke and Larry de Lacey. These contacts effectively set up a network which the German foreign office tapped into the war in Europe.

   Large-scale Indian immigration to the Pacific coast of North America, especially from Punjab, which faced an economic depression. The Canadian government met this influx with legislation aimed at limiting the entry of South Asians into Canada and at restricting the political rights of those already in the country. The Punjabi community had hitherto been an important loyal force for the British Empire and the Commonwealth. The community had expected that its commitment would be honoured with the same welcome and rights which the British and colonial governments extended to British and white immigrants. The restrictive legislation fed growing discontent, protests and anti-colonial sentiments within the community. Faced with increasingly difficult situations, the community began organising itself into political groups. Many Punjabis also moved to the United States, but they encountered similar political and social problems. Meanwhile, India House and nationalist activism of Indian students had begun declining on the east coast of North America towards 1910, but activity gradually shifted west to San Francisco. The arrival at this time of Har Dayal from Europe bridged the gap between the intellectual agitators in New York and the predominantly Punjabi labour workers and migrants in the west coast and laid the foundations of the Ghadar movement. Ghadar di gunj, an early Ghadarite compilation of nationalist and socialist literature, was banned in India.

   The Ghadar Party, initially the 'Pacific Coast Hindustan Association', was formed in the United States under the leadership of Har Dayal, with Sohan Singh Bhakna as its president. It drew members from Indian immigrants, largely from Punjab. Many of its members were also from the University of California at Berkeley including Dayal, Tarak Nath Das, Kartar Singh Sarabha and V.G. Pingle. The party quickly gained support from Indian expatriates, especially in the United States, Canada and Asia. Ghadar meetings were held in Los Angeles, Oxford, Vienna, Washington, D.C., and Shanghai.

   Ghadar's ultimate goal was to overthrow British colonial authority in India by means of an armed revolution. It viewed the Congress-led mainstream movement for dominion status modest and the latter's constitutional methods as soft. Ghadar's foremost strategy was to entice Indian soldiers to revolt. To that end, Ghadar established the Yugantar Ashram press in San Francisco. The press produced the Hindustan Ghadar newspaper and other nationalist literature.

   The party established contact with prominent revolutionaries in India, including Rash Behari Bose. An Indian edition of the Hindustan Ghadar essentially espoused the philosophies of anarchism and revolutionary terrorism against British interests in India. Political discontent and violence mounted in Punjab, and Ghadarite publications that reached Bombay from California were deemed seditious and banned by the Raj. These events, compounded by evidence of prior Ghadarite incitement in the Delhi-Lahore Conspiracy of 1912, led the British government to pressure the American State Department to suppress Indian revolutionary activities and Ghadarite literature, which emanated mostly from San Francisco.

Germany and the Berlin Committee

   With the onset of war, an Indian revolutionary group called the Berlin Committee (later called the Indian Independence Committee) was formed in Germany. Its chief architects are C. R. Pillai and V. N. Chatterjee. The committee drew members from Indian students and erstwhile members of the India House including Abhinash Bhattacharya, Dr. Abdul Hafiz, Padmanabhan Pillai, A. R. Pillai, M. P. T. Acharya and Gopal Paranjape. Germany had earlier opened the Intelligence Bureau for the East headed by archaeologist and historian Max von Oppenheim. Oppenheim and Arthur Zimmermann, the State Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the German Empire, actively supported the Berlin committee, which had links with Jatin Mukherjee— a Jugantar Party member and at the time one of the leading revolutionary figures in Bengal. The office of the 25-member committee at No.38 Wielandstrasse was accorded full embassy status.

   The German Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg authorised German activity against British India then war broke out. Germany actively support the Ghadarite plans. Using the links established between Indian and Irish residents in Germany (including Irish nationalist and poet Roger Casement) and the German Foreign Office, Oppenheim tapped into the Indo-Irish network in the United States. Har Dayal had helped organise the Ghadar party before his arrest in the United States. He however jumped bail and made his way to Switzerland, leaving the party and publications in the charge of Ram Chandra Bharadwaj, who became the Ghadar president. The German consulate in San Francisco was tasked to make contact with Ghadar leaders in California. A naval lieutenant by the name of Wilhelm von Brincken with the help of the Indian nationalist journalist Tarak Nath Das and an intermediary by the name of Charles Lattendorf established links with Bharadwaj. Meanwhile, in Switzerland the Berlin committee was able to convince Har Dayal that organising a revolution in India was feasible.

   The Canadian government refused to allow the 400 Indian passengers of the ship Komagata Maru to disembark at Vancouver. The voyage had been planned as an attempt to circumvent Canadian exclusion laws that effectively prevented Indian immigration. Before the ship reached Vancouver, German radio announced its approach, and British Columbia authorities prepared to prevent the passengers from entering Canada. The incident became a focal point for the Indian community in Canada which rallied in support of the passengers and against the government's policies. After a two-month legal battle, 24 of them were allowed to immigrate. The ship was escorted out of Vancouver by the Protected Cruiser HMCS Rainbow and returned to India.


   On reaching Calcutta, the passengers were detained under the Defense of India Act at Budge Budge by the British Indian government, which made efforts to forcibly transport them to Punjab. This caused rioting at Budge Budge and resulted in fatalities on both sides. Ghadar leaders like Barkatullah and Taraknath Das used the inflammatory passions surrounding the Komagata Maru event as a rallying point and successfully brought many disaffected Indians in North America into the party's fold.

   Efforts had begun as early as 1911 to procure arms and smuggle them into India. When a clear idea of the conspiracy emerged, more earnest and elaborate plans were made to obtain arms and to enlist international support. The Indian nationalists in Paris had, with Egyptian revolutionaries, made plans to assassinate Lord Kitchener as early as 1911. These plans were however not implemented. 

Chapter 99   'PREPARATIONS for WAR'






Confidential. Ottawa 5, June 1913

G. 14-1-2.


   I have the honour to return herewith one copy of the Proceedings of the 10th Meeting of the Interdepartmental Committee duly signed as requested in your letter C. 1009 of 30th May.

    The submission regarding Censorship has been signed by the Minister of the Naval Service and forwarded to the Privy Council.

   The report with respect to "Notification of preparations for War" is under the consideration of the Minister.

   The decision of the Militia Department regarding Emergency Legislation has been noted.

I have the honour to be,



Your obedient Servant,

Lieutenant, R.C.N.

Naval Secretary,

Interdepartmental Committee.

CC:The Military Secretary,

Interdepartmental Committee,

Department of Militia & Defence.






Fourth Meeting

3rd March. 1910

Present -

Major General Sir Percy Lake, K.C.M.G., C.B.

Rear Admiral C.E. Kingsmill A.D.C.

Brig. General W.D. Otter, C.V.O., C.B

(1) Wireless Telegraph Stations in Canada.

   The first subject for discussion was the question of the control of the  wireless Telegraphy in Canada in view of the proposal of the United Wireless company of New York to establish a number of stations in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, two stations having already been installed by this Company on the Pacific Coast of Canada.

   It was recalled that the British Government had drawn the attention of the Dominion Government to the influence of Wireless Telegraphy on questions of defense, and had urged the importance which His Majesty's Government, from a strategical point of view, attached to consultation with the local Naval and Military authorities when a site for a wireless telegraph station was under consideration, before receiving the sanction of the Dominion Government. Up to the present date the Department of Marine and Fisheries had in accordance with this always referred proposals for the installation of Wireless Telegraph Stations in Canada to the department of Militia and Defense.


  With the organization of the Naval Service of Canada it was presumed that questions regarding Wireless Telegraphy in the Dominion would now be dealt with by the Naval Service Branch of the Department of Marine and Fisheries.

   This meeting was held with the object of exchanging views upon the question of defense, both Naval and Military, as affected by Wireless Telegraphy.


   After discussion, it was agreed that in Canada the situation differed somewhat from that in the United Kingdom in as much as in the latter Wireless Telegraph Stations would, in the majority of instances, be on or near the coast, while in Canada it was quite probably that a large development of inland stations for commercial purposes would take place.

   Unless steps were taken to ensure that on emergency the Dominion Government would be able to take complete control of such stations, it is obvious that the exercise of censorship (which would be absolutely necessary in the case of a serious war in which the Empire was concerned) might give rise to serious political complications.

   For unless such right of control including the employment of British subjects as operators) were fully laid down and accepted by the Wireless Telegraph Companies in time of peace, the necessary interference with Commercial business might create considerable irritation in the United States, (assuming that country to be neutral). The government of which might find itself forced to interfere with a view to removing censorship.

  It was agreed by the Committee that the question of Military defense Would, in the case of the Dominion, be so much affected by Wireless Telegraph Systems, that, even when the control of Wireless Telegraph was entirely taken over by the Naval Service, it would still remain desirable that the views of the General Staff Branch of the Department of Militia and Defence should be sought By the service on the occasion of any proposals for important installations.

(2) Long Sault Rapids Hydro-Electric Scheme. 

   The question of the proposal to dam the Long Sault rapids, and create a Canal on the American side of the river St. Lawrence was discussed.


   It was agreed that Canadian interests require free navigation of the River St Lawrence, and that from the point of view of defense it was undesirable To have a dam placed across the river.

Bruce Hay


For Secretary

Interdepartmental Committee

Inside dispatch from the Secretary of State for the colonies to the Governor General of Canada dated 31st Jan. 1906.


SECRET c.1009.

Interdepartmental Committee

Tenth Meeting 9th April 1913

Present: -

Rear Admiral C.E. Kingsmill

Director of the Naval Service.

Major General Colin Mackenzie C.B.

Chief of the General staff

Colonel W.G. Gwatkin

General Staff Officer for Mobn.


Questions under discussion:

1. Censorship of Cables and radio-telegraphy in time of war

(see Hd.Qrs.File S.236).

2. Detention of enemy or neutral merchant ships in Canadian

ports in time of war. (see Hd.Qrs. File C.1311).

3. Consideration of O.D.C. Secret memorandum No. 455M  entitled "Notification of preparations for war (see Hd.Qrs.

File C. 1393).

4. An Emergency Powers Bill. Reconsideration of decision recorded at the 9th Meeting of the Interdepartmental Committee regarding the necessity for emergency legislation in time of peace, (see Hd.Qrs. File S.236).

1. Censorship of Cables and radio-telegraphv in time of war

 The Committee considered and drafted the terms of a submission to the Privy Council covering the report by the interdepartmental Committee on the practicability of adopting in Canada, "Regulations for censorship of submarine cable communications and certain frontier land lines throughout the British Empire and of Radio-telegraphy in the oversea possessions and protectorates" (A 1589). For terms of submission to Privy Council and copy of Report, see Appendix I.

2. Detention of enemy and neutral merchant ships in Canadian ports in time of war. 

   The Committee reviewed the steps which had been taken and considered the instructions which it was proposed should be issued to officers serving under the Departments of the Naval Service and or the Militia. The  Committee were of opinion that until the Government had considered the Overseas Defense Committee Secret Memo. No. 455 M regarding the coordinated action of all departments of state in the institution of the measures necessary on the outbreak of war it would be inadvisable to issue the instructions which had been prepared.

3. Overseas Defence Committee Secret Memorandum No. 455 M. entitled "Notification of preparations for war"

   The Committee read and considered the above mentioned memorandum and drew up a statement of their recommendations for submission to the Ministers of their respective Departments. For copy of statement see Appendix II.

4. An Emergency Powers Bill

   The Committee studied a report submitted by Colonel H. Smith, J.A.G. Militia Department, to the effect that, in his opinion, it would be sufficient if Orders-in-Council were prepared in peace time for issue in an emergency, without the necessity of resorting to emergency legislation in time of peace. The Committee decided that they were in agreement with the views expressed but would prefer to refer the question to the Justice Department in order to obtain a definite ruling regarding a matter in which other Departments of State are also interested. For copy of terms of reference and report by colonel H. Smith, see Appendix III.

George Daley Lieut-Colonel

Military Service

Interdepartmental Committee

R.W. Stevens Lieut.R.C.N.

Naval Secretary

Interdepartmental Committee





1. Assuming the neutrality of the Unite States the Committee is of the  opinion that -

(1) It would not be practicable in time of war to control the frontier land lines, save by cutting the telegraph and telephone wires which cross the border; and, if such a course were to be adopted, it is unlikely that the advantages obtained would compensate for the dislocation of trade and the injury to commercial interests which would be entailed.

(2) And should the exercise of control over frontier land lines be impracticable, nothing would be gained by curtailing the functions of radio-telegraphic installations established on the Great Lakes, or even on the Pacific Coast, unless the latter were threatened with attack.

(3) In other respects there appears to be no special difficulty in applying the Regulations under reference, subject however to the modifications set forth in Appendix I.

2. In the event of the United States being hostile, the exercise of control

would be, comparatively, a simple mater. Frontier land lines would be cut; and at radio-telegraph stations which were not closed, censorship would be rigorously enforced.

Frontier land lines

3. As regards inland telegraphs and telephones, there are -

(1) Lines owned and controlled by the Dominion Government.

(2) Lines owned and controlled by railway companies.

(3) Telegraph and telephone companies incorporated by, or under, the authority of the Dominion Parliament.

(4) Telegraph and telephone companies incorporated by, or under, the authority of the legislature of the various Provinces.

4. These different systems complicate the issue; nevertheless, so far as telegraphs are concerned, it would not be impossible to frame legislation to be put into force on the outbreak of hostilities, and it could be so arranged that telegraphic messages between the United States and Canada passed through one or more selected cities in each Province before being sent on to their destination.

5. But, except by cutting the wires and thereby dislocating business, it would be impossible to control long distance telephones, or the private telegraph lines which connect all the more important business houses with their affiliated concerns in the United States.

6. It would also be difficult to obtain the required number of persons with sufficient military knowledge to discriminate between what should, or should not, be censored, withheld or passed: and (except in the case of war with the United States) it would be impossible to rely upon obtaining the services of those best qualified to act as censors.

7. It is also to be borne in mind that all the more important Canadian cities are in close proximity to the southern frontier; and it would mean a delay of a few hours at the most for information to be conveyed across the border and to be dispatched from the nearest telegraph office in the United States.


8. Assuming the neutrality of the United States, the Committee is of opinion that-

(1) In the event of war with a European Power, it would be sufficient to-



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Halifax Admiral Superintendent's Halifax Herald Report for Ottawa

April 18, 1918



Halifax Admiral Superintendent's Halifax Herald Report for Ottawa

April 18, 1918


The Secretary

Dept. Of the Naval Service



The Admiral Superintendent

H.M.C. Dockyard

Halifax N.S.

  Submitted for the information of the Department with reference to Headquarters’ telegram 570 of March 15th, enclosed extracts from the Halifax Herald, abusing the Naval Service, with regard to the recent disaster.

   I believe there is nothing to be gained by taking any notice of these articles, which have patently ceased.

Admiral Superintendent.


Issue: Wednesday, January 9, 1918.

Page 6, (Editorial).

  Although more than a month has passed since the Great Catastrophe which with appalling suddenness swept more than One Thousand Two Hundred of our citizens into Eternity, and left a trail of indescribable mutilation, suffering, misery, desolation, and loss: and although nearly two weeks have elapsed since the Minister of Naval Affairs Ballantyne promised that a “complete, comprehensive, and searching investigation would be held into ALL the circumstances connected with the awful catastrophe,” we are STILL in the dark concerning its origin, or the official and personal responsibility for the horror. Those responsible are still walking our streets in freedom and there is no information that the Minister of Naval Affairs has DONE anything to make good his WORDS. If he has done anything, it is time that the people should know what it is. The people of Halifax have not yet recovered from the “shell shock”; they are STILL very much “alarmed”; and the extraordinary lack of promptness and the apparent lack of appreciation by the Naval Department officials at Ottawa as well as Halifax, of the appalling nature and extent of the catastrophe, is NOT calculated to allay that “alarm”. On the other hand, the alarm, and dissatisfaction, and fear of repetition increases with each succeeding day! For this inexplicable ordinariness of the Canadian Naval Department the whole Union Government is collectively and Mr. Ballantyne is individually responsible – and will be held responsible by this suffering and desolated community.


(Underlined in heavy print.)

Issue: Thursday, January 10, 1918.

Page 6 (Editorial)

Extract 1.

  It cannot be that Halifax, seized by DEADLY APATHY, is now prepared to let the whole matter drop as regards that fatal blunder of “Somebody”, who has NOT YET been discovered, and no ustice done! Is it possible, we ask in wonderment, thatthe greatest recorded calamity which has ever struck Canada - a disaster which stirred and shocked the world, can visit Halifax thru “Someone’s blunder”, and over a monthcan slip by and NO searching investigation be made and no responsibility fixed? IT STAGGERS BELIEF - but the fact remains! The crushing calamity with startling swiftness, laid the city low, yet thirty days are allowed to pass, and Halifax still knows NOTHING as to WHY the SS Mont-Blanc was allowed to penetrate to almost the heart of the city, WHO was responsible and who has been taken to task: and still further than this - WHO, at this hour is NOW responsible THAT SUCH A CALAMITY SHALL NOT VISIT US AGAIN and repeat the tragedy of December 6th.

   It is surely high time that the indignation of the citizens found vent in an aroused PUBLIC SPIRIT that will brook no further delay, postponement, and shuffling in a matter so seriously vital to our welfare and safety. Is it correct that munition ships have actually anchored in our harbour since the disaster? Did a munition ship go ashore on December 22nd, within gun shot of this port, causing no little consternation to the residents of that locality? The Herald has no desire to be sensational, or cause any undue alarm to the people of Halifax - but is it not idiotic to continue calmly and almost placidly indifferent; living in what may prove to be “a fool’s paradise”? 

   When shall we awake to the fact that we are STILL utterly in the dark as to the How and Why of the disaster? Must ANOTHER calamity occur, visiting perhaps the Centre and South End of the city before Halifax BESTIRS herself and demands the fixing of responsibility and the instant removal and punishment of the careless and criminally incompetent “Somebodies ” thru whose stupidity and neglect the appalling catastrophe was allowed to happen? UNTIL this matter is probed to the utmost, and the most searching and vigorous investigation is made, and responsibility fixed; THE SOBER TRUTH might as well be stated in the frankest manner - whether we relish it or not; and THE TRUTH IS that we have absolutely NO guarantee that another “regrettable collision” will not occur - and that at any moment. If cabinet Ministers who visited Halifax and who “deprecated alarming statements in the press” and who sought to quiet and allay the nerves of the Halifax people suffering from shell shock” and who stated that there was no fear of a repetition of the disaster" and that our harbour waters were under competent control - were to tell us -

1.  WHO, or what body of men, are now in charge and exercising this

competent control?

2.  IF the same person, or persons, are now in control who occupied that

position on December 6th?

3.  If they are not - but have been removed, then WHO were they ? and have

they been punished and how?

  Surely our harbour waters are under the direction and control of SOME competent authority. The whole question is therefore in a nutshell, and as follows: Is the SAME “authority” in control today as on December 6th ? If so, WHAT guarantee have we that the neglect, oversight or incompetency which resulted in the tragedy of a


ISSUE: Saturday, January 12th, 1918.

Page 6 (Editorial)




  No official announcement has yet come from Ottawa regarding the appointment of a court of inquiry to make that “complete, comprehensive, and searching inquiry into ALL the facts of the disaster” promised by Naval Minister Ballantyne, but there is a rumour that enlarged power to cover the Minister’s promise will be given to the present court investigating the collision, compromising Judge Drysdale, Captain Hose and Captain Demers; nor has the formal announcement been made of any change in the personnel of the court. The Halifax Herald’s repeated statement that the Department of which Captain Hose is the responsible head in Halifax may be involved and become the main subject of the investigation, and therefore that Captain Hose cannot continue a member of the court, has been strongly endorsed by other Canadian Papers. But whether or not Captain Hose sits upon the commission, the Herald again desires to impress upon Hon. Mr. Ballantyne the feelings of the public in the matter and especially the feelings of the public in the matter and especially the feelings of the Halifax public who are familiar with the conditions and KNOW who are to blame for the explosion.

  Before the court resumes, the Minister of Marine should address to Captain Charles Hose, Captain-Superintendent of the Dockyard, and to Commander E. Wyatt, R.N.R., Chief Examining Officer, a series of questions. The proper answer to these questions would establish to the satisfaction of the Minister whether or not a Naval Officer who has to do with the control of this harbour is a fit and impartial person 

  Inasmuch as Captain Hose is Captain-Superintendent of the Dockyard and has charge of Naval Patrol and other matters pertaining to the harbour, and as Commander Wyatt is the responsible officer for ships entering the harbour, there are many questions which might occur to the examining lawyers. But, by way of suggestion, The Halifax Herald submits the following preliminary questions which Hon. Mr. Ballantyne might at once ask Captain Hose,

1 Where were you at the time of the explosion? (The reply would doubtless

be “at the Dockyard”)

2. How long did you remain in the Dockyard after the explosion?

3. How long did you remain in the Dockyard after the explosion?

4. What person or persons did you leave in charge – if anyone was left in

charge of the Dockyard.

5. How many drifters or patrol boats WERE AT THE Dockyard, and how many

(if any) did you instruct to go out and attempt rescue work - which was done by tugs

owned by civilians?

6.  Did the patrol boats which did go out go under your orders; or were they

taken out by men who stuck to their posts?

  Other questions would naturally spring from these six; and should the Captain’s memory need refreshing The Herald is prepared to furnish the names of witnesses who would supply such refreshment.

QUESTIONS one, two and three should also be asked Commander Wyatt. As C.X.O. (Chief Examining Officer) Commander Wyatt is in a position where he can give much information which would clear up any mystery relating to the explosion. He could tell why it was that the SS Mont-Blanc did NOT carry a Red Flag. The Herald is prepared to give him the testimony of British Captains who have carried explosives in as it applied to Halifax harbour or was it changed by Deputy Minister Desbarats? Or by Admiral Kingsmill? Or by some other official of the Canadian Naval Service? If so, by whom?


ISSUE: Friday January 25th, 1918

  Though a 15 year Old Boy Was Responsible for Receiving and Communicating Pilot Reports to the Naval Authorities, and the Pilots Had Not Reported to Him for Months, Yet Commander Wyatt Preferred to Trust the Pilots Regarding Movements of Steamers. The Notified of the SS Mont-Blanc’s Coming Three Days Ahead, and of the Exceedingly Dangerous Nature of Her Cargo, and, THO Was the Officer In Charge of the Harbour, Commander Wyatt took NO Special Precautions.

  Alleged That Within 48 hours, Despite “new Regulations”, a Munition Ship and Oil Tanker Passes Each Other in the Narrows, Within a Stone’s Throw of the Mont Blanc - Imo Tragedy, while Wyatt’s “Assistant”, a Mate on the Niobe, Was in Charge of Harbour Traffic.

  Royal Commission to be Immediately Appointed to Investigate the Astounding Pilotage Conditions at Halifax, But Meanwhile All the Facts Ought to Have Been Known by Captain Hose, Who Still Sits as One of the Judges, and The Herald Demands That He Retire From the Case, and That Commander Wyatt Shall Not Continue Another Hour in Charge of Halifax Harbour!

  The astounding revelations made by Commander Wyatt in his evidence before the court of inquiry yesterday demand instantaneous and drastic action. Public safety cannot brook delay. Without any reflection on the competence of the court or in fear in regard to the justice of its findings, The Halifax Herald, in Public interest, demands that, pending the decision of the court yesterday, Commander Wyatt be immediately relieved of his position in charge of the traffic in Halifax Harbour.

  The Halifax Herald took pleasure in announcing to the Public that “new harbour, would be effectively carried out, Commander Wyatt, according to his own evidence, is the man responsible for the carrying out of the new regulations. In spite of this fact, within 48 hours, an oil tank steamer and a steamer with explosives, were allowed to cross in the harbour. To add to the danger of the liquidation of these ships crossed in the Narrows, only a short distance from where the collision occurred which led to a catastrophe that caused a world to shudder.

  On that point alone there is sufficient reason, yes imperative reason, for the suspension of Commander Wyatt before the sun sets today. But that was not all - The detailed evidence, as it appears in the Halifax Herald, and as it will be supplemented today, shows a rankness of inefficiency and an abundance of bungling which gives cause for wonderment that a disaster like that of December 6th, had not occurred before and has not since been repeated.

  This is not time for sentiment in favour of Naval or any other officials. Commander Wyatt points to his “navy record" and proclaims his superiority to local officials. His navy record may be flawless. His superiority to local officials may be admitted, but THE COLD FACT remains that under his supervision, Halifax and her people are in continuous danger and since he has been "loaned to Canada by the British Admiralty” the time has come for his return.

  “Pilotage Conditions” at Halifax are to be investigated by a Royal Commission. At the afternoon session of the court of inquiry yesterday, Mr. Justice Drysdale announced that he had been instructed that t Royal Commission was to take up the investigation of pilotage matters at Halifax, St. John, and Sydney. Yesterday’s evidence was the most sensational and the most illuminating yet produced at the inquiry. It was not calculated to bring quiet to the nerves of the people of a city suffering from the effects of the awful catastrophe of December 6th. It was shown that on dangerous ships on Wednesday. He had no direct knowledge of such an occurrence. It had been intimated to him that “such a thing happened”, and at the hour at which it was reported as happening, his “assistant” - a mate on the Niobe was in charge.

Of his own capability for taking full charge of harbour and its traffic, Commander Wyatt had no doubt. He assured the examining counsel that he was a “better man than Captain Rudolph”. As far as docking a ship was concerned he “knew more than a dozen Captain Rudolphs.”

  Another well-known Halifax Captain whose name was brought into evidence by Commander Wyatt, when questioned regarding having “fired on ships”, was Captain Alex Dickson, of the Canadian Government cable ship “Tyrian”. It was Captain Dickson who was sent by the Dominion Government to meet Lieutenant Peary at Battle Harbour, Labrador, after the discovery of the North Pole. Local Mariners consider Captain Dickson a skilful and careful navigator and Commander Wyatt’s evidence that the Tyrian was recently in trouble and that her captain, for violation of Naval Orders in the harbour, was threatened with loss of his command, will be read with interest.

Still another startling feature brought out in the cross-examination of Commander Wyatt was that he did not trust the “Guard Ships” for control of incoming and outgoing ships but preferred to exercise such control thru the pilots. ALTHO the Commander placed this responsibility on the pilots had NOT been reporting for months; and that he had made a complaint against the pilots to the Captain-Superintendent.

In the evidence regarding the pilotage commission, it developed that the responsibility of receiving and making the reports of the pilots to the Naval Examining Officer developed upon a fifteen-year-old boy. According to counsel, the fifteen-Year-old boy who received CONTRADICTORY statements of the Naval authorities were called to the attention of the court by counsel. It was shown that on Wednesday, Captain Pasco, Acting Captain-Superintendent, in his evidence said that the advance telegram informing the Naval authorities of the coming of the SS Mont-Blanc, said that she carried “explosives” but gave no particulars as to the cargo. Commander Wyatt in his evidence yesterday produced a telegram which he said had been received on the 3rd December, and which is evidently the same referred to by Captain Pasco, stating not only that the cargo was “explosives” but giving the different kinds in detail.



ISSUE: Saturday January 26th, 1918.

(Red letter headline, full width)

Further Agonizing Revelations of Naval, Harbour and Pilot Mismanagement.


  Pilots Coolly Ignore the Orders of the Naval Authorities in Charge of Port of Halifax: SECRET News Sent by PUBLIC Phone: The Responsibility of Counsel for the People.

  Halifax, January 26th. - In spite of the record of inefficiency, of weakness, of bungling, and of pigheadedness which characterizes, and has characterized, the control of affairs in connection with the incoming and outgoing traffic in Halifax Harbour, no change has YET been made in the sponsible heads. A record that had as its result the ghastly and criminal carelessness of December 6th surely demanded action as prompt as it was drastic. There has been a long drawn out delay in connection with an investigation and now that the inquiry has brought out SOME of the facts in connection with the orgy of mismanagement further delay is unthinkable; to a people less long-suffering than the people of Halifax it would be unbearable.

  Yesterday’s evidence before the court added still further proof of the necessity of immediately suspending Commander Wyatt and of removing Captain Hose from the position he holds in association with Mr. Justice Drysdale. The sworn testimony of an officer of the R.N.C.V.R., given yesterday supplemented the evidence already given regarding the impotency of the Canadian Naval authorities under existing command to control traffic in Halifax harbour in such a manner as to make safe the lives of the people of this city. The evidence showed the blame to be distributed between the pilots and the Naval authorities in this port. THE SUPREME AUTHORITY, resting as it did, and…


ISSUE: Wednesday, January 30th, 1918.

Wyatt’s Suspension Is But the First Step.

  Considerable uneasiness in Government Circles at Ottawa and a Strong Feeling That a General House-Cleaning is Coming. Not Clear Where Admiral Kingsmill’s Authority Begins or Ends - Changes in Naval Service Looked For.

 Ottawa, January 29th - Sensational disclosures in connection with the administration of the port of Halifax before the Drysdale commission, has aroused considerable uneasiness in Government circles here. There is a strong feeling that such extraordinary laxity and apathy as the evidence seems to disclose could not possibly have existed under any reasonable efficient system of port administration, and whereas a few weeks ago, there seemed to be a disposition to whitewash Naval officials, there is now strong determination that the cause of the disaster be probed to the bottom and responsibility squarely fixed regardless of who is hit in the process.

  There seems to be a great deal of confusion as to just what extent the Naval authorities here are responsible for rules and regulations governing the port of Halifax. While Rear Admiral Kingsmill wears the high-sounding title of “Director of Naval Service of Canada” and was named the other day by the Ottawa Evening Journal as the man understood to be mainly responsible for what goes on in a Navy way in Halifax, it is not quite clear just where his authority begins and ends, or as to what authority if any, is exercised by him over officials of the Royal Navy, who may be directly or indirectly concerned with the conduct of the port.

  For example, the suspension of Wyatt does not appear to have been ordered by Kingsmill. On Monday morning The Herald Telephoned Admiral Kingsmill.

   A Cyclone is as Essential among the Dry Bones of the Naval Department at Ottawa as it Has Been Shown to Be Necessary among the Officials of the Naval Department at Ottawa.

   The report was current in Halifax on Sunday that, following the extraordinary confessions and revelations before Judge Drysdale, Commander Wyatt had been suspended, something that should have taken place several weeks ago, The Halifax Herald instructed its Ottawa correspondent to verify the report from the responsible Naval officials. He wired that Admiral Sir Charles E. Kingsmill Director of the Naval Service, assured him that there was no truth in the report circulated in Halifax, and that Wyatt had not been suspended. Notwithstanding this statement of Admiral Kingsmill in Ottawa, The Halifax Herald had the best of reasons for believing that the report was true, and that Wyatt had been suspended and printed the news.

   When it was officially confirmed yesterday and published in the Evening Mail, The Herald’s Ottawa correspondent again called on Admiral sir Charles Kingsmill, Director of Naval Service - in the absence from the City of Minister Ballantyne and the absence from his office, thru illness, of Deputy Minister Desbarats – and asked him to explain the misleading statement made the day before. Admiral Kingsmill said to the Herald’s correspondent; “When I told you Wyatt was not suspended. I meant that he was not suspended from Ottawa.”

   It is very obvious that Admiral Sir Charles Kingsmill in ENTIRELY OUT OF TOUCH with the vital affairs that he is supposed to “direct” or that his statement was made to temporarily mislead the public. He can take whichever horn of the dilemma he chooses.

   Minister Ballantyne will doubtless very soon realize that a cyclone among the dry bones which compose his Naval Department at Ottawa is as IMMEDIATELY ESSENTIAL as a tornado has been shown to be necessary among the Officials of the pending the result of an inquiry. That action has at last been taken and Commander Wyatt, it is officially announced, has been replaced by Lieutenant Russel A. Barber, as Chief Examining Officer of the port of Halifax. That others are allowed to continue at the post of duty shows a laxity not without danger.

   It would have shown a finer sense of honour had Commander Wyatt, immediately following the catastrophe, steeped aside from the duties of Chief Examining Officer and demanded an investigation into all the facts.


   Not been suspended, he merely meant that he had not been suspended from Ottawa. Whether he was attempting in the first place to withhold information or merely ignorant of what was going on, it is hard to say.

The truth is that Ottawa does not take Admiral Kingsmill any too seriously. He is jokingly referred to as the man who was created an Admiral for losing a ship, is more famous in the capital for his social than for his Naval exploits, and the knighthood recently conferred upon him is mostly regarded as one of those insoluble mysteries which every now and again baffle the ingenuity of the public mind?

   In well informed circles here it would not be surprising if the disclosures brought about before the Drysdale commission would result in a few changes in the Department of Naval Service.

Wyatt’s suspension may vet be followed by action considerably more drastic.

Below section taken from trial:

ONE WITNESS has been called from among those who ordered the steamer to proceed up harbour WITHOUT giving her any special regulations regarding the CAREFULNESS that should be OBSERVED by an explosive laden ship.

Here is an extract from the official evidence of Captain Aime Lemedoc of the SS Mont-Blanc.-

Q. I want to know WHY you went so far up toward Bedford Basin.

A. I said I was under order to take the convoy and nobody told me NOT to

proceed ahead. I signalled when I arrived that my ship was loaded with explosive

matter and NOBODY made any objection about it.

Q. You reported that your ship was loaded with munitions?

A. Yes, sir, I reported that to THE WARSHIP and the Officer boarded my ship

and I told him what I had on board.

In connection with this, it is interesting to read this extract from the examination of Pilot Mackey, who was in charge of the French explosive laden steamer.

Q. Had you ANY instructions as to where you were to take the vessel?

A. None different than the Admiralty instructions to anchor all ships for

convoy in Bedford Basin.

In further examination the following was placed on record from the same pilot.

Q. Did you see the examination officer?

A. Yes.

Q. What time was that?

A. He came on board after I put the ship to anchor.

Q. Were you speaking to the examination officer?

A. Yes.

Q. Remember his name?

A. NO.

   In view of the above it would seem to be the common-sense way, to get at the point of responsibility by calling upon Examination Officer Freeman as a witness. He was who instructed the SS Mont-Blanc to proceed up the harbour without any special precautions being given. He should be able to state FROM WHOM he got the authority to order the ship to proceed; and those men could be brought into the court and examined as to the regulations they have provided for explosive laden ships in a busy harbour. If they threw the responsibility upon men “higher up” then THOSE men should be brought into court.

   WHAT the public demand is AN INVESTIGATION THAT INVESTIGATES WITHOUT FEAR or favour until the point of responsibility is reached. Platitudes from the Minister of Marine and Fisheries regarding the “efficient carrying out of the harbour regulations by the Canadian Naval Authorities” will not suffice. The Minister complains that “a section of the Canadian press” has been unfair in its treatment of the Canadian Naval Authorities. If the Halifax Herald is the “section” to which the minister refers he is mistaken. In justice to the Canadian Naval Authorities ALL matters pertaining to the explosion and its causes should be investigated AT ONCE, for the general public believes that the responsibility rests upon those authorities since, according to the Minister, THEY are responsible for the carrying out of the harbour regulations. If the Canadian Naval Authorities are not to blame, and investigation will reveal their innocence and they will be free from the cloud of suspicion through which they are now seen, by a public who are determined that justice must be done and who will not tolerate “shelving” or “Whitewashing” facts that all Halifax has the right to know, kept hidden away in the dark?

   Until these facts are brought to light, until responsibility is fixed, Halifax is MAD to continue sleepily indifferent, and to slumber in apathy callously imagining that “all is well"! The time to be alertly awake is NOW. The time to settle once and for all his vital matter of Responsibility is NOW. Why wait for ANOTHER terrible awakening? And until possibly the business centre and south end is visited with the cruel blow that befell the devastated north?

   TWELVE HUNDRED citizens have met their death in the most frightful fashion; hundreds more have been maimed and blinded; two spare miles of territory have been laid in ruins; thousands have been rendered destitute and homeless - ALLBECAUSE - “Somebody blundered”. Over a month has passed, “Somebody” has never been unearthed, and the “blunder” remains unpunished. NO responsibility has been fixed. “Somebody” may “blunder” again. IS IT NOT TIME TO WAKE UP? Justice demands a complete and satisfactory investigation. Prudence and future safety must have it.


The importance of IMMEDIATE investigation into the causes leading up to the great explosion does not seem to have impressed the Minister of Marine and Fisheries or to have led to any announcement of an earlier session of the court than the date to which it adjourned, January 21st. It will now be a matter of conjecture as to what the court will do when it reassembles. It is the stated opinion of the various counsel that the bulk of the evidence has been taken and the most important witnesses have been examined. It is the opinion of The Halifax Herald that THE MOST IMPORTANT WITNESSES HAVE YET TO BE CALLED and that the voluminous.