The Tragic Story of the Empress of Ireland (and other great sea disasters) - 1914


Cat No.:   CA0092:

The story of the ill fated Empress of Ireland seems some how to have been largely overshadowed by the similar ill fate of the Titanic but here is a book which not only provides a detailed, contemporary, account of the tragic end of the Empress but also contains an account of the Titanic tragedy with the benefit of the 2 years and 1 1/2 months of perspective which is the surprisingly brief period separating these two (somewhat similar) marine disasters.

It may be that the Empress' sinking was a Canadian disaster, taking place in Canadian waters and taking the lives of passengers and crew who were mainly Canadian which is the reason that the story has not received the same international attention as that of the Titanic. Yet in its proportions, 1,477 passengers, 1,012 of whom were killed, it affected the lives of at least 2/3 as many as that of the sinking of the Titanic. A huge loss of life for a single peace time disaster.

The book's author, Logan Marshall, managed to publish this book in the same year as the Empress' sinking and he told the story in the style of a tabloid newspaper. As well as relating the facts established by the official inquiry he also reports many first hand accounts of those who lived through the events and of those who were involved in the subsequent rescue efforts. His reporting of the Titanic disaster is given in a similar vein. There are, however, some interesting differences in the stories as he tells them. What struck me most was that all the stories of the Empress of Ireland were of heroism and bravery while those of the Titanic were mixed with a sprinkling of stories of shame and cowardice. An interesting comparison, perhaps resulting from the greater time which had elapsed between the Titanic's sinking and the writing of this book.

The final 4 chapters are given over to listing significant marine disasters between 1866 and 1911 and some conclusions as to how greater safety at sea might be achieved.

The book provides survivor lists and death rolls for both the Empress of Ireland and for the Titanic, or it does so for first and second class passengers (various excuses are offered for not listing the third class passengers and the crew.) We have extracted these lists and made them available on our Quebec Downloads page so you can check for your relatives before investing in the CD.

An important, contemporary, document reporting one of Canada's most significant civil disasters.

You can also reach the passenger lists by clicking on the following links Empress Names, Titanic Names

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No. of CDs is:  1 ;   Format is:  PDF ;   Searchable?:  YES;

FastFind:  No;  ISBN No.:   1-897338-31-7;