Do you have family that was on the ill-fated Empress of Ireland, set to sail from Quebec to Liverpool in 1914? Discover more about the tragic collision that drowned the Empress of Ireland and explore photos of the ship and some of her survivors.
The contents for the 1914 book The Tragic Story of the Empress of Ireland and Other Great Sea Disasters: An Authentic Account of the Most Horrible Disaster in Canadian History, Constructed from the Real Facts Obtained from Those on Board Who Survived by Logan Marshall are as follows. To go immediately to a specific chapter, search by the page number listed below:
Intro – page number 8
The Empress of Ireland Sails to Her Doom – page number 12
Captain Kendall Blames the Storstad – page number 28
Captain Andersen’s Defense – page number 34
Miraculous Escape of the Few – page number 38
The Stricken Survivors Return – page number 47
Heroes of the Empress Disaster – page number 69
The Surgeon’s Thrilling Story – page number 76
Ship of Death Reaches Quebec – page number 81
Solemn Services for the Dead – page number 90
Crippling Loss to the Salvation Army – page number 101
Notable Passengers Abroad – page number 121
List of Survivors and Roll of the Dead – page number 129 – includes names and, when available, where they were from.
The Storstad Reaches Port – page number 138
Parliament Shocked by the Calamity – page number 145
Messages of Sympathy and Help – page number 147
Placing the Blame – page number 154
Empress in Fact, as in Name – page number 173
The Norwegian Collier Storstad – page number 178
The St. Lawrence: A Beautiful River – page number 180
The Tragic Story of the Titanic Disaster – page number 194
The Most Sumptuous Palace Afloat – page number 197
The Titanic Strikes an Iceberg – page number 207
“Women and Children First” – page number 218
Left to Their Fate – page number 246
The Call for Help Heard – page number 256
In the Drifting Life-boats – page number 262
The Tragic Home-Coming – page number 283 – includes a list of survivors and a roll of the dead from the first and second cabins of the Titanic.
Other Great Marine Disasters – page number 313
Development of Shipbuilding – page number 321
Safety and Life-Saving Devices – page number 329
Seeking Safety at Sea – page number 336
This publication gives a thorough accounting of the Empress of Ireland and her tragic fate, followed by that of the Titanic, and includes photos from both ships. One such photo captures the scene of a lifeboat full of survivors from the Titanic as seen from the rescue ship Carpathia.
The Empress of Ireland was known as one of the empresses of the Atlantic alongside her sister ship, the Empress of Britain. She was heralded as one of the finest ships of the Canadian line. Built in Glasgow in 1906, she was owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway.
On May 29, 1914, the Empress of Ireland, shortly after pushing off from Quebec and carrying 1,477 people aboard, was struck by Storstad, a Norwegian collier. Within fifteen minutes, the Empress of Ireland sank, taking with her over 1,000 passengers.
Of those 1,477 aboard, 465 were saved. A breakdown of the passengers on board is as follows:
First-class passengers – 87 on board (36 rescued, 51 dead)
Second-class passengers – 253 on board (48 rescued, 205 dead)
Third-class passengers – 717 on board (133 rescued, 584 dead)
Total crew – 420 on board (248 rescued, 172 dead)
Salvation Army Delegation – 150 on board (124 of these were lost as sea)
Within the chapters of this book are the statements from both the captain of the Empress of Ireland, Captain Henry George Kendall, of the Royal Navy Reserves, and the captain of the Storstad, Captain Thomas Andersen. Also included are first-hand accounts of the wreck from several survivors and details of the ensuing court case regarding the collision.
In 1999, the site of the shipwreck was registered as a historic site of Canada, the first underwater site to be named so in Quebec.
From an acting family, Laurence Irving first took the stage professionally in 1893. He was the son of Sir Henry Irving, a famous English actor. Laurence and his wife Mabel Hackney both died in the shipwreck. Marshall wrote the following of this couple: “They did honor to their profession and added dignity to the stage upon which they had so often appeared together and from which they were destined, in the end, to pass—together, as they would have wished it to be.”
Sir Henry Seton-Karr, who was returning to England from a hunting trip, died in the wreckage of the Empress of Ireland. Seton-Karr was an English politician, traveler, and author. He was the MP for St Helens from 1885 to 1906 and later a deputy lieutenant of Roxburghshire.
An avid entomology enthusiast and a leading authority on North American Lepidoptera, Major Henry Herbert Lyman, head of the firm Lyman, Sons & Co., was aboard the Empress of Ireland with his wife. This trip to England was meant to be their postponed honeymoon. Sadly, Lyman did not survive the wreck. Upon his death, his vast Lepidoptera collection was willed to McGill University, where they have created the Lyman Entomological Museum and Research Laboratory.