The Halifax Explosion, 6 Dec. 1917: Epitaph for Merle Huggins

Headline of The Ottawa Evening Journal: 1300 Killed at Halifax. Article details the news about the Halifax Explosion, 6th December 1917.
The Ottawa Evening Journal, 6th December 1917. “1300 Killed at Halifax.”

On this day, 6th December 2015, a ceremony is underway to commemorate the Halifax Explosion which devastated the north end of the city ninety-eight years ago. Every year, people gather beside the Halifax Explosion Memorial Bell Tower, to mark the wartime marine disaster which killed 2,000 people, injured another 9,000, and left 25,000 homeless. One-third of the dead, and dying, were children, many of whom were walking to school.

One of these was Merle Huggins, second youngest child of George Melbourne Huggins, the principal of Richmond School. The school was in the direct line of the enormous blast that could be heard as far away as Prince Edward Island. In a city numbering just above 60,000 souls, the Huggins’ experience was not unique. Yet, it fell to Mr. Huggins to bury not only his daughter, but the bodies of eighty-six other children, late students of Richmond School.

In chronicling the lives of this family, I am struck not only by the immediate impact that the Explosion wrought upon them, but also their exodus, in 1923, to Los Angeles, as if to put Halifax behind them. What is more, this family, which survived the Explosion with six children, seems to have dissipated within one generation, not one descendant following in their hereditary footsteps.

In memoriam, then, for young Merle Huggins, her suffering family, and the people of Halifax who remember to this day. (penned 6th December 2015, under the title, “98th Anniversary of the Halifax Explosion.”)

Source citation for this page: — Kilpatrick, Alison. “The Halifax Explosion, 6th Dec, 1917: Epitaph for Merle Huggins.” Citing the deaths of thousands of people, including that of Merle Huggins (1906–1917). Published on 6th December 2015 (edited 6th & 15th December 2020), to Arborealis,, accessed [insert date of access].

See also:Merle Huggins (1906–1917) of Halifax.