News Feature: Remembering the 'Empress of Ireland' Disaster
ONE hundred years ago, on 29 May 1914, most of the Canadian delegates to The Salvation Army's third international congress set out for England from Quebec City on the Empress of Ireland. More than 130 of them, including the country's senior leaders and most of the Canadian Staff Band, would not make it – in fact, they did not even reach the Atlantic Ocean after the ship was holed in thick fog by a Norwegian ship laden with coal.
Within 14 minutes the Empress of Ireland was claimed by the icy waters of the St Lawrence River, along with 1,012 passengers and crew. Only 465 people survived. More passengers died on the Empress of Ireland than in the more-famous Titanic disaster.
The tragedy has never been far from the minds of members and friends of The Salvation Army. A monument was built by The Salvation Army at Toronto’s Mount Pleasant Cemetery and, each year since 1916, Salvationists have gathered at the memorial to remember those whose lives were lost or forever changed in Canada's worst maritime disaster.
On Saturday 31 May 2014, in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the tragedy, Salvation Army leaders from the Canada and Bermuda Territory and the current Canadian Staff Band will hold a complimentary reception at the Hôtel des Gouverneurs in Rimouski, Quebec, to honour survivors and the lost.
Report compiled by IHQ-Communications from articles in Salvationist (UK) and on www.salvationarmy.ca
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