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The Halifax Herald
Monday, March 27, 1905


The Allan Liner, with 900 Persons on Board, Was Rammed
At Halifax Harbor Entrance by the Hamburg
American Steamer Albano

The Parisian Was at a Standstill Taking a Pilot on Board,
When the German Steamer Bore Down Upon Her
And Crashed Into Her Starboard Side Abaft
No. 4 Hold-No Explanation From
The Albano.

The Allan Line Steamer Parisian from Liverpool was lying in her dock in Halifax harbor, half her keel on the bottom and her after deck submerged so that the water is washing freely over it, and mighty glad her owners are that she is not on the bottom in the open sea with possibly many of the 900 passengers and crew in a watery grave

The Parisian, bound for Halifax, was rammed near the entrance to the harbor on her starboard side, abaft of No. 4 hold by the Hamburg-American steamer Albano altho [sic] bound for this port and a hole stove in big enough for a man to walk through. The weather was clear and the sea calm when the collision occurred with plenty of room and that such a thing should have happened is extremely strange.


Captain Kudeshold of the Albano, his officers and crew, would not say a single word about the affair. Captain J. M Johnston of the Parisian is almost, if not quite as reticent. He did say, however, that he had brought the Parisian to a standstill for the purpose of taking aboard a pilot. He saw the German steamer approaching and felt sure he would haul off and clear them. Particularly certain had he become of this when he heard the Albano's captain signal: " We are going astern." Yet he did not go astern, but crashed into the Parisian's starboard side.

Captain Johnston could offer no explanation of the Albano's action; unless it was that her engineer had got his orders mixed, and instead of reversing had continued ahead. "The damage to the ship was bad enough, but it might have been worse and I am glad that we were able to save the nine hundred lives on board."

Captain Johnston said this as a Herald reporter caught him on the deck soon after the steamer had been docked but it was all the gallant officer would say beyond a half suppressed objurgation regarding the terribly strange conduct of the Albano, which he said had almost sent the Parisian to the bottom.


The Parisian's machinery had been at rest for some time and the boat with Pilot Flemming was almost alongside, when attention was particularly directed to the Albano and it was seen that she must strike and strike amidships in the engine room compartment. Had this happened the ship could not have been saved, and an order was instantly telegraphed to the engine room:

"Full speed ahead."

This carried the steamer sufficiently forward before the impact came to save the engine compartment. The order was given to clear the boats and rapid preparations were made for getting the people into them, but in a minute or two Captain Johnston made up his mind that he would steam as swiftly as he could up the harbor, and if he found he could not reach his pier he could beach the steamer. No craft was ever seen to come up the harbor faster than did the Parisian, though she was settling aft and was getting a bad list. An hour after the accident the Parisian was at the pier at the Intercolonial wharves, her after compartment full of water.


Rev. Dr. Kirkpatrick, Lady Margaret professor of divinity at Cambridge, and master of Selwyn College, was a passenger by the Parisian. Dr. Kirkpatrick was asked by the Herald for a statement of the collision as it appeared to him, but gave instead a copy of a part of a letter he had just written to a friend in England telling of the affair:

"Here I am, thank god, under Bishop Worrell's roof, but I have been within a very little of what might have been an awful catastrophe. We made good running and stopped at the mouth of the harbor of Halifax to take up a pilot between 5:30 and 6 o'clock. We had been watching a German steamer, the Hamburg-American liner Albano, from Hamburg, coming down from the north, also making for Halifax. I thought she was coming too near us, and to my horror saw her making straight at us, we being practically stationary. What happened I cannot say. Whether she would not steer or what I do not know, but for half a minute it was a bad time to know if we could escape or where or how badly we should be struck. Into us she came, but mercifully only struck us aft of the engines. For a few minutes it was a doubtful what damage was done and the order was given to clear the boats, but as the engines were undamaged we took up a pilot and steamed on. Apparently only sternmost compartment was damaged, but evidently it was leaking considerably, and we soon got pretty well down in the stern. However we got safely to the pier. There was no panic on board though there were a good many anxious faces. But I shudder to think what might have happened if that clumsy German had rammed us in the engine room and our fires had been put out or the ship sunk quickly. The idea of the sudden sinking of a ship with 800 or 900 people on board, at the very mouth of the harbor is too terrible to think of, but it seemed to me that we came very near and for a few minutes I thought it was not impossible that I should be landed a destitute alien in the clothes I stood in, with all my possessions including my lectures at the bottom of the harbor. I am most truly thankful that we were preserved from disaster but we were certainly very near it."


parisian sunk

Powerful pumps were set to work keeping down the leakage from the full compartment. At two a.m. yesterday the after compartment bulkhead, unable longer to resist the pressure, gave way and the water raced forward into the two compartments ahead, carrying the hull so far down that the after part of the deck became submerged and the water began flowing from the deck into the engine room, which yesterday afternoon had risen to within a few feet of the top of the cylinders. Forward of the engine room there is no water in the hold.


It was Pilot Flemming who brought in the Parisian. A sailor was almost in the act of passing a line to him in his boat when the collision occurred. Pilot Hayes brought in the Albano.

Some of the cargo in No. 4 hold was removed, most of the steerage baggage was got out and none of the first-class baggage was damaged.


The notice of the libeling of the steamer Albano by the Allan line was placed on the mast a little after 10 o'clock Saturday night by Deputy Sheriff Shriven. That officer remained in charge. The bond will be put up this evening or to-morrow on the arrival of William Roche, M.F.F. from Ottawa. Mr. Roche is the agent of the Hamburg-American line. The Parisian was built in 1881 and for a long time held the record for the Allan Line. The late Captain W. H. Smith, R.N.R., commanded her for several years. Another well-known Parisian commander was Captain Barrett, now retired and living in Liverpool.


The Parisian had 740 passengers made up 440 in the steerage, 281 in the second cabin and 29 saloon. Her crew numbered 163, making a total of 903 souls on board. She had 300 tons of cargo for Halifax and 800 tons for the road. She had 268 bags of letters and 152 packages in the parcel post. Her saloon passengers were the following named:

Mr. F. W. Ayre

Mr. S. R. Lewis

Mr. Body

Mrs. Lewis

Mr. J. Buchanan

Mr. Lumsden

Mr. F. Bull

Mr. McDonald

Mr. C. G. Curtis

Mr. J. S. McLean

Miss Furlong

Mr. C. Milne

Mr. D. A. Goodbun

Mr. T. Pepin

Mr. A. B. Green

Mr. A. G. Smith

Mr. Joslin

Mr. G. A. Smith

Mr. L. Jourdan

Rev. J. Staffurth

Mrs. Jourdan

Mr. C. Williams

Mrs. Jourdan

Mr. F. J. Williams

Dr. Kirkpatrick

Mr. Alex. Wilson


The manifest of the Parisian shows the following items for Halifax, amounting in all to about 300 tons:

The Allen & Co. -1case. Army Ordnance Office -1 case clothing. N. Barry -1 Parcel. Barnard & Holland -1 crate earthenware. A. M. Bell & Co., -1 case hardware. A.B. Boak & Co. -Hats, lace goods, collars, linens, hosiery. Britannia Mfg. Co. - 1 case hosiery, 1 parcel hosiery, 1 case light goods. 1 case cottons. British American Trace society -1 case books. Canadian Express Co. 74 packages merchandise, 5 cases millinery, 1 case pigeons. Clayton & Sons - 1 bale apparel, 1 bale woolens, 1 case caps. T. F. Courtney & Co. -55 cases wine. Dominion Express Co. -50 packages. Furness Withy & co. -1 case cricket goods, 1 bale carpet Gordon & Keith -5 bales carpet. C. S. Lane -2 cases hats. Angus McDonald -25 cognac, 25 rum. Mahon Bros. -2 cases merchandise. A Monaghan -57 cases packages merchandise, 33 cases gin. Moore & Partridge -3 cases merchandise. J & M Murphy -4 cases merchandise. N.S. Furnishing Co. -63 rolls floor cloth. Order -1 case merchandise. J.F, Outhit -56 cases oranges. A. O'Connor, Ltd. 1 case woolens. Order -53 packages brandy, 15 cases Brandy, 1 case show cards. Order -40 cases brandy. Pickford & Black -5 bales merchandise. J. C. Redmond -1 case. James Scott & Co. -casks brandy 15 cases brandy. W. & C. Silver -2 cases stuffs. 6 bales stuffs. Smith Bros. - 2 cases stuffs, 3 bales stuffs. G, M. Smith & Co. -5 cases and 1 parcel. .R. A. Sporton -1 bale serge. E. St. George Tucker -1 case. Watson Eaton & Co. -10 cases lemons, 33 cases oranges. Wellner & Scott -9 cases dress goods, 1 case lace goods, 1 case straw hats. T. A. S. DeWolf & Sons -1 parcel samples, 3 cases dress goods. Wood Brothers -11 packages merchandise. Order -2 cases merchandise.


A SAD FATALITY OCCURRED ON THE Parisian on Sunday morning of last week, a few days out from port. Two passengers were standing on the deck talking when a heavy sea boarded the steamer. One of the passengers W.J. Simmons, aged 35, a carpenter, was bound for Winnipeg, with his wife and two children. The sea struck him, dashed him against the rail, and killed him instantly. The funeral took place the morning following, about 6 o'clock, the service being performed by the captain. A funeral at sea is generally a very solemn thing, and the affair is got over as quickly as possible, without letting the passengers know. One of the passengers in speaking of the affair says that while laying in his berth in the stillness of the early morning, all at once the engines stopped. At first he did not know the reason but suddenly it occurred to him that they had stopped the steamer to bury the dead man. The case is a particularly sad one. The young couple with their boy and girl, the former seven, the other five, were coming to Canada to live and now the widow and children, will have to return, having no promise of a future in Canada


At the present time, because of the reticence of the officers of both steamers, no definite story as to how the collision really happened can be given. But from the fact that the passengers of the Parisian exonerate Captain Johnston, and give him the greatest praise, it would seem that they are strongly of the opinion that their ship was not to blame. Everywhere yesterday was heard many words of commendation of the conduct of Captain Johnston, who was cool and brave. Captain Johnston has been coming to Halifax for many years in different steamers of the Allan line, and he knows the harbor perfectly well. He is known as a thoroughly safe man--he takes no risks. Captain Johnston has been going to sea for many years, indeed from his boyhood. It was the general opinion of those on board, that but for the prompt action of the captain, the steamer would have been struck amidships, and no earthly power could have saved her from going to the bottom. The situation that confronted Captain Johnston as he stood on the bridge of the Parisian, was enough to strike trepidation to the heart of the stoutest. Standing on the bridge he saw the Albano coming. He saw the only way to save the lives of those on board was to go ahead. Instantly he ordered full speed ahead, and although the steamer struck her, she struck her in a less vital place. Captain Johnston kept her right on, brushing aside all temptations to beach her and succeeded in docking the steamer and saving many lives.


Captain Johnston is a Scotsman, about 55 years of age, a fine specimen of manhood, and possessed of a genial disposition. To the press he has always been most courteous, and he is held in the highest respect. He has always been coming to Halifax for over thirty years in other steamers besides those of the Allan Line, and among those who know him best he is held in the highest esteem. A brother captain in speaking of him some time ago said he had known Captain Johnston for years and remarked:" He is a safe captain, sure in his calculations, solicitous for his passengers and a great man in an emergency." As Captain Johnston stepped ashore from his steamer Saturday night his first enquiry was: " Are the passengers all of[f]?" Showing the kind of a man he is. Those on the wharves when the Parisian was passing up say that it was the first time in many years that they have seen a steamer run so fast to her pier. The passengers were beginning to disembark twenty minutes after she docked.


Soon after it came to be known that the Parisian had been in collision somebody started the rumor that she had been sunk, and all lives lost. This caused an immediate rush to Deep Water. Yesterday morning, the rush began in earnest, and from daylight till late at night all classes and conditions of people were there. None were supposed to go down the pier, but they were there just the same, all having a look. There were many boats on the harbor. The cameraman was also in evidence, and they got many interesting pictures. The Pretorian, on the north side of No. 2 pier also, had a good view of the Parisian and her injuries being obtainable from her. The Albano also came in for observation, being as she was at the pier north of that at which the Parisian was sunk. It was estimated that 10,000 people at least saw the steamer yesterday.

The last time there was a public Sunday exhibition in Halifax was when the Thingvalla arrived in Halifax on a Saturday, with her bow completely cut off. She had been in collision with the Geiser and the latter had gone down. The Thingvalla was docked at Pickford & Black's wharf, and thousands viewed the steamer as she lay at the wharf. One side of her bow had been completely torn away.


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