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Maritime Disaster: RMs Empress of Ireland

June 7th, 2016 by Piper Smith

RMS Empress of Ireland was an ocean liner built in 1905-1906 in Scotland for Canadian Pacific Steamships. The Empress of Ireland departed Quebec City for Liverpool at 16:30 local time on May 28, 1914 with 1,477 passengers and crew.  Early the next morning on May 29, 1914, the ship was proceeding down the channel near Pointe-au-Père, Quebec in heavy fog. At 02:00 local time, the Norwegian collier Storstad crashed into the side of the Empress of Ireland. The Storstad did not sink, but Empress of Ireland, with severe damage to her starboard side, rapidly shipping water, rolled over and sank within 14 minutes, claiming 1012 passengers and crewmen.
There were only 465 survivors, out of which only four were children (the other 134 children were lost) and 42 were women (the other 279 women were lost). Amongst the dead were the English dramatist and novelist Laurence Irving. Amongst the survivors, “Lucky” Tower is improbably said to have been one of the few crewmen who survived this shipwreck and the sinking of the Titanic and the sinking of the Lusitania.