Saturday, December 1, 2007

Bucket of Eyes

[On December 6, 1917, two ships collided in Halifax Harbour, Nova Scotia. The resulting explosion leveled much of the city and killed an estimated 2,000 people. Fred Rockwell's account of the aftermath of the disaster, in a letter dated December 12, 1917, was sent to "two brothers, one of whom was the grandfather of Globe and Mail employee Lynne Wilkins." -- bc]

The Globe and Mail [Toronto]
1 Dec. 2007, p. F12.

Flying babies, shards of glass and a bucket of eyeballs

[...] A dozen people I passed on the street had no other marks on them except black eyes caused by the concussion, which in several cases I am told popped their eyes right out.

I heard of a chap going into a temporary dressing station in the North End with one of his eyes in his hand and inquiring whether they could do anything for him. Woolley, a soldier who lives in our street, tells of being in one of the hospitals and seeing a surgeon operating on a man's eyes. At the doctor's side was a bucket nearly full of eyes. [...]

I give these stories for what's its worth as I cannot vouch for them. [...]

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Stuart Trueman, Tall Tales and True Tales from Down East. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1979, p. 141.

"It is told that a Moncton physician [helping out after the Halifax Explosion] suffered a nervous breakdown, aggravated by the fact that near him stood a pail full of staring eyes -- taken out without anaesthetics."