Betrayal of Trust

Betrayal of Trust

Commander Wyatt and the Halifax Explosion

Book - 2017
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Joel Zemel examines the personal life and career of F. Evan Wyatt before and after the disaster and the criminal litigation that resulted in his being the only person to stand trial on criminal charges related to the Halifax Explosion. Before the Halifax Explosion, F. Evan Wyatt was a recently-married officer with a promising career in the Royal Canadian Navy. He also enjoyed popularity among those in the city's elite society. But little else is known about the only man indicted for allegedly causing the disaster. The French munitions ship, SS Mont-Blanc, and the Norwegian freighter, SS Imo, collided in Halifax Harbour on the morning of 6 December 1917. The resultant explosion killed nearly 2,000 people, caused nine thousand injuries and left many more homeless and without shelter. Property losses were in the millions of dollars. In the aftermath of the blast, an inquiry was set up to determine the cause of the collision between the two ships in the harbour. However, the proceedings quickly devolved into a search for scapegoats on whom to lay blame for the explosion. The captain and pilot of the French vessel were arrested along with the Royal Canadian Navy's chief examination officer (CXO), Commander F. Evan Wyatt (ret. R.N.R). Each man faced a charge of manslaughter. Charges of criminal negligence were added at a subsequent preliminary hearing. The captain and pilot were soon released on a writ of habeas corpus, but Commander Wyatt was indicted by a grand jury and put on trial. Although duly acquitted, his personal reputation and professional career in Canada were ruined. Betrayal of Trust delves into the life and times of F. Evan Wyatt, the circumstances leading up to his being scapegoated, and the failure of the Department of the Naval Service of Canada to protect one of its own. Joel Zemel is a professional jazz musician and documentary filmmaker turned author/historian. Joel is also the author of Scapegoat: the extraordinary legal proceedings following the 1917 Halifax Explosion. He resides and works in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Publisher: Halifax, N.S. : New World Publishing, 2017
Branch Call Number: 971.622503 Z53b
Characteristics: x, 182 p. : ill., maps ; 23 cm

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