Talk:RMS Empress of Ireland

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Find sources: "RMS Empress of Ireland" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · HighBeam · JSTOR · free images · free news sources · The Wikipedia Library · NYT · WP reference

Design Changes[edit]

"The disaster led to a change in thinking among naval architects with regard to the design of ships bows. The backward slanting bow design of the day (see picture above) caused, in the event of a collision, immediate massive fatal damage below the waterline. The effect of the Storstad's bows on the Empress of Ireland's has been likened to that of a "chisel being forced into an aluminium can" Designers began to employ the raked bows that we are familiar with today, ensuring that much of the energy of a collision is absorbed by the point of the bow impacting above the waterline of the other ship ensuring less damage under the surface."

This sounds suspicious to me, firstly because the bow does not "slope backward" -- it's vertical (this is obvious on the plans of many ships) -- and secondly, ships were built right up until the thirties with vertical stems (the Empress of Britain being an example). I've always thought raked stems were sea-handling feature. John.Conway 11:24, 15 September 2006 (UTC)

I agree and question this without a source cited. I beleive there are some relatively modern ships with vertical bows, and those tend to be vessels with described ice handling capabilities. I will cal it the fore foot- where bottom of bow meets the the keel. Near all morenr ships have there being bulbous- alters how/where the bow wake is formed and reduces drag/friction power needs. Some modern warships have ;arge bulbous soanr domes there, too big to proerly reduce power requirements. the Size of the sonar dome dictatates a large forward rake to the box so the anchor can be dropped without hitting the sonar dome. The backward slanting bow will return in the US Navy DD(X). I wonder if the origin of the backward slope is basically from the anchient ram forward and underwater. Like the torpedo on the CSS_Hunley. Wfoj2 00:14, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

Number lost source?[edit]

See note at Talk:1914#Empress of Ireland where a different number of dead is quoted. KenWalker | Talk 02:59, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

Also, there is a discrepancy between Storstad and this page. The Storstad page says there were 473 survivors, this page says 465. seeing as I had never heard of the ship, I dunno which is right.Motor.on 22:32, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
According to a BBC documentary, The Golden Age of Liners, 1024 died, the same as reported at Talk:1914#Empress of Ireland.--Michael C. Price talk 13:07, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

Number Lost?[edit]

In the "Collision" section, this one-sentence paragraph seems odd to me:

Exactly 1,012 people died.[3] Of that number, 840 were passengers, eight more than the RMS Titanic.

Is this sentence some kind of a grammatical blunder, or a failure of fact? Surely it cannot mean to say more passengers died on the Empress than on the Titanic? Is this "fact" going to turn up in some sixth-grader's report? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Saltlakejohn (talkcontribs) 18:45, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

Yes, 'more passengers died on the Empress than on the Titanic '. Though the the total casualty figures are not known for sure, approximately 832 passengers died on Titanic, the remainder of the (approx) 1,517 casualties were from the crew. For a source, you could try '"Our Gallant Doctor": Enigma and Tragedy: Surgeon-Lieutenant George Hendry and HMCS Ottawa, 1942', pg. 219. Though it uses a lower figure for the Titanic passenger casualties of 807, it notes that the rough figures are 80% of total passengers died on the Empress, compared to 62% on the Titanic. Benea (talk) 19:06, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

The number of casualties on Titanic has been determined accurately by modern researchers, notably Lester Mitcham. Titanic carried 1,317 passengers, of which 817 were lost. See Report into the Loss of the SS Titanic: A Centennial Reappraisal.

Dave Gittins. Co-author of the above. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:53, 8 June 2015 (UTC)

Relative movements of the ships[edit]

I was part of a team that recently reviewed the sinking for a Canadian film company. The dynamics of the collision do not support the 'Empress' view that they were stationary and had been for some time. Evidence to the Inquiry from a number of sources spoke of the Storstad coming in at an angle on the starboard bow of the Empress, penetrating and then pivoting around the impact point so that she ended up drifting aft with her bow pointing towards the Empress. I would suggest this is only possible if there is a moment applied to the Storstad by movement of the Empress. There was also some technical evidence given to the Inquiry that showed that Storstad's bow below the waterline had been wrenched to starboard - the bow above the waterline had been crushed to port. The conclusion was that Empress was moving when Storstad hit and that the above water movement of the bow was caused by the Storstad's anchor bolster hitting the Empress's hull. -- Subsea 18:08, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

Number of Children?[edit]


they cite 134 children dead, not 314 as cited here. Simple transpo? 15:26, 5 June 2007 (UTC) John C. Mosher

Nationality British or Canadian?[edit]

This edit changed the nationality from Canadian to British. No source is provided. I was tempted to change it back for that reason, but instead I raise it here. Unless there is some source for the change provided, I will revert the change sometime soon. --KenWalker | Talk 00:59, 6 October 2007 (UTC)

Good question. Like everything at this time period, this could be debated. It was built in the UK, registered there, owned by a Canadian Company and sank in Canadian waters. If it was registered in the UK, probably that would win out. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Varaldarade (talkcontribs) 23:07, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

At the time Canada was part of the British Empire and so would also have been regarded as 'British'. In addition, Canadians didn't get separate citizenship until the 1920s, so all 'Canadians' - no doubt despite the protestations of the Québécois - would have been 'British' at the time, (1914), too.
...the same applied to the other countries of the Empire, such as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, etc., as the citizens until independence were all British Subjects up to that time. After independence many newly-independent governments and peoples started to distance themselves from their colonial heritage, but prior to this 'Canadian', 'Australian', New Zealander, etc., were just subsets of 'British Nationality', and most if not all of their citizens would have held British Passports.
... so when a citizen of these countries was asked what nationality they were, many would have said 'Canadian', 'Australian', 'New Zealander' first, but would then have added 'but also British', because that's what many considered themselves to be. Not fashionable to remind people of this nowadays, but that's the way things were. And that's why so many of them of all races and colours queued up to fight for 'the Mother Country' in two World Wars.
So at the time, for the Empress of Ireland, 'Canadian' also meant, by implication, British as she was both 'Canadian' and 'British' at the same time. But as for 'Nationality' in the internationally-recognised meaning of the term, then she would have been listed as 'British' as 'Canadian' didn't yet exist as a separate nationality at the time.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:10, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

Superfluous external links?[edit]

I wonder about this link:

  • Pursuit of Grace: Aboard the Empress of Ireland: historical fiction novel -- Stephen Pavey's novel, Pursuit of Grace: Aboard the Empress of Ireland, is based on research in Salvation Army archives. Pavey is a Salvation Army Staff Band member, from the same band whose predecessors were lost in the sinking of the Empress.

If there is any dispute, the link can be restored easily enough. --Tenmei (talk) 18:29, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:WikiProject Trains[edit]

See explanatory comment at Talk:RMS Empress of Canada (1928) --Tenmei (talk) 19:38, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

Contradiction: Number of deaths[edit]

In the lead section this article currently states that "this accident claimed 1,073 lives", and references footnote 3.

Then the section "Collision" says that "exactly 1,024 people died" and again references footnote 3.

Then the table in the section "Number of people on board and death toll" says that 1,012 people died.

And footnote 3, cited by the two sections I mentioned first, actually agrees with the other one -- the wording is "BBC documentary, The Golden Age of Liners, states that 1012 died". (Someone apparently had in mind the kind of "footnote" that gives auxiliary information rather than the kind used to cite a source, as expected in a Wikipedia "References" section.)

For disasters of this size it is common enough for sources to contradict each other on such points, but the article needs to discuss the contradictions, not incorporate them! And, of course, the contradictory sources should be cited.

I've added a "contradict-self" tag. -- (talk) 07:41, 14 March 2011 (UTC) Oh, by the way, the article "Empress of Ireland" in :James H. Marsh (ed.). The Canadian Encyclopedia (2000 ed.). McClelland & Stewart. p. 762. ISBN 0-7710-2099-6.  says that the number was 1,014. -- (talk) 07:50, 14 March 2011 (UTC)

The Last Voyage of the Empress, a 2005 TV film[1] says that the number was 1012 deaths. Could this be a confusion between the Empress passenger deaths at the scene compounded by peripheral deaths at the time and subsequent deaths seen as being prompted by the incident? Acabashi (talk) 02:21, 16 April 2011 (UTC)


Also, it only qualifies as the "deadliest maritime disaster in Canadian history" if victims on land don't count. Admittedly that is not usually an issue when ranking maritime disasters, but the Halifax Explosion was the result of a ship collision. So the wording here needs to be made more precise. -- (talk) 10:52, 15 March 2011 (UTC)

rms empress of ireland[edit]

OKAY her is my new topic - i think that it needs to be large like lustania . my second topic. - I think it needs to be unsinkable like titanic. - — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:16, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

Lack of Citations and Other Issues[edit]

Lots of good info here but there is a general lack of references from the Collision heading down. Also, should the legend of Emmy be removed? Seems superstitious, unimportant and is not cited. I think the RMS prefix shouldn't be in the summary at the top. Not very relevant and it shouldn't come before the sinking. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Varaldarade (talkcontribs) 22:55, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

Further Reading[edit]

The Tragic Story of the EMPRESS of IRELAND by Logan Marshall is good for fruther reading because it has first hand accounts from survivors of the wreck. It's taken both first hand accounts and facts from other wrecks similar to it, for a greater understanding of what happened. — Preceding unsigned comment added by IHR mlm1134 (talkcontribs) 17:47, 3 February 2012 (UTC)

Survival rates....[edit]

What has been said in the literature regarding those who lived vs those who drowned? Almost 60% of the crew survived whereas less than 1 in 5 passengers in second and third class did! Why has this fact never been brought up? This seems like extreme negligent on the crews part? In fact those in first class only had a twice as likely chance of living as those in 2nd or 3rd. Furthermore why has no one questioned the motives of the captain of the Empress? His survival smacks very much of the captain of the modern-day Concordia (which did not result in similar tragedy of numbers, just 30 dead), he saved his neck when 80% of the people on board did not! At least Capt. Smith on the Titanic had the decency to go down with his ship in lieu of his pitiful seamanship.

Of note too, is this BBC article regarding the survival rates of men, women and children in a sea disaster, seems it's always the men who survive, so much for "women and children first"!
Part of the issue is related to the speed at which the ship sank, it was gone in 14 minutes compared to 2.5 hours for the Titanic. Given that the 1st class passengers were closer to the deck it was simply easier to get out of the ship and into the water. Also, since the ship was on the first day of the voyage, very few passengers had any idea as to the layout of the ship and this hampered the ability for passengers to get out. Japenfold (talk) 21:18, 15 April 2012 (UTC)


Who on earth removed the Titanic reference??? It's a fact that on that more famous ship 828 passengers dies whereas on this ship 840 passengers died. It's in the articles, so do the math!!!!! You don't need references when the facts are there....or do we need to know that the sea was cold that night? 17:41, 16 April 2012 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Hello there. You might have noticed that your post has been reverted twice. This is because it violated several of our policies, notably WP:CIVIL and WP:TPG. I have amended it so the substance is retained without any of the unnecessary ranting. Now, actually, you do need references when the facts are there, because the facts should be here based only on what references say. Can you explain why the comparison to Titanic is significant, preferably with reference to a reliable source? Nikkimaria (talk) 19:34, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
That sounds like a pretty limited response. If you can't see the connection why on earth do you have the temerity to reply? Firstly they are both tragic maritime disasters but the Titanic is the historical yardstick which all disasters are often measured. Secondly they were both passenger-carrying liners that sank after a collision off the coasts of N.America. Thirdly the answer is based on the math (the numbers are already referenced), more passengers died on this ship than on the Titanic. Although the total numbers who died was less than on Titanic (the crew numbers e.g. domestics was huge on the luxury Titanic), it proves this was a more deadly disaster for the passengers on the Ireland. Likewise it's a provable fact, based on the numbers provided by referenced sources, that survival rates of all passengers (and there were more that died on this ship than on the Titanic) that 59% of the crew survived whereas only 20% of the passengers did. You don't need reference to compare established facts. More passengers died following the sinking of this ship than died when the Titanic foundered. Why this has to be so difficult. All this obtuseness seems to me smacking of WP:IDL? (talk) 20:12, 22 June 2012 (UTC)

Article picture[edit]

Can a new picture be sourced? The image used is actually a retouched photograph of the Empress of Britain, the sister ship. You can tell easily because of the enclosed forward superstructure rather than the completely open promenade decks.

For reference, here are two definite photographs of the Empress of Ireland for comparison:

The retouched photo was used at the time for promotional purposes, and this has resulted in it being reprinted hundreds of times with the incorrect name.

Good catch. I suggest that the photo be removed if it is not in fact of the Empress of Ireland. -Ad Orientem (talk) 09:20, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

(Note: Below content is merged into this same topic thread in order to avoid confusion. -Ad Orientem (talk) 16:27, 29 May 2014 (UTC))

Despite the name on the bow(most likely added by a newspaper later), the main picture is NOT the Empress of Ireland, it's the Empress of Britain. The easiest way to tell the difference is basically the same as between the Olympic/Titanic. In the current picture you can see the promenade decks are enclosed up forward, the Empress of Ireland's were open along the entire length of those decks. TheMadcapSyd (talk) 14:43, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

Empress of Ireland

Yeah, I see this pic., taken from German WP, shows the forward promenade decks open. (Pic. is tagged "circa 1914.") Sca (talk) 15:52, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

A bit confused TheMadcapSyd says it is not but Sca says it is, do we need another opinion? MilborneOne (talk) 16:13, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Unless I am misreading things they are in agreement that the photo is not of the EoI. -Ad Orientem (talk) 16:22, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
The portside view above apparently was taken not long before the sinking, but that may be someone's (educated?) guess. The text says the forward promenade decks were changed "sometime in her career," but we we don't know when. Seems the existing main pic. being questioned here could be the Empress of Ireland before her renovation. Donno. Sca (talk) 16:34, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

Why is the picture on the homepage not available on this web page?.....

Because there is a general consensus that the photo in question is actually a retouched image of the EoI's sistership, the Empress of Britain. Accordingly the image was taken down. -Ad Orientem (talk) 22:59, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Among the places where this image has been published is the Robert Ballard Book, Lost Liners (1997), Toronto: Madison Press, p. 106. It is credited to the Alan Hustak Collection. Alan Hustak writes for the Montreal Gazette. Kablammo (talk) 00:14, 30 May 2014 (UTC)

CP Steamships and CPR[edit]

The preamble states that EoI was commissioned by Canadian Pacific Steamships (CP) [should this be CPS?] ... but the first para under the Construction heading states that "the vessel ... was to be delivered to C.P.R." - though it's not until the fourth para that the reader discovers that C.P.R. = Canadian Pacific Railway! This just makes hard work for the reader. (Incidentally, the same para also states that EoI "was commissioned by Canadian Pacific" - is this the same as Canadian Pacific Steamships? Why restate (and add confusion) to what has been stated earlier?) Moreover, it's only when the reader goes to the Canadian Pacific Steamships [now CP Ships] site that s/he realises that CP Ships was part of the CPR conglomerate until it became (in 2005) part of Hapag-Lloyd. Do you agree that there's room for improvement?

Prisoner of Zenda (talk) 12:38, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

Canadian Pacific Steamships was part of the massive Canadian Pacific Railroad conglomerate in those days. But as they were a separate corporation I believe it would be more accurate to refer to the ships as being belonging to CPS. In a similar way the White Star Line was part of the International Mercantile Marine conglomerate for more than twenty years. -Ad Orientem (talk) 13:42, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
I've added a comment to that effect. I also moved the comments about the "World's Greatest Transportation System" from the Construction heading to the preamble (where it makes more sense). Prisoner of Zenda (talk) 10:58, 31 May 2014 (UTC)


... renovations to relieve her superstructure of its enclosed forward promenade decks.

— "Relieve" may be maritime syntax, but it's use here seems somewhat puzzling for the casual reader. Were the enclosed promenade decks were removed? Or was the enclosure simply opened up? Great story. Sca (talk) 13:52, 29 May 2014 (UTC)


Included under the Construction heading is a comment about EoI striking a sunken vessel or an unknown submerged rock at the northern end of the St. Lawrence on 14 October 1909 ... how is that a construction detail? It might fit if there was some supplementary info such as repairs or modifications as a result of the collision, but there isn't, and ref [16] doesn't help; there's not even an indication of the extent of damage. If the comment doesn't fit under Construction, where should it go? It can't fit under the next heading (Collision), because that's about what happened about 4½ years later! Prisoner of Zenda (talk) 11:16, 31 May 2014 (UTC)


EoI "was designed with a passenger capacity of 1,580, with accommodations for 310 First Class passengers located amidships, 470 Second Class passengers aft, towards the stern, and 758 Third Class passengers ... " - but 310 + 470 + 758 = 1538, not 1580! Prisoner of Zenda (talk) 11:23, 31 May 2014 (UTC)

I have removed that because we had a different capacity in the same section which gave 1542 passengers and 373 crew, a total of 1915. MilborneOne (talk) 11:25, 13 June 2015 (UTC)

Passengers and crew[edit]

The table shows there were 420 crew and 1057 passengers (1st class 87; 2nd class 253; 3rd class 717), making a total of 1477 people ... but under the Construction heading, EoI when launched had room for a crew of only 373, and 1542 passengers (1st class 320; 2nd class 468; 3rd class 494; 4th class 270) ... how could there have been 717 3rd class passengers when the ship could only have 494? Were 3rd and 4th class passengers grouped together? Or have the design and launch capacity details been transposed? (The design capacity was: 1st class 310; 2nd class 470; 3rd class 758). Prisoner of Zenda (talk) 11:58, 31 May 2014 (UTC)

Not found a reliable reference but it is likely that the ship capacity had altered over the years, certainly no mention of fourth-class in the reports of the accident. At the time of the accident she was licensed to carry 1860 passengers (which included 372 crew), she had room for 758 third-class passengers but because of the number of lifeboats was only allowed to carry 714. This meant she had room for 1532 passengers but was only allowed to carry 1488. MilborneOne (talk) 11:57, 13 June 2015 (UTC)