For the first time the story of the catastrophic disaster of the sinking of the R.M.S. Empress of Ireland in the St. Lawrence River is now taken from the human perspective.
Part One: takes you on her last journey as the Empress of Ireland leave her home Port of Liverpool on her last 96th, west voyage on May 15th, 1914 and sails towards Quebec City under the command of Captain Henry George Kendall. This is his first voyage to Quebec City as captain of the Empress of Ireland and it will be his last!
Part Two: the week before sailing some strange occurrences happened before the Empress of Ireland sailed. Another incident would happen again only a few hours into the voyage. As Quartermaster Galway steered the Empress of Ireland towards Father’s Point to drop off the river pilot. Galway claimed that the Empress of Ireland steering gear failed momentarily and almost hit another ship.
Captain Kendall orders the Empress to full speed ahead when he gets a message from the crow’s nest that a single ship’s lights is approaching from the starboard bow with a fog bank floating across the river and between the two approaching vessels. Stories from the passengers and crew as their lives hang in the balance of life and death. Fatal decisions are made by Chief Officer Toftenes of the collier Storstad and Captain Kendall of the Empress of Ireland, his ship will sinks in fourteen minutes killing 1,012 passengers and crew.
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My new book entitled,
"The 96th, Voyage/The Truth About the Empress of Ireland Tragedy"
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Part Three: Follows the aftermath of the disaster and then the finger pointing as to which ship was to blame, while the world mourned the victims and the Salvation Army bury their dead. Quickly the Canadian Government send a request for Lord Mersey to lead the Formal Inquiry
in Quebec City to the displeasure of the public. As they felt he had sided more with the White Star Line Company during the Titanic Inquiry is now under the scrutiny of the world if this hearing would be fair?
Accusations started to fly, why Captain Kendall attempted to stop his ship with fog approaching but failed to close the watertight doors and porthole? Why did they try to get Quartermaster Galway of the Empress of Ireland out of the country before he testified? Why did Chief Engineer William Sampson lie that there had never been a problem with the steering of the Empress. Why did the crow’s nest lookout John Carroll seemed to be very vague in his testimony about his lack of doing his do his diligence in keeping watch as the other ship approached? Absurd testimony from Captain Kendall on how the Storstad back out from the Empress after the collision. Salvage of the Empress of Ireland begins and the hardships that the divers had to endured, including losing one of their own. After the Formal Inquiry the fight continued in the court Mr. Atwater counsel for the defendants states that the testimony Captain Kendall’s submitted, bore the earmarks of a manufactured story!
Part Four: The shock of the disaster had barely sunk in to those who lost their loved ones and for those who had survived some of them would be haunted with nightmares until their death. For those fortunate few some would go on as nothing had happened full filling their lives with new adventures while others the damage had been done. Friends, relatives, children, newly weds and complete families had been wiped out. Family ties between the old and new worlds were severed and families would loose touch or cases of mistaken identity between the survivors and the dead would rain havoc for years to come.
Photo Cover: Designed by Ian Kinder
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In total, Ian has done a marvelous job giving the reader new, not rehashed information. A Tale of Two Sisters is a must have for anyone interested, not just in the Atlantic EMPRESSES, but for any ship enthusiast interested in exploring the inner working of the Edwardian-era Atlantic crossing.
David Zeni, Author FORGOTTEN EMPRESS
I received your book on Tuesday. I've never known Canada Post to be that fast!
I'm really enjoying the book. I'm interested in the Empress of Ireland because I'm writing a novel that takes place on its last completed voyage.
It's just great to have "A Tale of Two Sisters." There is such a wealth of information in it.
And all the photos and drawing - especially the deck blueprints.
Thanks for writing such an interesting book.
Book Endorsement from the Author of the "Forgotten Empress" David Zeni
Author, Ian Kinder, has taken a new approach in producing a manuscript about Canada's Titanic--R.M.S. EMPRESS of IRELAND. He completed an exhaustive review of surveys performed by Lloyd's of London during construction at the Govan based yard. These documents were found at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. Another fresh source of information were the annotated deck plans actually used during the Inquiry into the loss of the EMPRESS. These were rediscovered in Montreal several years ago and contain much more detail than the deck plans from the Keeper of the Records of Scotland. There were other fresh sources including much from the family of former EMPRESS Master, James Murray.
The reader is taken on a journey into each compartment of the EMPRESS following Lloyd's surveyor Arthur Jones. Selected images of the actual surveys are interspersed with relevant text to deliver a comprehensive understanding of Edwardian-era construction and operation. Ian's fascination with all aspects of EMPRESS engineering shines throughout. For example, in first class accommodation, "The deep alcove bays at each side,
with their alluring settees and comfortable corners, would suggest to the passenger of the day that instead of being on a modern day liner, they were in a modern day hotel.
" Unknown to many, the EMPRESS of IRELAND experienced serious hull and propeller damage on October 14, 1909. The ship struck a submerged object off Cape Chat. Ian brilliantly retells the story by combining details from the official investigation with a passenger diary account of the voyage. A ship's length deck plan charts the actual places on the hull where damage was sustained. Another fresh aspect of Ian's work is bringing in the sister ship EMPRESS of BRITAIN at appropriate times especially welcomed in regards to the Royal Mail contract and performance differences between vessels. I learned a great deal about how the Royal Mail contract was administered. No other author heretofore has explained it this clearly.
The R.M.S. Empress of Ireland Community
Hello – I expect you have come to this site seeking info on the Empress of Ireland and possibly a way to connect with one of here foremost historians – Ian Kinder.
Ian was a man whose passion it was to keep the memory of the Empress of Ireland alive in the hearts and the minds of any and all who were interested and curious. His efforts to research the statistics and the peoples stories related to the Empress culminated in this website and his 2 books. He communicated with people all over the world gathering stories about the people who sailed on the Empress for her last voyage – in some cases his efforts even brought families together.
Ian passed away July 23, 2017 off the coast of Newfoundland. He and I were starting out on the first of many planned dives on the wrecks that surround Bell Island. Unfortunately it was not to be and before we even submerged he was taken. His death was not caused by anything to do with the dive – it was natural causes that took place while we were in the water. As the doctor informed me it was something that could have taken him anytime anywhere. He went doing something he loved.
I plan to keep the website up in his memory and I will continue to honor any book or product orders. I will sign his books in his memory for those who wish it.
If you have a story to share about Ian please send it to me and I will have it added to a memorial page on this website for any who come this way to read.