July 17, 1944 – Port Chicago disaster: Near the San Francisco Bay, two ships laden with ammunition for the war explode in Port Chicago, California, killing 320 people instantly and injuring an additional 390 military personnel and civilians. 50 seamen who refused to return to work were court-martialed, convicted of mutiny, and imprisoned until the end of the war.


The force of the blast was roughly the same order of magnitude as the atomic bomb that would later be dropped on Hiroshima. No training had been given to the loaders (Negro sailors) or the (White) officers supervising them. In fact, the Navy did not even have written guidelines for loading munitions at the time.

  10 comments for “This Day in History

  1. July 17, 2018 at 3:48 PM

    I read the Wikipedia article about the Battle of Midway becausa you, It was very good. Now I’m going back to read more articles because of you and your commentators. I don’t mind.


    • July 17, 2018 at 5:48 PM

      Thanks for your comments, Mark. I am doing a lot of research for some upcoming posts and going thru digital copies of old newspapers has been a trip down memory lane—with lots of rest stops for new information. I hope you’ll write about what you discover.


  2. July 17, 2018 at 11:34 AM

    I’d never heard of either! So very sad what we do to ourselves in the name of “progress”. No one has learned anything since the beginning of time when it comes to war and destruction

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 17, 2018 at 11:51 AM

      We may have learned a few things along the way but unfortunately, not for the betterment of mankind.


  3. July 17, 2018 at 8:14 AM

    Reminded me
    On 6 December 1917, Halifax was devastated when two ships collided in the city’s harbour, one of them a munitions ship loaded with explosives bound for the battlefields of the First World War. What followed was one of the largest human-made explosions prior to the detonation of the first atomic bombs in 1945. The north end of Halifax was wiped out by the blast and subsequent tsunami. Nearly 2,000 people died, another 9,000 were maimed or blinded, and more than 25,000 were left without adequate shelter.


    • July 17, 2018 at 10:49 AM

      Good grief, this is the first that I have heard about that disaster. Both of these accidental explosions are beyond my comprehension.


    • July 17, 2018 at 4:15 PM

      We were in Halifax last summer and we were told that tale while we were up in the fort.

      Liked by 1 person

      • July 17, 2018 at 5:49 PM

        Wow, what are the odds that the three of us would be discussing this from very distant parts of the world?

        Liked by 1 person

  4. July 17, 2018 at 6:34 AM

    Sadly now the same damage can be done with so much less than two ships-worth.



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