The Riley family made Sean welcome; after all he came from Irish stock and they all wanted to hear about Canada. Old man Riley, Edwin was his name was a drunk who went on and on about the British whilst Shamus Mother Mary was a kind person. . Shamus said he was not about to return to sea again, whilst Edwin said he would get both a job up at the distillery.” Right you old fool open this bottle of Irish and we will all drink to Sean’s new life in Ireland?” Mary said as Edwin sat bolt upright. Sean and his new friend Shamus spent many evenings in the local public house affectionately known to many as the watering hole, and it soon became clear to Sean that Shamus was infact a leading member of the I.R.A. like Caleb Shamus Was also on the wanted list. Sean asked him why he came back to Ireland and Shamus replied,” I suppose I came home to face the music, I mean you cannot be on the run forever can you?” Try as they might Sean was determined not to join the I.R.A., he said he would rather return to Canada than join an organisation That believed in violence, this of course was not received with pleasure by Shamus Or his friends. Caleb, it seems had stolen a revolver from the army camp some weeks earlier and was proudly showing it to his pals in the public house. As the days went on word spread that two soldiers had been shot and that Shamus had infact shot them. Sean felt sick Inside as Shamus said,” get this drink down you me lad and let me do the worrying?” Sean knew he had seen enough death to last him a lifetime and wondered why he had got involved with Shamus and his friends, after all he still had not found his relatives In Donegal.
As Sean drank his beer his mind raced back to that fateful day in his hometown of Halifax. Suddenly he felt homesick and wondered if he had done the right thing by Coming to Ireland, to a land of violence and death. As Sean sat contemplating the door of the public house was thrown open and in walked four young guys wearing flat caps, flat caps which almost covered there faces. They immediately went over to Caleb and shook his hand. Something must have been said because they looked towards Sean and began to laugh. For no Apparent reason other than to show off Caleb produced the revolver and began Waiving it about shouting,” At least I aint no damb coward?” he was of course Accusing Sean of cowardice. Shamus turned to Sean and said,” Ignore the bastard Sean he just wants to use that revolver?” Sean replied,” I guess I should have stayed In Canada?”, as he lifted his glass to drink Caleb pulled the trigger and shot Sean in the head and he fell to the floor. Shamus was covered in blood as he reached out to help Sean, but it was too late. As Shamus knelt cradling Sean’s head in his arms He knew his friend was dying. Meanwhile Caleb was shouting,” That’s the way to get rid of cowards? bloody Canadian he thought he was something special he did!”.
“Come on and have a drink Shamus?” Caleb said as though nothing had happened, “We can always blame it on the British?” he said waiving the revolver about as he Spoke. Shamus said,” I will never drink with you again, you are nothing but a bloody Murderer, rot in hell!”” I most probably will along with many others who want a free Ireland?” Caleb replied. Drinking his beer and made a hasty exit, and it was the last time anyone was to see Caleb. He seemed to vanish into thin air, whilst a search for him began, weeks went into Months until one day a body was found washed up on the coast minus its legs, the Face had been badly beaten and it was hard to no if it was a man or women, this was Until the police noticed the four leaf clover on one arm and the words I.R.A. on the Other. It was clear it was the body of Caleb and it seemed justice had been done for the death of Sean. Nobody knew who killed Caleb and nobody was ever charged with his murder, but many said it was the work of his own pals in the I.R.A. because Caleb was not fighting for the cause, but for himself. Sean Maguire was returned to Halifax for burial, Ironic the Sean had not died in the Halifax Explosion but had die in a shooting in another country for no reason at all.
The Halifax Explosion had left many homeless and many without families, amongst those was of course myself, my heroic deeds had been noticed by many and many folk wondered why indeed such a young man would dedicate his life to helping strangers. Had the Americans not come to their assistance with medical supplies food and drink things would have been worse. “I wonder if you could direct me to what is left of the railway station?” she said in a soft spoken voice. As I looked up to see who was speaking I was confronted by what can only be described as an angel. The sun was playing on her hair as I Found myself speechless.
Nurse Sally Mitchell was not looking for the station to catch a train she was looking To attend to the wounded, in her home town of Chicago they had asked for nurses And doctors to come forward to help the people of Halifax, and although Sally Had only been nursing for a year she knew she wanted to help save lives!. I found myself speechless at the sight of Sally, when I tried to tell her about the Railway Station the words seemed to get stuck in my mouth. Her deep blue eyes made me go weak at the knees and for a second I forgot I was in a disaster area. After Brushing myself down I said,”Er it aint much of a station anymore infact they are still bringing out the dead and wounded not a nice sight for you to see”?. Sally was smiling as she replied,” I am a nurse and am expected to face all kinds of things so if you would not mind would you show me the station?”.”Er Johns the name, John Smithers and I will take you to the station myself Er?””Sally, Sally Mitchell”, she Replied,” From Chicago!” Soon realising I looked quite a sight in my dusty clothes my face was hardly visible under the dust and grime and it became clear I had been digging for almost twelve hours non-stop?,”Boy”I said to himself,” I sure must look a sight For sore eyes?”. As they approached the remains of the station a body was brought out minus an arm, but this seemed not to affect Sally.” Sorry but I did warn you it was not going to be a pretty sight I lost my mother and father along with my brother in This damb disaster and I have seen sights you would never believe?”, As I Spoke Sally was suddenly violently sick.
From that very day Sally, like myself worked tirelessly treating the wounded as though each one of them were a part of her very own family, day after day and night after night she could be seen helping those in pain until finally exhausted she slumped in a chair and fell asleep. It was some weeks later that the two of them were to meet up Again. I had been digging when a wall fell on me injuring my leg and as I staggered towards the Red Cross building I was confronted by Sally. She was Looking tired and with blood on her uniform she still looked she looked gorgeous to me as I winced in pain.
Sally was surprised and pleased to see a face she knew, and as I limped into the makeshift office she checked out my leg, it was not broken but severely lacerated and would need stitches. As Sally ushered me towards a vacant bed she reached for the Scissors.” Gee Sally when did you last sleep?” I asked as I lay down. She Began cutting my trouser leg away she replied,” I cannot leave these folk to fend For themselves there are five nurses and three doctors to cope with a disaster That has taken almost all of Halifax and Dartmouth in its wake?”, As John began to feel the stitches she continued,” word is that we are to get more nurses and doctors and maybe we will get a break?”, As Sally finished my leg and I stood up she Made a grab for my arm since I was still unsteady.” Listen Sally” I said, “How About I buy you a coffee and we both have a break?”, Sally was about to say she was Busy when I said,” And no excuses please?”.
Although many had lost their families and I was no exception, for my heroism in the face of such a disaster I was mentioned in the local paper” The Patriot”, I was Of course taken aback by the publicity and explained I was only doing what any other guy would do,” But at still only fifteen?”, the editor Tom Hughes said as I Said he felt he had a duty to save as many as he could he said he owe it to the memory of his mother and father plus his dead brother Jack. Each day things began to improve, the supplies from the United States put a smile back on many faces plus our own Canadian Provinces helped in many ways. Day After day thousands needed help such as re-housing the homeless who could be seen wandering aimlessly about the deserted streets as the fields housed thousands of tents and resembled an Indian Encampment. Each time I went to have my bandages changed he felt himself falling more and more in love with Sally.
After a hard days work the two of them would sit and talk of my family and of how Much I missed them, I said she would have liked Jack and his mother and Father?, as they sat talking he took Sally in his arms and with that first kiss I knew that one day she would become Mrs Smithers.My love for Sally has sustained him through a traumatic period of my life a Period when life had lost all meaning for me. Daily I worked tirelessly side by side with the many helpers. Death was no stranger to me as I lifted a slab of concrete only to find a young mother and her child; her husband had died when a wall fell in on him. As they removed the wounded mother and child she screamed out the words Josh and I assumed that was her husband’s name. It was then I turned to Sally and said,” Who is going to tell her and that child he is dead?” Suddenly the women screamed out her husbands Name and it was then that I knew Sally had told her he was dead.
Because of the disaster many had forgotten the war in Europe, which was coming to an end, Soldiers were returning to find out they had lost homes and families in the explosion. They had got used to seeing death but not death that had taken there families. Even battle-hardened men could be seen crying out loud in the streets of Halifax, and their own injuries were forgotten as they removed brick by brick in an attempt to save lives and find relatives.