Canada at War: NOVA SCOTIA: For Courage

Unobtrusive among the names of 858 other Canadians commended in King George VI's New Year's Honors List was that of a quiet, coolheaded civilian who had helped save Halifax from what might have been one of the world's worst disasters. His name was John Brackett. His job: harbor pilot. His citation: M.B.E. (for Member of the Order of the British Empire). Censorship had long suppressed the full story of what 54-year-old Pilot Brackett had done. Now the censorship was lifted.

In November 1943 the U.S. freighter Volunteer, crammed with explosives, lay at anchor in Halifax Harbor. Suddenly she caught fire....

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