Thomas Vaisset Université Le Havre Normandie, UMR 6266 IDEES (France) – Service historique de la Défense

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Death in port: the explosion of the battleship Liberté in Toulon harbour (25 September 1911)

On 25 September 1911 the battleship Liberté exploded in Toulon harbour. This tragedy is just one of the many disasters that the French fleet suffered at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries and also represents the peak of these calamities, since it is undoubtedly the most deadly suffered by a French Navy ship in peacetime. The aim of this article is to study how the navy managed this disaster and the resulting deaths of service personnel, which were all the more traumatic because the incident happened in France’s main military port and in circumstances that do not match the traditional forms of death at sea.

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