Losing the Empress


The Empress of Ireland’s last voyage ended on May 29, 1914, when she was rammed by a Norwegian coal-carrier in a fog patch on the St. Lawrence River near Rimouski. For David Creighton, her voyage still continues.

In Losing the Empress, Creighton delves into the lives of his grandparents - Salvation Army officers who were lost on the Empress - and the lives of their five orphaned children who would soon be plunged into World War I. His discoveries reveal amazing details about the Empress, which sank in fourteen minutes with a greater loss of life than the Titanic disaster.

Shipwreck nostalgia, last voyage dinners, Salvationists, the British Empire and the world wars fought to preserve it; everything comes into focus when the author joins Titanic discoverer Robert Ballard on a film shoot at the sunken liner’s site. Losing the Empress lyrically traces a personal journey into the past and into the future.


Among Creighton's greatest strengths is the way he recounts the emotions of the passengers of the Empress at the 'surreal' second that the Storstad angled into her.

The Ottawa Citizen (January, 2001)

About the Author

David Creighton

Posted by Dundurn Guest on October 30, 2014

David Creighton

David Creighton was the author of several books, including Losing the Empress(Dundurn), about the sinking of the Empress of Ireland, a book that led to his role in Robert Ballard's PBS documentary Lost Liners. He liked to travel luggage-free, staying in offbeat places like Amsterdam's Hotel Brian, but otherwise lived with his wife, Judy, in Burlington, Ontario. David Creighton is deceased.