HMS Niobe (1897)

From SpottingWorld, the Hub for the SpottingWorld network...
HMS Niobe
Career Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Niobe
Builder: Vickers Limited, Barrow-in-Furness
Launched: February 20, 1897
In service: 1898
Fate: Transferred to Royal Canadian Navy September 6, 1910
Career (Canada) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMCS Niobe
Commissioned: 6 September 1910
Out of service: 6 September 1915 to depot ship
Struck: 1920
Homeport: Halifax
Fate: broken up 1922
General characteristics
Displacement: 11,000 tons
Length: 435 ft (133 m) (462 ft 6 in (140.97 m) o/a)
Beam: 69 ft (21 m)
Draught: 25 ft 6 in (7.77 m)
Propulsion: 2 shaft triple expansion engines
16.500 - 18,000 hp
Speed: 20 - 20.5 knots
Complement: 760

16 x single QF 6-inch (152.4 mm) guns
14 x single QF 12-pounder (76-mm) guns
3 x single QF 3-pounder (47-mm) guns

2 x 18-inch (450-mm) torpedo tubes
Armour: 6 inch casemates
4.5-2 inch decks

HMS Niobe was a ship of the Diadem-class of protected cruiser in the Royal Navy. She served in the Boer War and was then given to Canada to form part of their first independent navy as HMCS Niobe. After patrol duties at the beginning of the First World War, she became a depot ship in Halifax. Damaged in the 1917 Halifax Explosion, she was scrapped in the 1920s.


She was built by Vickers Limited, Barrow-in-Furness and launched on February 20, 1897 entering service in 1898.

She was part of the Channel Squadron at the outbreak of the Boer War (1899-1900), and was sent to Gibraltar to escort troop transports ferrying reinforcements to the Cape. On 4 December 1899, Niobe and HMS Doris rescued troops from the SS Ismore, which had run aground. She saw further action in the Boer War and the Queen's South Africa Medal was subsequently awarded to the crew.

She returned to the Channel, but later escorted vessels as far as Colombo[1]

She and HMS Rainbow were given to the Dominion of Canada to form part of the new Royal Canadian Navy (RCN). She was transferred to the RCN on September 6, 1910, commissioning at Devonport Dockyard and reaching Halifax on October 21 that year. She ran aground off Cape Sable, Nova Scotia, on the night of July 30-31 July 1911. Repairs took 18 months and she had a permanently reduced maximum speed as a result. With the outbreak of the First World War she joined the Royal Navy's 4th Cruiser Squadron on the North America and West Indies Station. She was engaged in intercepting German ships along the American coast for a year until as a result of being worn out, she was paid off on 6 September 1915 to become a depot ship in Halifax. The Halifax Explosion of 1917 caused serious damage to upper works , and the deaths of several of her crew. However she remained in use as a depot ship until disposed of in 1920, decommissioned and sold for scrap. She was broken up in 1922 in Philadelphia.[2]


As the first large ship in the Royal Canadian Navy, Niobe's name has considerable symbolic importance in the Canadian navy being used among other things as the title of a series of scholarly papers. Models and collections of artifacts of Niobe can be found at several Canadian museums including the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and the Maritime Command Museum in Halifax

Commanding Officers

  • Commander W.B.MacDonald RN 6 September 1910 - ?
  • Lt Commander C.E.Aglionby RN 20 June 1913 - ?
  • Captain R.G.Corbett RN 15 August 1914 - 1 September 1915
  • A(Acting)/Commander P.F.Newcombe RN 16 October 1916 - ?
  • Commander H.E.Holme RCN 22 December 1917 - 1 June 1920


  1. Diary of a seaman on Niobe
  2. Canadian Navy Heritage accessed 6th April 2008


de:HMS Niobe (1897) fr:NCSM Niobe