The History of the ASSINIBOINE (1st)

HMCS Assiniboine was a River-class destroyer that served in the Royal Canadian Navy from 1939-1945.

She was laid down on 18 October 1930 at J. Samuel White, Cowes and launched on 29 October 1931. She was commissioned as a D-class destroyer into the Royal Navy on 30 May 1932 as HMS Kempenfelt

Kempenfelt was decommissioned from the RN on 18 October 1939 and commissioned into the RCN that same day at HMNB Devonport. Assuming the name HMCS Assiniboine, she became the first RCN vessel to be named for the Assiniboine River.

On 8 March 1940 Assiniboine, along with HMS Dunedin intercepted and captured the German merchant ship Hannover near Jamaica. The Hannover was later converted into HMS Audacity.

On 31 August 1941 Assiniboine rescued 3 survivors from the British merchant ship Embassage that was torpedoed by U-557 on 27 August about 100 nautical miles (190 km) west of Achill Island.

On 3 May 1942 Assiniboine and HMCS Alberni rescued 47 survivors from the British tanker British Workman that was torpedoed and sunk by U-455 south-south east of Cape Race.

Assiniboine was assigned to North Atlantic convoy Escort Group C-1 escorting convoys ONS-112 and SC-94. While escorting SC-94 on 6 August 1942, Assiniboine achieved her first victory when she rammed, depth charged and shelled U-210 south of Cape Farewell, Greenland.

Following refit, Assiniboine was assigned to North Atlantic convoy Escort Group C-3 escorting convoys HX-221 and ONS-163. On 2 March 1943 Assiniboine was damaged by her own depth charges during a battle with U-119. She made Liverpool on 7 March and took 3 months to repair.

On 14 February 1945 Assiniboine collided with merchant ship Empire Bond in the English Channel. She made Sheerness for repairs and was operational again in early March.

Assiniboine was decommissioned from the RCN on 8 August 1945.

ASSINIBOINE (1st) Statistical Data

  • Pendant: D/I18
  • Type: Destroyer
  • Class: RIVER Class British
  • Displacement: 1375 tonnes
  • Length: 329 ft
  • Width: 33 ft
  • Draught: 10.2 ft
  • Speed: 31 kts
  • Compliment: 10 Officers and 171 Crew
  • Arms: 4-4.7", 8-21" Torpedo Tube (2 x IV), 2-2 pdrs. Modified to 2-4.7", 1-3", 4-21" Torpedo Tubes (I x IV), 6-20mm and Hedgehog as war began.
  • Builder: J. Samuel White & Co. Ltd., Cowes. lOW., U.K.
  • Keel Laid: 18-Oct-30
  • Date Launched: 29-Oct-31
  • Date Commissioned: 19-Oct-39
  • Paid off: 08-Aug-45



Additional Information

Assiniboine was sold by the RCN at Sorel, Quebec and was being towed to Baltimore, Maryland for scrapping on 7 November 1945 when the tow ship and Assiniboine encountered storm conditions several nautical miles north of East Point, Prince Edward Island. Several futile attempts were made to tow Assiniboine's hulk off the shoreline at South Lake. Eventually the owners authorized local scrap dealers to remove valuable brass and copper from the wreck but by the late 1940s these salvage operations were finished and the warship was left to deteriorate on the Kings County beach.

Keywords: HMCS ASSINIBOINE (1st), Royal Canadian Navy Ship, Destroyer, RIVER Class British Class