The History of the NIOBE

Originally HMS Niobe, she 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 as the first ship of the then newly-created Royal Canadian Navy as HMCS Niobe.

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

In her RN service, 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 English Channel, but later escorted vessels as far as Colombo in Ceylon.

She and HMS Rainbow were given to the Dominion of Canada to seed 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.

NIOBE Statistical Data

  • Pendant:
  • Type: Cruiser
  • Class: Diadem
  • Displacement: 11000 tonnes
  • Length: 466 ft
  • Width: 69 ft
  • Draught: 26 ft
  • Speed: 15 kts
  • Compliment: 677 Officers and Crew
  • Arms: 16 - 6", 12 - 12 pdrs., 5 - 3 pdrs., 2 - 18" TT
  • Builder: Vickers, Barrows in Furness
  • Keel Laid:
  • Date Launched: 20 Feb 1897
  • Date Commissioned: 06-Sep-10
  • Paid off: 06-Sep-15


Formerly RN - HMS NIOBE

Keywords: HMCS NIOBE, Royal Canadian Navy Ship, Cruiser, Diadem Class