For Posterity's Sake         

A Royal Canadian Navy Historical Project

HMCS NIOBE

HMCS Niobe, Halifax, 1910

 

Launched: 20 Feb 1897

Commissioned: 

Paid off: 

Transferred to RCN: 1910

Commissioned: 06 Sep 1910

Paid off: 06 Sep 1915

Fate: Sold for scrap in 1920. Broken up in Philadelphia in 1922

 

A good deal more imposing than Rainbow, Niobe had served in the RN from 1898 to 1910, one of eight sisters of the Diadem class. She was commissioned in the RCN on 06 Sep 1910, at Devonport, and arrived at Halifax on 21 Oct 1910. Niobe was nearly lost during the night of 29-30 Jul 1911, when she went aground off Cape Sable, necessitating repairs that were not completed until the end of 1912. A court martial was held in Nov 1911. Lt Lord Allister Graham who was officer of the watch up to approx 15-20 minutes before the grounding, was found guilty of causing, or suffering to be caused, the stranding of HMCS Niobe on the dangerous ledges of Cape Sable. The Navigating Officer, Lt Charles White, was found guilty of suffering, through negligence, the Niobe to strand on the treacherous ledges off Cape Sable. he was severely reprimanded and dismissed from th3e ship. The Commanding Officer, Cdr William Balfour MacDonald, RN, was tried and found not to be negligent in the stranding of HMCS Niobe. In the fall of 1914, after the ravages of two years' disuse had been made good, she joined the RN's 4th Cruiser Squadron on contraband patrol off New York. Worn out, she returned to Halifax on 17 Jul 1915, never to put to sea again. With her funnels near collapse and her engines worn out, Niobe was paid off on 06 Sep 1915 and became a depot ship for the rest of the war. On 06 Dec 1917 she was moored 700 yards from the ammunition ship Mont Blanc, which caught fire after a collision with the Belgian relief ship Imo in Halifax harbour. Niobe was the first ship to give the alarm after collision, and Warrant Boatswain Albert Mattison and six ratings left Niobe and boarded the Mont Blanc in an attempt to scuttle her. They all died in the resulting explosion which destroyed much of Halifax. Niobe was extensively damaged in the explosion and her superstructure and funnels were wrecked. Numerous fires were started on board which destroyed the ship's records. Niobe was repaired and continued to serve as a depot ship until 1920 when she was sold for scrap. She was broken up at Philadelphia two years later.

 

Commanding Officers

Cdr William Balfour MacDonald, RN - 06 Sep 1910 - unk

LCdr Charles Edward Aglionby, RN - 20 Jun 1913 - unk

Capt Robert Gwynne Corbett, RN - 15 Aug 1914 - 01 Sep 1915

A/Cdr P.F. Newcombe, RN - 16 Oct 1916 - unk

Cdr Hugh Edward Holme, RCN - 22 Dec 1917 - unk

Cdr Hugh Edward Holme, RCN - 04 Apr 1918 - unk

 

     In memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice    

     Lest We Forget     

 

- Book of Remembrance entry     - Grave or burial information

BEARD, Ernest Edmund

Sto PO, VR/1731 Albert Medal, RNCVR

killed - 06 Dec 1917  

BROWN, William

WO, RN

killed - 06 Dec 1917

BURNETT, Rodney O.

Carpenter, 17017, RCN

killed - 06 Dec 1917 

CARVER, William

PO, VR/2090, RNCVR

killed - 06 Dec 1917 

CHICK, Sidney

L/Sig, VR/1786, RNCVR

killed - 06 Dec 1917 

GARDNER, Walter

OS, VR/5091, RNCVR

killed - 06 Dec 1917 

KELSEY, Patrick

Sto, RN

killed - 06 Dec 1917

LONEY, William Sim

AB, Stoker, RNVR

killed - 06 Dec 1917

MATTISON, Albert Charles

Bos'n, Albert Medal, RCN

killed - 06 Dec 1917 

Drafted to HMCS Niobe on 06 Feb 1916

McMILLAN, Charles

LS, VR/2496, RNCVR

killed - 06 Dec 1917 

MURRAY, James

LCdr, RN

killed - 06 Dec 1917 

NICKERSON, Freeman Burnley

OS, VR/1891, RNCVR

killed - 06 Dec 1917 

SAUNDERS, Albert

AB, VR/4066, RNCVR

killed - 06 Dec 1917 

VEALS, George

W/T Operator, VR/386, RCN

killed - 06 Dec 1917   

WILSON, Carl Cecil

AB, VR/1561, RNCVR

killed - 06 Dec 1917 

YATES, George Roley

Sto, VR/5480, RNCVR

killed - 06 Dec 1917 

 

 

 

 

 

     In memory of those who have crossed the bar    

They shall not be forgotten

A

Abbott, David Spencer

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 11 Feb 1918 AS Mate, RNCVR

Abbott, Ian (Ira ??) Elmer

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 11 Feb 1918 as Mate, RNCVR

Aglionby, Charles Edward

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 27 Jul 1910 as Lt (T), RN. Appointed to HMCS Niobe on 20 Jun 1913 as LCdr, RN, CO

Annesley, John Smyth

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 18 Jun 1910 as St/Paym, RN

Appleton, Llewellyn Walter

1901-1985

Served in Niobe 23 Jan 1917 - 12 Nov 1917 and 20 Jul 1918 - 12 Aug 1918 as a Boy Sailor, RNCVR

Atwood, Arthur F.L.

1859-1960

 

 

 

 

B

Ball, George Beverly

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 16 Apr 1918 as W. Op 4th Cl, RNCVR

Baquet, Joseph Lucien Edmund

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 18 Jun 1918 as Mate, RNCVR

Barrowman, Frederick William

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 29 Apr 1918 as W. Op 4th Cl, RNCVR

Bass, Sydney William

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 06 May 1918 as Mate, RNCVR

Becker, Wilfred Artland

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 16 Apr 1918 as W. Op 4th Cl

Bell, John Frances Fawcett

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 16 Jun 1910 as Lt (E), RNR

Berry, Francis William

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 13 Apr 1918 as W. Op 4th Cl. RNCVR

Blackie, Charles Edward

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 27 Mar 1917 as A/Art (E), RCN

Bower, James Gordon

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 26 Feb 1918 as Mate, RNCVR

Brown, James

____-____

Drafted to Niobe on 01 Feb 1911 as A/Head Stwd CNF

Bruhm, Harry Benjamin

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 24 Jan 1918 as Mate, RNCVR

Buchanan, James Stewart

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 16 Apr 1918 as W. Op 4th Cl, RNCVR

Burke, William Patrick

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 12 Jun 1917 as Ch/Skpr, RCN

Burns, Thomas Colin

1894-1964

Burrows, Alfred E.

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 16 Mar 1911 as Surg, CNF

Burton, George

1882-1946

Served in Niobe 06 Jan 1917 - 26 Jan 1917 as an OS, RNCVR and 10 May 1918 - 31 Oct 1918 as a PO, RNCVR

 

 

 

 

C

Caine, John Cowan

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 22 Apr 1918 as Lt, RNCVR

Carnduff, W.E.

____-____

Carmichael, Daniel Norman

____-____

Drafted to Niobe (D/S) 15 Jul 1918 as Mate, RNCVR

Church, Philip D.

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 04 Jul 1910 as Lt (El), RN

Clark, Charles Robertson

____-1979

Clark, John Daughtrey

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 18 Apr 1918 as W. Op 4th Cl, RNCVR

Clarke, George Pauleston

____-____

Served in Niobe in 1910

Clayton, Harold Frederick

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 08 Jun 1918 as W. Op 4th Cl, RNCVR

Clegg, John Harry Kay

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 10 Jun 1914 as LCdr, RN

Coffey, John Sinclair

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 13 May 1918 as W. Op 4th Cl, RNCVR

Colerick, Allan Bowey

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 14 May 1918 as W. Op 4th Cl, RNCVR

Cooke, C.T.

____-____

Served in Niobe as a Boy Seaman

Cossey, Hylton Herbert

1894-1967

Served in Niobe 23 Oct 1917 - 31 Dec 1918 as AB, EA, Sto, Sto PO and 11 Jan 1919 - 16 Mar 1919 as Sto PO

Cox, Edward

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 21 Apr 1909 as Carpenter, RN

Craig, W.P.

____-____

Drafted to Niobe on 01 Feb 1918 as Ch/Art (E), RCN

Cromwell, James Wark

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 01 Jun 1918 as Ch/Art, RCN

Curry, Angus Downes Mathwin

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 11 Feb 1911

 

 

 

D

Davies, John D.

____-____

Served in Niobe 25 Aug 1910 to 04 Jul 1916, RNCVR

DeBurgh, Hubert Hugh

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 23 Jun 1910 as Lt, RN

Derrick, Walter

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 25 Apr 1918 as Art (E) (Temp), RCN

Deslauriers, Joseph Joachim

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 18 Jun 1918 as Mate, RNCVR

Dodd, John William B.

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 07 Jun 1918 as Mate, RNCVR

Doherty, William Albert

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 16 Apr 1918 as W. Op 4th Cl, RNCVR

 

 

 

 

E

Elliott, Harold Albert

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 05 Jun 1918 as W. Op 4th Cl, RNCVR

Evans, Frederick

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 16 Jul 1910 as Bosn, RN

Evell, Archibald William

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 01 Apr 1917 as A/Wt/Wtr (Temp), RCN

 

 

F

Fletcher, John Norman

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 27 Jul 1910 as Ass/Paym, RN

Fitzgerald, Thomas Moffat

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 27 Jul 1910 as Ass/Paym, RN

 

 

 

G

Gammon, John Thomas

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 24 Jan 1918 as A/CPO,MAA (Temp), RCN

Gesner, William Edward

____-____

Drafted to Niobe on 22 May 1917 as Mate, RNCVR

Gibb, Alexander Clark

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 08 Jun 1918 as W. Op 4th Cl, RNCVR

Goodwin, Charles Harford Richard Octavian Woodley 

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 05 Jun 1917 as Lt, RNVR

Gordon, Arthur Melvin

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 29 Apr 1918 as W. Op 4th Cl

Goodman, Lawrence Halloway

1902-____

Gordon-Canning, Cecil James George

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 05 Jun 1917 as Lt, RNVR

Goreham, William

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 11 Feb 1918 as Mate, RNCVR

Graham, Alistair M.

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 26 Jun 1910 as Lt, RN

Graham, George Duncan Henry

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 07 Jun 1918 as W. Op 4th Cl, RNCVR

Graver, George Dewing

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 16 Jul 1910 as Gnr, RN

Gray, Alfred Edward

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 06 Jun 1918 as A/W. Op 4th Cl, RNCVR

Guy, Simeon

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 12 Feb 1918 as Mate, RNCVR

 

 

H

Hadley, William Henry

____-____

Haines, Ernest

1876-1965

Drafted to HMCS Niobe on 15 May 1918 as A/Ch/Gnr, RCN

Hearne, John

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 16 Mar 1918 as Ch/Skpr, RCN

Holme, Hugh Edward

____-____

Appointed to Niobe 04 Apr 1918 as Cdr, RCN, CO

Hopkins, George William

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 14 Feb 1912 as Head Bandmaster, RCN

Hopkins, Isaac Armstrong

____-____

Drafted to Niobe D/S on 20 Jul 1917 as Bos'n, RCN

Huclin, Richard Henry

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 11 Feb 1918 as Mate, RNCVR

Hudson, Albert Edward

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 08 Jan 1918 as A/Bosn, Temp, RCN

Hunt, Hugh Michael

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 05 Apr 1918 as Ch/Art (E), RCN

 

I

Irwin, George Allen Lyall

____-____

Drafted to Niobe on 15 Jun 1912 as Surg, RCN

 

 

 

 

J

Jefferson, Frank Harvey

____-1977

Served in Niobe in 1910 as A/Engineering Slt, RCN

 

 

 

 

K

Kirkbride, Lyth Priestman

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 05 Jun 1918 as W. Op 4th Cl, RNCVR

 

 

 

 

L

Leavens, Harry Canniff

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 27 Mar 1918 as Mate, RNCVR

LePage, Herbert Stuart

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 27 Feb 1918 as Lt, RNCVR

Livesay, Edward Horace

1882-1971

Served in Niobe in 1915 as a Structural Draughtsman

Lowrie, Thomas

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 24 Jan 1918 as Skpr (Temp), RCN

Lye, Harold Meelars

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 23 Jan 1918 as W. OP 4th Cl, RNCVR

M

Macarow, Phillip Daniel

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 25 Jan 1918 as Asst/Paym, RNCVR

MacDonald, W.B.

Cdr, RN

____-____

1st Commanding Officer

Macken, Martel Keith

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 29 Jan 1918 as W. Op 3rd Cl, RNCVR

Maitland-Dougall, William Mc.

Drafted to Niobe 07 Jan 1915 as Midshipman, RCN. 

Killed - 12 Mar 1918

while CO of HMS/m D3.

Mason, William

____-____

Drafted to Niobe on 01 Jan 1916 as A/Slt, RNCVR

Mattison, Albert Charles

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 06 Feb 1916 as A/Bos'n, RCN

Maude, George

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 15 Jul 1915 as Slt, RCNVR

Mawley, Ralph Hodgson

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 05 Jun 1918 as W. Op 4th Cl, RNCVR

Morrell, Samuel George Seagrove

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 10 Jun 1910 as Bos'n, RN

Morres, Stephen Harvey

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 27 Jul 1910 as Lt, RN

 

Morrison, William Stuart Etleigh

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 01 Mar 1918 as Slt, RCN

Morse, John William

1890-1989

 

Mountain, Thomas James

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 29 Jan 1918 as Mate, RNCVR

Murphy, John Michael

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 28 Feb 1918 as Mate, RCNVR

Murray, Leonard Warren

1896-1971

Served in Niobe in 1914 as Midshipman, RCN

Murray, Stanley

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 13 May 1918 as W. Op 4th Cl, RNCVR

 

 

 

 

N

Naufts, John

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 26 Feb 1918 as Mate, RNCVR

 

 

 

 

O

O'Reilly, William

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 09 May 1917 for Instruction Duty, as Gnr, RCN

Osborne, George Burton

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 31 Mar 1918 as Fl/Paym (Intel), RN

 

 

 

P

Palmer, Clifford, Stoker

____- Oct 1983

Pape, Oswald Joseph

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 13 Jul 1916 for trg as W.Op/L, RNCVR

Payne, Charles Harold Chaytor

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 01 Jul 1916 as Asst/Paym, RNCVR, addl

Pearce, Alfred Thomas

____-____

Drafted to Niobe as Shpwt, RCN

Pellett, Herbert

1881-1962

Pringle, Kenneth M.

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 06 May 1918 as Slt, RNCVR

 

 

 

 

R

Race, Harry

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 01 Jun 1918 as Ch/Art, RCN

Ratcliff, James Hamilton

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 19 Mar 1918 as W. Op 4th Cl, RNCVR

Reid, Howard Emmerson

1897-1962

Drafted to Niobe in 1916 as Midshipman, RCN and in 1918 as A/Lt, RCN

Reid, Robert Sedgewick

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 01 May 1917 as A/Wt/Wtr, RCN

Rowdon, Victor Kirk

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 04 Apr 1918 as W. Op 4th Cl, RNCVR

S

Sampson, Lawrence William

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 26 Feb 1918 as Mate, RCNVR

Schofield, John Francis

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 30 May 1918 as Lt, RCN

Scott, James

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 12 Jul 1917 as A/Bos'n, RCN, add'l

Scott, Robert Balgarnie Young

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 30 Apr 1918 as W. Op 4th Cl, RNCVR

Shipley, Robert

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 09 Mar 1918 as Mate, RNCVR

Sinnott, William Job

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 28 Jan 1918 as W. Op 3rd Cl, RNCVR

Southern, Percy Clinton

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 26 Apr 1918 as W. OP 4th Cl, RNCVR

Stephens, Harold Frederick Dale

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 04 May 1918 as Surg, RNCVR

Stephens, Harry

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 26 Feb 1918 and on 28 Jun 1918 as Mate, RNCVR

Sterrett, Ernest J.

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 15 Apr 1916 as Surg, RNCVR

Stuart, Charles Joseph

1879-1945

Served in Niobe in 1918 as LCdr, RNR, Naval Examining Officer

Surette, Leslie Joseph

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 03 Mar 1918 as Mate, RNCVR

 

 

 

T

Taylor, Fred

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 04 Jan 1918 as W. Op 3rd Cl, RNCVR

Thompson, Cecil Elner

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 07 Jun 1918 as W. Op 4th Cl

Tonkin, John Steven

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 27 Mar 1918 as Ch/Skpr, RCN

 

 

V

Vosper, John Danie

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 05 Jun 1917 as A/Lt, RNVR

 

 

 

 

W

Waddleton, Lawrence

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 01 Mar 1918 as Mate, RNCVR

Wager, William

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 09 Jun 1918 as Art (E), TEMP), RCN

Waggs, Stewart Arthur

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 04 Jan 1918 as W. Op 3rd Cl, RNCVR

Washington, Basil George

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 18 Jul 1912 as Lt, RN

Webster, Robert James

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 28 Jan 1918 as Ch/Art (E), RCN

Western, Charles Alexander

____-____

Engineer (stoker), RNCVR

White, Walter Lawrence

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 28 Feb 1918 as Mate, RCNVR

Williams, Walter

1893-1983

Wilmot, Frederick Gordon

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 07 Jun 1918 as W. Op 4th Cl

Wood, Herbert Henry De Lally

____-____

Served in Niobe in 1916 as Lt, RNCVR

Wragg, George

____-____

Drafted to Niobe 22 Jan 1917 as A/War/Elec (Temp), RCN

 

 

 

 

 

Links

HMCS Niobe Collection

Crew List of HMCS Niobe - 1911

HMCS Niobe's anchor damaged in Halifax Explosion found

Personal photo gallery for Edward Livesay

 

Photos and Documents (below)

 

Two stokers enjoy a few moments on deck, away from feeding coal to the boilers used to power HMCS Niobe's two large steam engines. Niobe's 30 boilers needed large gangs of stokers to keep them supplied with coal. Covered from head to foot with soot and coal dust, these two stokers in their ragged overalls bear evidence of the arduous and demanding nature of their work, shovelling coal out of storage bunkers and into the boilers' hot fireboxes deep within the ship.

Source: George Metcalf Archival Collection, CWM 20030174-074, Courtesy of the Canadian War Museum

HMCS Niobe at Anchor 1910

This photograph depicts HMCS Niobe soon after its arrival in Halifax from England in October 1910. Though expensive to operate, Niobe was useful for training the nucleus of a new navy, having been modified to accommodate cadets. It had also received a state-of-the-art heating system to protect its crew from Canadian winters. Niobe has boat booms (right and centre) swung out to accommodate the small boats coming alongside. The balcony-like gallery at Niobe's stern (left) led to a luxurious suite of rooms markedly different from the ones with mess tables and hammocks where sailors ate and slept.

Source: George Metcalf Archival Collection, CWM 20030174-045, Courtesy of the Canadian War Museum

HMCS Niobe gun practice

One of HMCS Niobe's gun crews fires a 6-inch gun during training. Niobe's effectiveness as a warship depended heavily on rapid and accurate gunfire, which required frequent training. In this summertime view, officers (centre and left) in white pith helmets supervise the gun crew and watch for the fall of the shot. A sailor stands behind the gun (left), ready to remove the spent cartridge while others prepare to load the gun with propellant charges and projectiles raised on the hoist seen at right.

Source: George Metcalf Archival Collection, CWM 20030174-052, Courtesy of the Canadian War Museum

HMCS Niobe in Halifax after conversion to Depot Ship

Source: ReadyAyeReady.com

Canadian Cruiser Niobe in Danger of Foundering

Newspaper article on the grounding of HMCS Niobe on 29/30 Aug 1911 off Cape Sable

The Toronto World, Wed., 02 Aug 1911

The crew of HMCS Niobe After loading coal into the ship at Halifax
Source: Library and Archives Canada - PA 190758

HMCS Niobe

From the collection of William Herbert Rose and Marmaduke Rose

Courtesy of Bud (Donald) Rose 

Newspaper article on the award of the Albert Medal to A/Bos'n H.C. Mattison, RCN

Source: Canadian Virtual War memorial

HMCS Niobe - 1915

 

Typed on back of photo: HMCS Niobe, 1915. The arrow shows where I began to paint, and I continued as far as the mast. It is about 100 ft. from the yard to the water, or 75 ft. to the deck. Only a swinging wire to stand on, and a rod along the top of the yard. I was very, very scared! If I had got dizzy, and fallen, I should have been killed. It was the first time I had ever been aloft - I was 33. (Able Seaman Edward H. Livesay)

 

From the collection of Sam Sunter

Courtesy of Brian Dobing

HMCS Niobe

Edward H. Livesay's 2nd ship

From the collection of Sam Sunter

Courtesy of Brian Dobing

HMCS Niobe - 1915

From the collection of Sam Sunter

Courtesy of Brian Dobing

Members of the Gunroom on HMCS Niobe, Halifax, circa 1910-1911

 

A/Slts Napier-Hemy, Hubert John; Currey; Hallewell, Edmund Gilling; De Quetteville, Stanley Nelson; Jefferson, Frank Harvey; Clarke;

 

Front: Midshipmen Beard, Charles Taschereau; Brodeur, Victor Gabriel, Barron; Nelles, Percy Walter; German; Bate, Henry Trennick; Slt Hollingsworth, Alfred

 

Source: Library and Archives Canada, MIKAN 3398852

Courtesy of Mary Ruth Noiles

 

 

HOME PAGE     SHIP INDEX      CONTACT