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Type: Paddle survey vessel ; 2 guns
Laid down : in a dock at Deptford 15 Jun 1861 ; Undocked : 16 Nov 1861 ;
Disposal date or year : 1869
BM: 149 tons
Machinery notes: 34 h.p.
Dec 1861 Woolwich. Commissioned.
27 Jan 1864 detained off Atakoo the British slave cutter Kate, which was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at St. Helena and sentenced to be condemned.
1864 West Coast of Africa station. Overview and medical report of dysentery, enteritis, and fever onboard : number of Cases of Disease and Injury. Further note on fever when up the River Niger.
27 Sep 1866 proceeded up the River Niger, and returned to Lagos on 27 Oct. Following a medical survey Second Master F. H. J. Rapson and Mr. Pittman, Assistant Paymaster, were to be invalided, which was usually shorthand for being sent home to England on the next contract steam mail packet.
19 Nov 1866 Mr. Lyons McLeod, the Consul for the Niger River, having recently arrived at Jellah Coffee and sought advice from the local experts who stated that the river should be navigable until med-December requested the use of the Investigator to take him up the river to Onitsha.
24 Nov 1866 Investigator taken in tow by the Mullet gunboat and arrived at the entrance to the River Nun on 26th. Proceeded under own steam to the West African Steam Company factory to take on board coal.
27 Nov 1866 departed upstream until it was discovered the following day that the level of water in the river had fallen dramatically and that there was no passage and so returned to recross the bar on the 29th. Despite the fact that it was only a relatively brief passage the health of the crew suffered and 4 were invalided home to the U.K., and another 4 were sent to the hospital at Ascension to recuperate.
19-21 Jan 1867 with the Mullet visited the River Benin to settle differences between quarrelling chiefs in the neighbourhood of the English factories.
28 Jul 1867 under the command of Lieut. A. E. Kay proceeded up the River Niger, with the pinnace Vindictive in tow, to carry wood and to assist with laying out anchors, the Investigator's boats being too small. Instructions regarding health were similar to those laid down in the Station Order Book for 1867. The expedition to last for 60 days should provisions last or to return earlier in the event severe sickness attacking the crew.
6 Sep 1867 a report was received by the Commodore in the Bristol, then in the Bights, that the Investigator was aground for 5 days off Mebhanna and that the natives had fired on the vessel killing a krooman and wounding 4 others. Stores and provisions were thrown over-board to get off, the provisions being replaced by the steamer Thomas Bazley : Mr. McLeod, H.M. Consul in the Niger was reported to be sick.