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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 Aug 1862 Lieut. B.L. Lefroy, having at last received his orders from the senior officer on the West Coast of Africa Station, having been manned, coaled and provisioned by the Brisk, departed for Fernando Po, where Dr. Baikie' goods were loaded, along with coal.
31 Aug 1862 arrived at the mouth of the River Nun, and provisioned etc. In the afternoon embarked Captain Luce, RN, who was to leave the vessel for the Brass River, and towed Mr. McCrosky's large boat laden with coals across the Bar.
Cdre Edmonstone advised the Secretary to the Admiralty, from the Arrogant, at Ascension, on 12 Sep 1862 that he had received intelligence from Captain Luce, of HM ship Brisk, the Senior Officer of the Bight Division, that the "Investigator" was to have left Fernando Po, properly equipped, on the 30 Aug, for the River Niger, in pursuance with their Lordships' instructions. An officer from the Espoir was on board ; also, that the crew were healthy and cheerful. The Brisk is to meet the Investigator at the entrance of the Nun, with a hired covered boat containing about twenty-five tons of coal, which she will turn over to her. This is a very thoughtful arrangement on the part of Captain Luce, as the boat can easily be towed by the "Investigator," and will enable her to replenish her fuel when necessary, it not being prudent to burn wood, and thus insure their Lordships' directions with regard to this important service being efficiently carried out. I beg leave here to add, that great praise is due to Lieut Glover, of the Handy, for the very valuable and ready assistance afforded by him to Lieut Lefroy in equipping the "Investigator." Although he must have been disappointed at not being permitted to proceed up the Niger, as previously arranged by me, still he freely gave the benefit of his experience and and advice; and I feel it due to that officer to bring the same under their Lordships' notice. I have &c. (Signed) W. Edmonstone.
26 Oct 1862 back in Lagos Roads having been many miles up steam to visit King Massaba and palaver, and to leave Dr. Baikie' goods, who was still "up country," but having had several attacks of fever and fearing the the level of the river would soon fall departed for the coast, and had no problems crossing the Bar, which was unusually smooth.
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.