HMS Niger (1846)

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HMS Niger
HMS Niger at Vera Crux (Illustrated London News)
Career Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Niger
Builder: Woolwich Dockyard
Launched: 18 November 1846
Decommissioned: 1869
Fate: Sold to Castle for breaking up at Charlton
General characteristics
Type: Corvette
Displacement: 1,002 long tons (1,018 t)
Length: 194 ft (59 m)
Propulsion: Screw
Armament: 21 guns

HMS Niger was a 1,002 ton displacement, 14 gun corvette launched on 18 November 1846 from the Woolwich Dockyard. She had been initially a sailing sloop however was lengthened and converted to screw propulsion in 1847.[1]

She participated in 1849 in trials in the English Channel with the paddle sloop HMS Basilisk comparing the propulsion of the ships and the results confirmed the superiority of screw propulsion over the paddle-wheel. After the trials she participated as part of the West Africa Squadron. She participated in the Baltic Sea during the Crimean War in 1854-1855. In 1856 she was sent to the East Indies Station and China Station until December 1858 when she sailed for Australian Station.

On 28 March 1860, during the First Taranaki War, a party of approximately 60 marines and bluejackets under the command of Captain Peter Cracroft landed at Waireka as reinforcements in the engagement that was taking place there. After reaching the Omata stockade near dusk, they proceeded to storm the by now lightly defended Kaipopo Pā. Coxwain William Odgers broke through the palisades and pulled down the Māori ensigns flying there, and received the first Victoria Cross of the New Zealand wars as a result. [2]

On 30 March 1860, HMS Niger shelled Māori positions near Warea.[3] Her crew also participated during the storming of the Omata stockade. She left the Australia Station in late 1860. She then served in the North American Station & West Indies Station.[4]

Later in 1860 the detachment of Marines was stationed as a garrison at Fort Niger, a hill overlooking the New Plymouth suburb of East End. The hill is a reserve today.[5]

She was decommissioned in 1869 and was sold on 2 December 1869 to Castle for breaking up at Charlton.[6]


  1. Bastock, p.28.
  2. Cowan, James. The New Zealand Wars: A History of the Maori Campaigns and the Pioneering Period: Volume I (1845–64) Chapter 19. R. E. Owen, 1955, Wellington. Archived at NZETC
  3. Naval Military Actions
  4. Bastock, p.29.
  5. Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New Zealand, Vol 37, 1904
  6. "HMS Niger at William Loney RN website". Retrieved 2010-03-16. 


  • Bastock, John (1988), Ships on the Australia Station, Child & Associates Publishing Pty Ltd; Frenchs Forest, Australia. ISBN 0867773480