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Convict Ship Surgeons - F


George Fairfowl   Archibald Ferguson   John Ferrier    W.S. Fielding   Peter Fisher     George Ellery Forman    James Forrester   George Irwin Fox     Campbell France     Charles Henry Fuller   Fyffe  

*Date of Seniority Royal Navy

FAIRFOWL, George  R.N., *2 June 1805

George Fairfowl received his first appointment as naval surgeon in June 1805 and was employed on the Alexandria in 1808.

He was included in the Navy List of Medical Officers in 1814.

George Fairfowl was employed as surgeon superintendent on the following convict ships -

Ocean in 1818   

Dromedary in 1820. In 1820 he proceeded with Rev. Marsden to New Zealand on the Dromedary where he prepared sketches and maps of the Bay of Islands.

Woodman in 1823.     In 1823 he brought out olive tree plants for Hannibal Hawkins Macarthur who in 1825 named his third son George Fairfowl Macarthur . After the voyage of the Royal Charlotte he returned to England on the Columbia departing on 8th March 1826. The Columbia carried a full cargo including wool, blue gum planks, cedar, cocoa nut oil and seal skins. Edward Sparke junior was also a passenger on the Columbia.  He returned to England on the Competitor with Peter Cunningham in January 1824

Royal Charlotte in 1825. 

 ...Asiatic Journal 1828

Sovereign in 1829. After this voyage he returned to England with samples of wool for Rev. Marsden.

Andromeda in 1830.   In February 1830 after the voyage of the Andromeda he returned to England on the Sovereign

Clyde  in 1832.  After the voyage of the Clyde he returned to England on the Sovereign departing in March 1833. Drs. Wilson and Logan also returned to England on this vessel. It was later reported that Captain McKellar met with a serious accident on this voyage - that of breaking one of his arms by a fall on the quarter deck. Luckily Drs Wilson and Fairfowl were on board and rendered their assistance to the Captain.

Hive in 1834. On his return to England after the voyage of the Hive in 1834 he gave evidence before the Select Committee as to the military establishments in the colony.

- Proceedings of the first expedition, 1826 - 1830 under the command of Captain P. Parker King


George Fairfowl died on 24 June 1836 at Ayr, North Britain.


FERGUSON, Archibald  R.N. *6 December 1814


Archibald Ferguson was included in the Navy List of Medical Officers in 1814

Archibald Ferguson was employed as Surgeon Superintendent on the convict ship Jupiter to Van Diemen's Land in 1833 . He kept a Medical Journal from 24 December 1832 to 1st June 1833.





John Ferrier was appointed assistant surgeon on the brig Royalist on 12 December 1832.

John Ferrier was appointed surgeon to the Survey vessel Thunder in 27 July 1841 (Nrth America and West Indies (Navy List 1842,1847)

He was employed as Surgeon Superintendent on the convict ship Earl Grey to Van Diemen's Land in 1850.

He was appointed to the Flag Ship Impregnable in May 1851 (The Navy List)

John Ferrier died in 1852.....





W.S. Fielding was employed as Surgeon on the Perseus in 1802


FISHER, Peter R.N., *11 September 1823


Peter Fisher was appointed Assistant Surgeon 11 August 1813

He was appointed Assistant Surgeon to the Salisbury in 1818

He was employed as Surgeon Superintendent on the convict ship Majestic in 1838. The Majestic departed London 3 October 1838 and arrived in Van Diemen's Land 22 January 1838

Peter Fisher was employed as surgeon superintendent on the Runnymede in 1838.

The following information is from the State Library of Victoria Catalogue:  Sir John Franklin served under Flinders on the Investigator, was a polar explorer and Lieutenant-Governor of Tasmania, 1836-1843. Lady Jane Franklin (1792-1875) was his second wife. Rev. John Philip Gell (1816-98) was headmaster of Queen's School, Hobart from 1839 and Warden of Christ's College from 1846. In 1849 he married Eleanor Isabella Franklin (1825-60), daughter of Sir John Franklin. Contents/Summary: The papers include : papers of Rev. J.P. Gell and his wife including letters to Eleanor Isabella from Sir John and Lady Franklin and papers about the Queen's School and Christ's College. Correspondents include Ronald C. Gunn of Hobart. Notebooks and diaries, including a diary describing Gell's voyage to Van Diemen's Land on the convict ship Runnymede in 1839-40.

Peter Fisher was on the list of surgeons retired in 1864



FORMAN, George Ellery R.N., *13 September 1828

George Ellery Forman was promoted from Surgeons Mate to the rank of assistant surgeon in November 1822 (52).

The Morning Post reported on 29th September 1828 that George Ellery Forman lately of the Island of Ascension was appointed to the rank of surgeon. On 6th January 1829 he married Maria, the third daughter of Thomas Courthope at St. Mary's Rotherhithe. (35)

He was employed as surgeon superintendent on the convict ships Lady McNaughten which departed Dublin 23 June 1835 and arrived in Port Jackson 26th October 1835; the Platina departed London 3 May 1837 and arrived in (VDL) 22 October 1837; Pyramus departed Sheerness 22 November 1838 and arrived in VDL 24 March 1839 and the Eden which departed Sheerness 10 July 1840 and arrived in Port Jackson 18 November 1840.

He was on the List of Surgeons of the Royal Navy who were fit for service in 1841.

In the 1851 Census George Ellery Forman and his wife Maria can be found living at Northumberland Place Teignmouth. Their children,  daughters Anne age 15 (born at Portsea b.1836), Mary age 13 (b. 1838), Alfred age 10 (b. 1841), Henry age 8 (b. 1843) all born at Camberwell, Surry.   Jessie age 7 (b. 1844) was born at Teignmouth as were Sidney age 5 and William age 2. George gives his occupation in the Census as General Practitioner.

In the 1861 the family are still living at Teignmouth although at a different address, with their children Mary Adderley Forman age 23, Jessie Hester Forman age 17, son Sidney Mills Forman age 15, William Courthop Gardener Forman age 12 and three female servants. George Ellery Forman is stated to have been born in Devonport.

George Ellery Forman died on 30 March 1867 aged 67 years.(36). In the 1871 Census his widow Maria is living in Camberwell. She gives her occupation as landed proprietor. Four of her adult children Alfred age 30, Jessie age 27, Sidney age 25 and William age 22 live with her and they have two servants -  a cook and a housemaid. Alfred works as an agent and Sidney and William are bank clerks.





James Forrester was appointed assistant-surgeon 18 October 1813. He was appointed to the Morgiana in this capacity in 1819 and was appointed to the Alacrity as Surgeon in August 1823 (37).

It was reported in the Hampshire Telegraph on 10th November 1823, that a Court Martial was held on board the Queen Charlotte, (of which Capt. Edward Brace, C.B. was President), for the trial of Mr. James Forrester, Surgeon of his Majesty's sloop Alacrity, for improper conduct during his attendance on the punishment of a Marine, who was lately flogged round the Fleet, by having given him a whole bottle of wine to drink, and shaking hands with him. The charge not being proved, Mr. Forrester was acquitted.

James Forrester was employed as surgeon superintendent on the convict ship Brothers which departed on 3rd October 1826 and arrived in Australia on 2 February 1827.

J. Forrester was appointed as surgeon to the Ramillies guardship stationed off Deal in 1829. (possibly James)

He was employed as surgeon superintendent on convict ship Southworth which departed Cork on 6th February 1832 and arrived on 14th June 1832. He kept a medical journal on this voyage, however he was reprimanded by the Admiralty for the lack of content......Inform Mr. Forrester that I am by no means satisfied with the reasons he has given for inserting so few cases in the journal, and that if anything of a similar nature should again occur, the certificate to enable him to obtain his pay will not be granted. There was little chance for him to write a more detailed journal on the next voyage as he was appointed surgeon to the ill-fated Amphitrite.

The Amphitrite was a convict transport engaged to take 1833 female prisoners to Van Diemens Land. The Captain, all the female convicts and all but three of the crew as well as James Forrester and his wife, lost their lives when the vessel was wrecked off Boulogne on the afternoon of 31st August 1833. Some reports gave the information that Forrester had wished to lower a boat to begin taking the convict women on shore but his wife refused accompany convict women and so the boat was not lowered......

In August 1834 the Sydney Gazette published an articles from the Times on the treatment of female convicts on the voyage of the Amphitrite from information received from one of the surviving seamen......Read the article here



FOX, George Irwin R.N., *11 August 1832


George Irwin Fox was appointed Assistant-Surgeon on 29 June 1825.

He was employed as Surgeon Superintendent on the convict ship Kinnear in 1842. The Kinnear departed Dublin 10 July 1842 and arrived in Van Diemen's Land 23 October 1842.

He was on the List of Surgeons of the Royal Navy in 1852.

He was entered in the British and foreign homeopathic medical directory and record for 1853.......George Irwin Fox, 7 Flora Place, Union Street, Plymouth, Hampshire; M.D., Glasgow 1837; M.R.C.S.L. 1825; formerly Surgeon Royal Navy

He died at Bath of consumption age 50 in June 1856 (The Gentleman's Magazine)

Letters of Administration of the Personal estate and effects of George Irwin Fox late of Plymouth in the County of Devon M.D. Surgeon on Half pay in Her Majesty's Navy a Bachelor deceased who died 5 May 1856 at Bath in the County of Somerset left unadministered by Jane Lewes Fox widow the mother and only next of kin of the said deceased were granted at the Principal Registry to Cornelius Fox of West Park Ivybridge in the county of Devon aforesaid a Commander in Her Majesty's Navy the Brother of the said deceased he having been first sworn. (England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1861-1941 Ancestry)


FRANCE, Campbell , R.N., *5 November 1823


Campbell France was appointed Assistant-Surgeon in the Royal Navy on 9 November 1812.

On 8 September 1814 he was appointed Assistant-Surgeon to the Leviathan, 74, Captain Thomas Briggs. Also employed as Assistant-Surgeon on the Leviathan was Patrick Hill who had been appointed the previous year.

Many years before this the Leviathan had taken part in the Battle of Trafalgar, however by the time Campbell France was appointed to her she was already twenty four years old and was close to the end of her days. In 1814 the Leviathan had just returned from the West Indies where 150 of the crew had been affected with fever. She was quarantined on arrival in England and it was after this that Campbell France was appointed to her. (133)

The Lancaster Gazette reported in October 1814 that Mr. George Canning, Ambassador to the Court at Lisbon, was to take his departure from Portsmouth for Lisbon in the Leviathan. (134) On 4 November Mr. and Mrs .Canning, with four children and suite, arrived at the Crown and Clarence Hotel in six carriages with four horses each where they intended waiting until the Leviathan was ready to embark. (135) The Leviathan departed on the 8th November however was brought up by contrary winds in Portland Roads. Her Royal Highness, Princess Charlotte was enjoying a pleasure excursion on the Zephyr nearby and paid a visit to the Cannings on the Leviathan. Her Royal Highness was said to have been received on board with the most distinguished marks of attention and every humour due to Royalty (136).

The story of Princess Charlotte's visit to the Leviathan was repeated in the newspapers for months afterwards.

The Leviathan put into Plymouth on the 11th November because of contrary winds and left there on 20th November 1814, bound for Lisbon.  Mr. Canning disembarked from the Leviathan in Lisbon on 4th December 1814.

In November 1815, the Leviathan was to convey her Royal Highness Princess Caroline, wife of King George IV from Genoa to Sicily.

Details of the voyage were reported in Parliament when the Pains and Penalties Bill was introduced to the British Parliament in 1820 at the request of King George IV. The Bill aimed to dissolve his marriage to Caroline of Brunswick, and deprive her of the title of Queen of the United Kingdom. Captain Thomas Briggs gave evidence before parliament.

The Leviathan was to remain in the Mediterranean in the winter of 1815. (137). It is not known whether Campbell France and Patrick Hill were still on the Leviathan when this most famous incident occurred, however Patrick Hill departed Sheerness as surgeon superintendent on the convict ship Atlas bound for New South Wales in January 1816. Campbell France's next appointment has not been traced.  The Leviathan was fitted as a convict ship (Hulk) at Portsmouth c. 1816.  See Warships in the Age of Sail for more information about the Leviathan

Campbell France was appointed Assistant-Surgeon to the Liffey, Captain Duncan, in 1818 and was promoted to the position of Surgeon in January 1824 (141). He was appointed surgeon to the Grasshopper in January 1824 (138). The Grasshopper. Capt. Aplin, had just recently returned from Newfoundland. (139). She departed in February however returned after being damaged in gales in March. In April she was to accompany a convoy to Gibraltar and return. (140). On 5th June 1824 it was announced that the Grasshopper had departed for the Newfoundland station. Campbell France was probably surgeon on the Grasshopper at this time and accompanied her to Newfoundland.

Campbell France was appointed Surgeon Superintendent on the convict ships Asia to Van Diemen's Land in 1828, Lady Harewood  to Van Diemen's Land in 1829 (he returned to England on this vessel in March 1830) and York to NSW in 1831.

Campbell France and Patrick Hill were young men possibly about 18 or 19 when they were appointed Assistant-Surgeons to the Leviathan in 1814 and it was a friendship that was to last many years. The State Library of NSW holds correspondence written by Patrick Hill to Campbell France in March 1833 when Campbell France was employed as surgeon on the steam vessel Rhadamanthus in the West Indies. Hill’s letter concludes with general notes on the colony:

 ‘The Governor [Sir Richard Bourke] is I believe pretty well liked in the Colony. He has had another severe fall from his horse which has confined him for several weeks’ and that there has been ‘little or no bushranging for the last few months.’

The letter was sent to London, and apparently carried privately as there are no New South Wales stamps: the letter, after travelling all the way to Falmouth, finally reached Campbell France on board HM Steam Vessel Rhadamanthus in the West Indies......Hordern House Catalogue 


On the return to England in 1835, the Rhadamanthus left Port Royal on the 11th February and Bermuda on 4th March 1835. She experienced ten days of very severe weather on her passage from the West Indies back to England, reaching there on 6th April 1835.  

More about the Rhadamanthus here

 Campbell France's next appointment was Surgeon Superintendent to the convict ship  Mary Ann  in 1835. The Mary Ann departed Sheerness 9th July 1835 and arrived in Port Jackson 26th October 1835. He departed in March 1836 for England on the Aurija arriving in July 1836.

He was appointed Surgeon Superintendent on the convict ship John Barry in 1839. The John Barry departed Sheerness on 17 November 1838 and arrived in Port Jackson 22 March 1839. He returned to England on the Andromache in July 1839. Surgeon Harry Goldney also returned on this vessel.

Campbell France was appointed to the King William in 1840. The King William departed 28 April and arrived in Port Jackson 17 August 1840.

In November 1840 he was caring for passengers of the vessel Champion who were held in quarantine in Sydney because of fever.

He returned to London on the barque Lord Eldon on 14th January 1841. Also returning to England on this vessel was Elizabeth Sophie, the widow of Colonel Henry Dumaresq.

In the 1841 Census which was taken on the evening of 6th June 1841, Campbell France, surgeon, resided at St. Mary le Strand with another surgeon Robert Newham, and gave his age as 40 and birthplace Scotland. (*This may not be him as he would have been older than 40 years)

Campbell France was employed as Surgeon on the convict ship Isabella to Van Diemen's Land in 1842. The Isabella departed Portsmouth 19 January 1842 and arrived in Van Diemen's Land 19 May 1842. He departed from Sydney in August 1842 bound for England on the Honduras.

He was on the List of Surgeons fit for service in 1843.


FULLER, Charles Henry


In 1842 Charles Henry Fuller was appointed Surgeon to the Isis (Edinburgh Magazine)

The Morning Post reported on 29 June 1844 that the Agincourt, Charles Henry Fuller, Surgeon Superintendent, was lying off the Dockyard, Woolwich with detachments of the 58th Regiment on board and was expected to receive from two hundred and forty to two hundred and fifty convicts from the Millbank Penitentiary to convey them to Australia. (sent to Norfolk Island)

Charles Henry Fuller was on the List of Deputy Inspectors General of Hospitals and Fleets, Retired (23 January 1863)

He is listed in the Medical Register 1865 - Residence 36 Durnford Street, Devonport.





Mr. Fyfe was surgeon on the Lady Shore which was conveying supplies and sixty six female convicts to New South Wales. The Lady Shore was taken by mutineers in 1797. Mr. Fyfe was described as an amiable young man who was forcibly detained by the mutineers of the Lady Shore.....below is an excerpt from the Historical Records of NSW in which is an account of the mutiny......

The sea was still running very high, although the wind had fallen. On the following day we had a fine breeze from the northward and smooth water; had soundings about forty five fathoms. At noon they informed us that they observed in 34 S. About 1pm they hoisted out the boat and got her rigged put into her three small casks of water, containing about ninety gallons, and four bags of bread. This they informed us was as much provision as was necessary and, notwithstanding their former promises, this was all we could obtain from them. The steward was, however, fortunate enough to evade the search i the confusion, and hove into the boat two cheeses, two hams, some pieces of beef which he had got boiled for the purpose, and a small keg containing about five gallons of rum.

They would give us no compass, and it was with a great deal of entreaty that we obtained a quadrant. Had not Mr. Drummond had a small picket compass fortunately in his possession, we should not have known what to have done with the boat. About half past 6 having put twenty nine persons, including men women and children into the boat, with a few of our cloths we put off from alongside. We lost sight of the ship about 8 o'clock it being now dark. We cannot here omit mentioning how much poor Mr. Fyfe, the surgeon, seemed affected at parting. - Historical Records of NSW Volume 3 p. 396.

As for the Lady Shore with the mutineers, 66 female convicts and the surgeon - they arrived in the enemy Spanish port of Montevideo, Uruguay about 500 km (310 mi) south of Rio Grande where the mutineers were jailed, and the female convicts placed in different homes throughout the town. It is not known what became of surgeon Fyffe. He had not returned to England by the time of the trial of Jean Provost for the murder of Captain Wilcox in December 1799. Select here to find out more about the Lady Shore




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