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Convict Ship Surgeons - I


George Imlay      Charles Inches     John Inches John Irvine  John Isatt

*Date of Seniority Royal Navy

IMLAY, George R.N., *20 November 1824

George Imlay was appointed to the position of Assistant-Surgeon on 5 April 1813.

He was appointed assistant-surgeon on the Semiramis in 1818, and the Satellite in 1821.

On 20 November 1824 he was promoted to the position of Surgeon.

He was stationed on the vessel Dover in March 1832 and gave an account of some of the cholera cases that were sent on board the Dover from various vessels in the river.

He was employed as surgeon-superintendent on the convict ship Roslin Castle which departed Cork on 8 October 1832 and arrived in Port Jackson on 5th February 1833.

George Imlay died by his own hand in 1846. Read the account in the Sydney Morning Herald

Find out more about George Imlay and his brothers Peter and Alexander who all settled in Australia....... Australian Dictionary of Biography Online


INCHES, Charles  R.N., *18 December 1821


Charles Inches was appointed to the position of Assistant Surgeon on 19 October 1812.

He is on the List of Medical Officers who had served at War. He was Surgeon of the Cambrian at Navarin.

He was appointed assistant-surgeon on the Blossom in 1817 and the Cyrene in 1824

He was employed as surgeon-superintendent on the William Glen Anderson which sailed on 2nd June 1831 for Van Diemens Land and the Portland which departed Cork on 21st February 1833 and arrived in Port Jackson 26th June 1833.

His next appointment to a convict ship was to the Westmoreland  which departed London on 9th March 1835 and arrived in Port Jackson on 15th July 1835, and then the John which departed 21st October 1836 and arrived 7 February 1837 (His wife died at Portsea while he was on this voyage)

He was employed on the vessel Ocean at Sheerness in 1841 when he gave evidence at an inquest into a death(42). He remained on the Ocean in 1842.

His last voyage as surgeon-superintendent on a convict ship was the London which departed Portsmouth 23 March 1844 and arrived in Tasmania 9th July 1844 with male convicts.

Charles Inches died at Royal Crescent, Glasgow on 22nd November 1851.  The Hampshire Telegraph reported that he was aged 58 and much respected as an officer and a gentleman, both in and out of the service and would be sincerely regretted by a large circle of attached friends and sorrowing relatives.

The late Dr Charles Inches was as generally known as he was deservedly esteemed in the Australian Colonies, with which he was long and intimately connected; not merely from having made many voyages as Surgeon Superintendent of convict ships, but in consequence of his having for several years satisfactorily filled the office of Australian Emigration Agent, in Scotland Yard, Whitehall. Dr Inches three times experienced shipwreck – First, in the Cambrian, frigate, Captain Hamilton, immediately subsequent to the battle of Navarino. Next, on the east coast of Van Diemen’s Land, in the Leith Australian Company’s ship, Portland. And again in the Medora, from Sydney to London on the shoals off the entrance to Babia. By the failure of the Bank of Australia, the savings of the best fifteen years of Dr Inches’ professional life were entirely swept away; and in 1844, his last visit in charge of convicts to Tasmania, by the ship London, was paid, in the sanguine but unavailing hope that something for his children might be saved from that gigantic bankruptcy. Dr Inches received several subsequent appointments from the Admiralty but these, due to declining health compelled him successively to relinquish. There are few who have possessed a warmer heart or a kindlier spirit than the late justly regretted Dr Charles Inches.- Ed.,- Southern Cross 15th June 1852


INCHES, John R.N., *30 August 1805


John Inches was entered in the Navy List of Medical Officer in 1814

He later settled in Australia. He was employed by the Australian Agricultural company at Port Stephens and then worked as a private surgeon. Find out more about John Inches here

He was employed as surgeon-superintendent on the Lady Harewood 1832  Lloyds 1833  Mary 1835  and the Norfolk 1837




John Irvine was employed as Surgeon Superintendent on the convict ship Canton to Van Diemen's Land in 1840. Linus Wilson Miller was one of the passengers on the Canton. He later wrote Notes of the Exile to Van Diemen's Land........


John Irvine was on the List of the Surgeons fit for service in 1841

The Medical Register 1865 has John Irvine (MRCS 1828 Eng). Deputy Inspector of Naval Hospitals, Aberdeenshire.

(J. Irvine was on the List of Medical Officers who had served at War. He was employed as Surgeon of the Guerriere when she was captured by the American frigate Constitution in 1812; and when in the Endymon was severely wounded when serving in her boat attack on a privateer on the coast of America in 1814......possibly a different person)





John Isatt was appointed to the position of Assistant Surgeon on 7 July 1813.

He was on the list of surgical pupils who trained at Middlesex Hospital between the years 1810 to 1818.

He was appointed assistant-surgeon to the Blenheim in 1813,  assistant-surgeon on the Creole in 1818 and assistant-surgeon to the Sybille in 1819 and on the Gloucester in 1822 (38). In 1824 he was appointed as surgeon to the Isis (39) and in 1825 to the Scout (40)

He was appointed surgeon to the Brisk and was on the list of men who were wounded in action on vessels commanded by Vice-Admiral Sir Edward Codrington K.C.B., during a conflict with the Turkish Fleet in Navarin Harbour on 20 October 1827.

He was appointed as surgeon to the Barham in 1831 and the convict ship Susan, which departed London on 10th March 1834. John Isatt died at sea on board the Susan which then called in to Madeira where Archibald Ross joined the vessel as his replacement.



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