Free Settler or Felon?

Convict Ship Surgeons - K


*Date of Seniority Royal Navy

KELLY, Cornelius *17 August 1815

Cornelius Kelly was entered in the Navy List of Medical Officers in 1814

Cornelius Kelly was employed on the convict ship Woodman from the Cape of Good Hope to Van Diemen's Land in 1826.

The Colonial Times & Tasmanian Advertiser reported the arrival of the Woodman in Tasmania- On Monday, arrived the ship Woodman, Capt. Leary, from England with 150 male prisoners. On board this ship have arrived the Rev. Mr. Mummery, (a regular clergyman), Mr. Christmas, the Bank Clerk, and Mr. Jefferson (or some such name) (* this was Jørgen Jørgensen), a Swede, all of whose cases excited much observations in England.

The Sydney Gazette reported the arrival of the Woodman in Sydney - 'The Woodman, Capt. Daniel Leary, burthen 419 tons, from Sheerness, 6th December, Cape of Good Hope, 4th March with 146 male prisoners, 4 having died on the passage, as well as the Surgeon Superintendent Mr. Rodmell.  Mr. Kellie of H.M. Ship Helicon, undertook the charge at the Cape. The guard consisted of Captain Wakefield, and Ensign Innes of the 30th and 2 sergeants and 7 rank and file of the 57th.' - Sydney Gazette 24 May 1826.

The following reports appeared in the newspapers in 1826. Cornelius Kelly wasn't mentioned, however apparently thought innuendo was aimed at him: -

We understand from a Gentleman of great respectability, that the crew of the ship Woodman, went on shore at the Cape de Verde Islands, and killed some cattle belonging to the settlers there, and that the inhabitants of the island were themselves maltreated. We shall be happy to see this contradicted by our Contemporaries. - The Monitor 7 July 1826.

A malicious wanton and unfounded assertion relative to the crew of the ship Woodman, having made its appearance in the Monitor of yesterday, Mr. Leary, commander of that ship (and on whom such unprincipled attack evidently appears to have been made) has no hesitation in denying the truth of the statement, from whatever respectable quarter it may have emanated. At the Island of St. Vincent (Cape de Verds) w watering party, consisting of a few men of the guard and crew, did, with the conduct and sanction of the natives, shoot some wild cattle with which the mountains abound; and, so far from the inhabitants having been maltreated, Mr. Leary (who was not himself out of the ship, on any occasion, during the passage from England to Van Diemen's Land) was informed by the commanding officer of the guard, that he was received by, and took his leave of, the Governor on the most friendly terms. - Sydney Gazette 8 July 1826

We are requested by Dr. Kelly to state, that the reports which have been so industriously propagated by the Monitor, which have excited so much interest from their monstrosity, did not originate with him, as he had not at that time joined the ship. - Sydney Gazette, 22 July 1826

Back in England in 1828 Cornelius Kelly lodged at the house of Mr. & Mrs Mercer at Somers-town. He was a witness at the inquest into the death of Mrs. Prudentia Mercer. He had little to do with the case, however managed to disrupt the proceedings:

(Extract) Mrs. Mary James resides opposite the house of Mr. Mercer, who is a chemist and druggist. About half past 12 o'clock on Monday night a gentleman named Kelly came to her house, and said that Mr. Mercer had poisoned herself.

The individual mentioned by Mrs. James here stood up, and addressing the coroner, said, "Sir, I will not be called gentleman; I will not have my name played with in such a manner. My name is Cornelius Kelly, and I am a surgeon in his Majesty's royal navy."

The coroner said, he conceived the way he and the witness had described Mr. Kelly to be in a most respectful manner; and if he did not like the designation of gentleman, he could have no objection to strike it out in the deposition.

Mr. Kelly said - I am a surgeon in his Majesty's navy, and an Irishman, and a papist, and all that.

The coroner here interfered and said, that unless Mr. Kelly refrained from indulging in such conduct, he should be under the necessity of ordering the room to be cleared of strangers.

Mr. Kelly still persisted in demanding the word gentleman being struck out, and Cornelius Kelly, surgeon in his Majesty's royal navy being inserted instead.

Coroner - Well sir, you shall be accommodated. Mr. Sterling then erased the word "gentleman" and introduced the designation by Mr. Kelly, and the inquest proceeded..........

The testimony of Mrs. Mary Harrison.....

Juror: Did you have any conversation with Mrs. Mercer? Yes, sir, respecting a servant girl that was going to leave her situation in consequence of a gentleman who lodged in the house having taken liberties with her.

Coroner: Who was that gentleman, was it Mr. Mercer? - No sir.

Juror: Who was it?.... Must I tell?

Juror: Yes, to be sure? Then it was Mr. Kelly, the gentleman who sits there

Mr. Kelly - It was I, sure enough, Cornelius Kelly, surgeon in his Majesty's royal navy. I only put my arm round her neck and gave her a kiss, as any other gentleman would do who had been taking a glass of grog. I declare to God I never spoke to the crature (creature) in private in all my life.

Mr. Sterling - Nobody said you had; there was no great harm in kissing the girl

Mr. Kelly - None in the wide world......(The Standard 10 July 1828)

Cornelius Kelly died prior to 1843 when his youngest son passed away.......(On the 15th instant, at St. Colum's Court, Patrick James, youngest son of the late Cornelius Kelly, Esq., surgeon R.N. of Londonderry. - The Freeman's Journal 20 January 1843)




John Kelly was employed as surgeon on the convict ship Canada in 1801




The Morning Post reported on 5th January 1824 that Henry Kelsall had been appointed assistant-surgeon on the Weazle, and when the Weazle sailed for Malta in June 1824, Henry Kelsall may still have been employed on her. A passenger William Thomson, Assistant Commissary-General to the Forces, later wrote of the voyage, and although the surgeon is not mentioned it is interesting to read Thomson's account. Select here to read the letter

In October (1824) Henry Kelsall was promoted to Surgeon and appointed to the Naiad. 

When he married Susanna, the youngest daughter of the late G. Truman of Plymouth in April 1831, he was stationed on H.M.S. Druid.

Henry Kelsall was employed as surgeon superintendent on the female convict ship Andromeda in 1834. The Andromeda departed Cork on 25 May 1834 and arrived in Port Jackson on 17 September 1834.

In November 1834 the Sydney Gazette reported that ....A fine "old man" kangaroo weighing upwards of a hundred weight was shot at the North Shore (Sydney) on Wednesday by Dr. Kelsall R.N., It is seldom indeed, that such a shot presents itself, or that a person can get within musket shot of those 'Grey Lords of the Australasian wilds".

He remained in Australia for about six months and in March 1835 it was reported in the Sydney Gazette that Dr. Kelsall was a passenger on the Red Rover for London.

He returned again to New South Wales as surgeon on the female convict ship Margaret in 1837 which departed Cork on 24 January 1837 and arrived in Port Jackson on 30 May 1837.

From the Australian Medical Pioneer Index - His next appointment was to the Emigrant ship Juliana in 1838 which was wrecked at the Cape. He was surgeon on the Waterloo in 1842 which was also wrecked.

After the wreck of the Waterloo, he embarked as Surgeon Superintendent on the Cape Packet from Table Bay to Hobart. He kept a Medical and Surgical Journal between 14 October and 26 November 1842. The Journal of the Cape Packet begins with the treatment of William Collins age 59, described by Kelsall as an old man who had four of the central ribs on the right side fractured and suffered severe bruising in the trunk and extremities when the Waterloo was wrecked. Collins was carried from the beach to the General Hospital in Cape Town where he remained until all the convicts were embarked in the Cape Packet for Hobart on 14th October.

Henry Kelsall's next appointment as Surgeon Superintendent was to the John Calvin to Norfolk Island in 1846.

Henry Kelsall is listed in the British Medical Directory for 1853 - Henry Kelsall, New Kent Rd., Surrey, M.D. Glasgow 1842; F.R.C.S. (Nom) 1844; M.R.C.S.E. 1822; L.S.A. 1820.

He was on the List of Surgeons retired in 1864.

He is listed in the Medical Register 1865 - Residence Camden villa, Redhill, Surrey. Qualifications Lic. Soc. Apoth. London 1820. Mem. 1822 Fell. 1844, R. College Surgeons. M.D. University Glasgow 1842.

Obituary from the Monthly Homeopathic Review 1875....





KENT, Richard R.N., *9  July 1780


Richard Kent was born c. 1760.

He was appointed Surgeon on the convict ship Boddingtons which arrived in Australia in 1793.

The Britannia store ship having been dismissed from government employment was immediately engaged by the civil and military officers for the purpose of purchasing a variety of stores they stood in need of, with the particular view of fetching cattle from the Cape of Good Hope. Messrs, Richard Kent and David Wake Bell, the naval Agents who came out in the Sugar Cane and Boddingtons transports were instructed to take their passage by the Britannia it being the first opportunity that had offered of their returning to England unless a considerable expense had been incurred by their taking the route of India. (Grose to Henry Dundas 31st August 1794, HRA, Series 1, Vol 1., p 482)

The Naval Chronicle recorded in 1808 -09 that Richard Kent was appointed to be assistant surgeon of the Isis, the flag ship of Admiral Holloway, commander-in-chief on the Newfoundland station.

He was entered in the Navy List of Medical Officers in 1814 (retired)

The death of Richard Kent M.D. Surgeon R.N. of Ramsgate was reported in the Hampshire Advertiser of 4th February 1837 as having taken place on 29th January 1837. He was 79 years old.  Family Search records reveal that he was buried on 4th February 1837 at St. George's Church, Ramsgate, Kent.

He died without issue.


KEOWN, Thomas Heron


Thomas H. Keown was probably born in Co. Down, Ireland c. 1814

The Standard of 24 June 1836 recorded the List of gentlemen to whom the Court of Examiners granted Certificates of Qualifications (Apothecaries' Hall). Thomas Heron Keown of Down, Ireland was included on the list.

In 1836 edition of the London Medical Gazette, Thomas H. Keown is on the College of Surgeons List of Gentlemen who received Diplomas in August .

Until 1838 he was employed as Assistant Surgeon on the Britannia. He was appointed to the position of Hospital Mate at Haslar in February of that year (Hampshire Telegraph 19 February 1838)

In the Medical Times dated October 1841 - March 1842 it was reported that  Assistant-Surgeon Thomas Keown of the Pantaloon was promoted to the rank of Surgeon. In the same edition, it was noted that Surgeon T.H. Keown was appointed to the Snake.

In 1845 he was appointed to the Vesuvius. Class C. which was serving in North America & West Indies

Thomas H. Keown was employed as Surgeon Superintendent on the Mount Stewart Elphinstone which arrived in Van Diemen's Land from London and Gibraltar with male convicts on 18 May 1848. He returned to London on the City of Poonah in July 1848.

In 1853, Surgeon Thomas H. Keown (1841) was appointed to the Winchester, 50, flag ship of Rear-Admiral Hon. Sir F. B.R. Pellew, C.B. on the East Indian station.

Thomas Heron Keown, then aged 43, married Eliza Harrison on 13 Aug 1857 at Drumbeg , Down, Ireland (marriage recorded for potential Royal Navy widow's pension) (National Archives)

In 25 April 1859 he was appointed to the Cressy, 80. Screw Steam Ship, 400 horse power in the Mediterranean

He is listed in the Medical Registry 1865 - Qualifications Mem. Royal College Surgeons, Eng. 1835. Lic. K.Q. College Physician Ireland 1862.




KEVERN, Charles W. (or KEVERN, Charles Thomas Simpson?)


Charles Kevern was employed as Surgeon Superintendent on the convict ship Dudbrook to Fremantle in 1853.

Charles Thomas Simpson Kevern (1836) was appointed assistant surgeon to the Haslar Hospital in 1841

Date of Seniority Royal Navy 30 March 1846.

Charles Thomas Simpson Kevern married Harriet Murray 26 August 1852 at Friern Barnet, London (Family Search Org)

A British Baltic Medal was offered for online auction some time ago, the details as follow....... 1854-55 (Silver, Queen Victoria) awarded to Deputy Inspector General of Hospitals and Fleets Charles T.S. Kevern, H.M.S. Monarch. The medal is engraved: Surgeon C,T.S. Kevern, H.M.S. Monarch. The award comes with official ribbon and is in Extremely Fine condition. Kevern became Deputy Inspector General of Hospitals and Fleets in 1871. The British Baltic Medal, 1854-55, was awarded during the Crimean War to those participating in Royal Naval operations against Russia in the Baltic Sea

Charles T.S. Kevern, to Devonport Stockyard vice Dr. Frazer retired. -  United Services Magazine 1866

In 1871 Charles T.S. Kevern resided at Bristol with his wife Fanny Maria age 30 and his son Harry Charles age 17 a medical student and son Murray Cowell Kevern age 12, daughter Ellen Kevern age 9 and son Graham age 2. He gave his age as 56 and birth place Stoke Damerel,Devon.

He was the list of Medical Officers on the retired list who were promoted to the honorary rank of Deputy Inspector General of Hospitals and Fleets in her Majesty's Fleet. (Medical Times and Gazette)

Charles Thomas Simpson Kevern of 2 Fosseway Clifton, Bristol, retired inspector general of Hospitals Royal Navy died 3 June 1893. Probate Bristol 3 July to Fanny Maria Kevern widow. (National Probate Calendar, Ancestry)




KIDD, John R.N., *30 September 1828


John Kidd was appointed Assistant-Surgeon on the Hyperion in 1824 (The Morning Post 5 January 1824)

John Kidd's wife gave birth to a son in July 1832 at Southsea. (Hampshire Advertiser)

He was appointed Surgeon to the vessel Pearl in June 1834........

In 1839 he was employed as Surgeon Superintendent on the convict ship Whitby; and the Egyptian in 1840 (to VDL)

John Kidd was on the List of Surgeons of the Royal Navy who were fit for service in 1841 and was appointed to the Emma Eugenia convict ship to Tasmania in that year.

His wife gave birth to a (premature) son at Buckland in 1843.

He arrived in Tasmania in October 1850 as Surgeon Superintendent on the convict ship Nile with 299 male convicts under his care.

He arrived with his family as Surgeon Superintendent on the immigrant ship Stebonheath in 1851. (Australian Medical Pioneer Index)

His obituary appears in the British Medical Directory of 1853  - John Kidd died on 1st February at Melbourne age 48. The deceased was admitted a member of the London College of Surgeons August 6th 1824, and a fellow of the same August 26h 1844. He received his medical education at Dublin and Edinburgh and entered as an assistant surgeon in the royal navy at an early age. He was soon promoted to the rank of surgeon, and had the honour of serving his country above twenty years. He was distinguished as a cool and steady operator, prompt in his treatment of disease, and skilful in his diagnoses. He saw much service, and his name is honourably mentioned by Colonel H. Despard, to his Excellency Govern Grey. He was then surgeon on board H.M.S. Castor. On this occasion (an engagement with the rebel chiefs Kawiti and Heke) he and Dr. Pine were the senior medical attendants when a large number of officers and men were either killed or wounded.



KILROY, Alexander R.N., (* 15 April 1838)


In 1833, Alexander Kilroy, assistant-surgeon of the Victory was appointed to be assistant-surgeon of the Island of Ascension (Hampshire Telegraph 25 February 1833)

He was appointed to the Favourite in 1841. (The Navy List)

In 1845 he was appointed Surgeon Superintendent of the convict ship China; (The Standard 24 February 1845)

He was appointed to the Mayda  in July 1845. The Mayda arrived in Norfolk Island with convicts 8th January 1846. He was appointed to the Australasia Convict ship in 1849 (to VDL)

He was employed as surgeon superintendent on the Mermaid to Fremantle in 1851. The Mermaid, J.P. Anderson, master, arrived at the moorings opposite the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich to take on board male convicts for Western Australia in December 1850. She was to call at Cowes on her passage out, to take juveniles from Parkhurst prison for the same destination where it was planned to have free tickets granted to them.

In 1854 he was appointed to the Ajax for service with the Baltic fleet. (Caledonian Mercury 16 March 1854)

Alexander Kilroy was listed in Medical Register 1865. Qualifications Mem. Royal College Surgeons Eng 1827.

Alexander Kilroy died in 1872........The Will of Alexander Kilroy formerly of Plymouth in the county of Devon but late of 6 Shaftesbury terrace Kensington in the county of Middlesex, Esquire who died 22 November 1872 at 6 Shaftesbury terrace was proved at the Principal Registry by Maria Lucinda Kilroy of 6 Shaftesbury terrace, widow, the sole Executrix. Effects under £800 .......England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administration) (Ancestry)



KING, Gilbert  R.N., *7 October 1813


Gilbert King was born in Scotland c. 1791. He attended the University of Glasgow.

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

He was employed as Surgeon Superintendent on the convict ships Medway in 1825,  Marquis of Hastings in 1827 (to NSW);  Lord Lyndoch 1831 (to VDL);  Eden (in 1836 to VDL); and the Moffatt in 1838 (to VDL)




On 9 November 1846 Gilbert King was appointed Deputy Inspector of Hospitals and Fleets (Navy List)

In the 1851 Census Gilbert King is residing at Belgrave Place St. George Hanover. He is 60 years old and a widower. His unmarried son Gilbert age 17 and daughter Jane age 19 live with him.

In the 1861 Census Gilbert King can be found residing at Gibson Street St. Marys Islington as a lodger. He is 70 years of age and gives his occupation as Inspector General of Hospital Fleets.

Gilbert King late of 38 Gibson square in the Parish of Islington, Middlesex, Doctor of Medicine, Inspector of Hospitals and fleets in the Royal Navy deceased who died 18 March 1864 at 38 Gibson square was proved at the principal registry by the oath of Jane Sophia Clarke (wife of Benjamin Clarke) of 38 Gibson square aforesaid the Daughter the sole Executrix (87)



KINNEAR, Charles Ritchie


Charles Ritchie Kinnear was employed as Surgeon Superintendent on the convict ship Cadet to Van Diemen's Land in 1848.

He is listed in the 1865 Medical Register. Deputy Inspector of Hospitals. Qualifications - Lic. Royal College Surgeon, Edinburgh 1837.



KUNST, John Justice William

John Justice William Kunst was employed as surgeon on the convict ships Hillsborough and Hercules





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