Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Sir Edward Hilditch R. N.,

Convict Ship Surgeon-Superintendent

Edward Hilditch was born at St. Andrews Holborn, Middlesex on 13 May 1805, the son of John Frederick and Sarah Hilditch. His brother George William was born 12 October 1803. Both were baptised on the same day in June 1805. His wife Jane was born at Lambeth Surrey.

He studied medicine at St. George Hospital, took his diploma in 1826 and entered the naval medical service. He was on the West Indian station and had extensive experience in dealing with outbreaks of yellow fever. [1]


Edward Hilditch was employed as Surgeon-Superintendent on two convict ship voyages to Australia:

Susan to Van Diemen's Land in 1837

Theresa to New South Wales in 1839

Jamaica 1841

In 1841 he was on the List of Surgeons of the Royal Navy who was fit for service. He was employed at the hospital at Jamaica. On 28 June 1844 he was appointed Deputy Medical Inspector at Jamaica [3]

Bermuda Hospital 1847

In 1847 it was announced that Edward Hilditch of Jamaica had been appointed to the Bermuda Hospital in place of Dr. Oliver Evans who had been appointed to the position of Deputy Medical Inspector at Plymouth Hospital. [2]


Edward Hilditch was knighted and in 1859 was named honorary physician to the Queen in 1868. [4]

Plymouth Naval Hospital

Sir Edward Hilditch was employed at the Royal Naval Hospital at Plymouth in 1861. The Census records him residing there with his wife Jane aged 55 and 50. Edward is employed as Deputy Inspector General of Hospitals.


He was included in the Medical Register of 1865 - Qualifications Mem. Royal College Surgeons, Eng, 1826, M.D. Marisch College University of Aberdeen 1859.


Sir Edward Hilditch died at Bayswater on 24 August 1876 age 71. [1]


[1] Dictionary of National Biography, Volumes 1-20, 22

[2] The Standard 2 August 1847

[3] The Navy List

[4] London Gazette