Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

John Drummond R. N.,

Convict Ship Surgeon-Superintendent

Date of Seniority Royal Navy 29 November 1814

John Drummond born at Boness, Scotland c. 1792. He was included in the Navy List of Medical Officers in 1814. [1]

Surgeon Superintendent

John Drummond was employed as surgeon superintendent on two convict ships to Australia: Countess of Harcourt 1828 and Prince Regent in 1829.

Countess of Harcourt departed England on 3rd May 1828.

John Drummond kept a Medical Journal from 29th March to 22 September 1828. Shortly after embarkation many of the prisoners became affected with slight bowel complains and catarrh. The surgeon attributed these complaints to the change in diet and clothing. Illness was increased by the extremely cold and damp weather that took place during the first two weeks after leaving Port. As they advanced further southwards cases of fevers and dysentery began to arise. During the latter part of the voyage the weather remained cold and damp with frequent gales. The men suffered much from the continual wet state of the prisons and sleeping berths. Owing to the faulty state of the ships decks, the prisons were often completely flooded. John Drummond made every attempt at cleanliness, scraping the decks each day and encouraging the men to keep themselves and their clothing clean. Any indulgence possible was granted to them which the safety and duty of the ship could allow. Schools were established and attended and with much good effort John Drummond had the satisfaction of landing all the convicts at Port Jackson, none having died on the voyage.

Prince Regent departed England 21st August 1829 and arrived in Van Diemen's Land10 January 1830.


He was appointed to the Curacoa in the East Indies in 1831[4]

He was Surgeon to the Governor-General of India in the years 1835 - 1841 [3]

John Drummond was on the List of Surgeons of the Royal Navy who were fit for service in 1841. He was appointed surgeon to the St. Vincent in 1842. [5]

Deputy Inspector of Hospitals and Fleets

The Standard (London) in July 1847 reported that John Drummond, formerly of the St. Vincent was to be appointed to the rank of deputy inspector of hospitals. He was to be sent to the Woolwich division of the Royal Marines in place of Mr. Prior who retired. [2]

John Drummond still held this position ten years later when his only son John died aged 9 on 8th June 1857

1861 Census

In the 1861 Census John Drummond is recorded residing at 15 Marine Parade, Dover. Age 68, he lives with his widowed mother-in -law Mary Dovehill age 80, wife Emma Drummond age 49, Emily, daughter age 18, and two servants. His occupation is Inspector General of Hospitals.


John Drummond died at Dover in September 1864[3]

Notes and Links

1) National Archives. Reference: ADM 101/18/5 Description: Medical journal of the Countess of Harcourt, convict ship, for 29 March to 22 September 1828 by [John] Drummond, Surgeon and Superintendent, during which time the sad ship was employed in conveying convicts to New South Wales.

2). The Asiatic Journal and Monthly Register for British India - J. Drummond surgeon Royal Navy to be surgeon on personal staff of Governor General - Calcutta from 3rd April 1836


[1] The Navy List

[2] The Standard 12 July 1847

[3] Pioneer Medical Index Online

[4] The Navy List

[5] The New Navy List