Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Abraham Bradford R. N.,

Convict Ship Surgeon-Superintendent

Date of Seniority Royal Navy *20th July 1838

Abraham Bradford was born in 1807 at Alverstoke, Hampshire, the son of Alexander and Harriett Bradford. He joined the Royal Navy on 24th July 1827.

Assistant Surgeon

In 1834 Abraham Bradford was employed as Assistant-Surgeon on the Winchester in the East Indies. (Navy List)

He was promoted to Surgeon 20 July 1838.

On 11 January 1839 he was appointed to H.M.S. Hazard in the Mediterranean. H.M.S. Hazard, sloop, Commander C. G. J. Elliott, was built in 1827 and was of 429 tons. 84 officers and men, 24 boys and 20 marines were employed on board. Henry McFarlane was Assistant Surgeon. [1]


He was employed as Surgeon Superintendent on the convict ship Henrietta to Van Diemen's Land in 1843.

He kept a journal from 23 June 1843 to 28th November 1843. The Henrietta, Captain George Longford, departed London 13th July 1843 with 190 male convicts. There were no deaths on the voyage out but there was an outbreak of ophthalmia that caused a great deal of trouble - the pain and irritability became excessive. The conjunctiva of the eye the colour of red cloth forming an elevated border round the cornea wit h the external eyelids puffed up to the extent of causing blindness for several days.

Naval Duties

On 19 December 1844 he was appointed Surgeon on the Actaeon off the Coast of Africa

On 3rd February 1848, he was appointed Surgeon to the Blenheim, 450 horse-power Steam Guard Ship at Portsmouth.

Surgeon to the Resolute

Abraham Bradford's name can be counted among the intrepid Artic explorers of the mid 19th Century after he joined the flag ship Resolute as Surgeon. During 1850-51 the Resolute (flagship), Assistance, Pioneer and Intrepid, supported by a store-ship, the former warship North Star, searched the eastern Arctic under the overall command of Horatio Thomas Austin in search of Artic explorer Sir John Franklin. The only positive trace of Franklin they found was the remains of his first winter camp on Beechey Island. Find out more about the Artic Expeditions and vessels.

In 1852 he was appointed Surgeon to the Magicienne and in August 1852 he was appointed to the Hogue. (Morning Post 31 August 1852)

Deputy Inspector of Hospitals and Fleets

In 1856 it was announced that Surgeon Abraham Rose Bradford of the Hogue, 60, screw., had been promoted to Deputy Inspector of Hospitals and Fleets. (The Standard 12 May 1856)

In 1861 he resided at 57 Camden Road Villas, Middlesex. He was 55 years old and in the Census gave his occupation as Deputy Inspector -General of the Royal Navy (on half pay). His status is 'married', however his wife is not listed. His daughters Kate age 7 and Ellen age 4 1/2 reside with him. He employed a governess Ellen Littleton and a Housemaid Charlotte Arnold, Cook Keziah Mayhew. William Kavanagh age 57 was a lodger and his unmarried niece Emily Kempster age 20 also resided with them. (1861 Census)


In 1870 it was announced that Abraham Rose Bradford, Deputy Inspector General of Hospitals and Fleets, was placed on the retired list.

In the 1881 Census the family resided at 62 Blomfield Rd. Paddington. Abraham was 75 and his wife Ellen who was born in Cornwall was 51. Their daughter Kate age 27 was unmarried and resided with them and their son John R. age 19 was an undergraduate in London.


Abraham Bradford died in 1884 in Kensington, London

Notes and Links

1). Obituary of Sir John Rose Bradford - nature - International Journal of Science


[1] Haultain, C. (compiled), The New Navy List, 1840, p. 201