‘Your Dutiful Nephew’: Thomas Denman Ledward (1766–1789/90), acting surgeon of the Bounty

By Pieter van der Merwe, published November 2018


The surviving family letters of, and relating to, Thomas Denman Ledward, acting surgeon in HM armed vessel Bounty, have never been fully researched before. They are used here as the basis for constructing his brief biography. It provides a case study of the chances that could launch an eighteenth-century naval medical career (and tragically terminate it), shows him to have been a vivid witness to the early part of the voyage, and suggests that the one letter of the group already well-known needs re-evaluation in how it has usually been read as critical of Captain Bligh.

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Filed under: Eighteenth Century | Mutiny & Discipline | Health at Sea
Subjects include: Biography | Manpower & Life at Sea

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