Alexander Nisbet (Royal Navy officer)

Sir Alexander Nisbet RN, MD, (1795–1874) was a naval surgeon notable for his role in early convict transports to Australia, and as H.M. Inspector of Hospitals for the Royal Navy.

Alexander Nisbet was born in Scotland, son of Captain Alexander Nisbet, and joined the British Royal Navy Medical Service in 1812. He saw active service during the American War (1812-1814). In 1823 he completed a doctorate in medicine at Edinburgh University, submitting a dissertation entitled Pneumonia Typhode; and, began a long and successful career as a surgeon-superintendent serving on seven convict ships transporting convicts from Great Britain to Australia (1824-1840).

In 1844 Alexander became Deputy Director of Hospitals at Greenwich. On 12 December 1854, at Arley, Staffordshire, he married Lucy Susannah Davenport, daughter of the Rev. E.S. Davenport. In 1855 Nisbet was appointed Inspector of Hospitals and Fleets at Haslar Royal Hospital, retiring from the Royal Navy in 1861. He was appointed as Honorary Physician to Queen Victoria in 1873 and later that year he was knighted by Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone.

He died of "natural decay" at his home Arley Lodge in Lee, London at the age of seventy-nine, and is buried in Brockley and Ladywell Cemeteries.


  • Boase, Frederic. 1892-1921. Modern English Biography. Truro: Netherton & Worth.
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