Expedition personnel

1836 allotment of Officers and Men to

Steamers Euphrates and Tigris

R.A. = Royal Artillery
R.E. = Royal Engineers
R.N. = Royal Navy

This list of the Expedition’s personnel is based on Chesney’s ‘allotment of Officers and Men to Steamers Euphrates and Tigris 1836′ published in his 1868 book, and information found in the accounts of Expedition members.
Those writing about the Expedition often used different spellings of names, which can be confusing. During the Expedition, temporary workers were sometimes hired and their names were not always recorded.

Commander of the Expedition

Acting Colonel Francis Rawdon Chesney R.A. (Annalong, County Down, Ireland 1789-1872)

– Alternatively on Euphrates and Tigris
– Had been on an expedition to the Euphrates from 1830-1832, laying the groundwork for the 1835 Expedition
– Left the Expedition 14 November 1836 for Bombay, India, to discuss the continuation of the Expedition with the India Office

Second in command

Lieutenant Henry Blosse Lynch I.N. (1807-1873) Indian Navy

– Captain of Tigris
– Joined the Indian Navy in 1823 and took part in the survey of the Persian Gulf, where he learned Arabic and Persian
– Left the Expedition on 29 May 1836 for England, with the survivors of the Tigris

Third in command

Captain James Bucknall Bucknall Estcourt (1802-1855) 43rd Light Infantry British Army

– In charge of pendulum experiments
– Second in command from 29 May 1836 when Henry Blosse Lynch left the Expedition
– After Chesney left, Commander of the Expedition from 14 November 1836 until end of Expedition 31 January 1837

Colourisation by Ross Day


RankNameAge infoOriginRoleRemark
Captain L.In. James Bucknall Bucknall Estcourt1802-1855LondonThird in command / In charge of pendulum experiments
Lieutenant R.N.Richard Francis Cleavelandentered Navy 1824 – d.1843Captain of the Euphrates
Lieutenant R.E.Hastings Fitz-Edward Murphy1798-1836County KerryAstronomer and chief surveyorDied of fever at Basrah on 9 August 1836
Mate R.N.Edward Philips Charlewood1813-1894Oak Hill, StaffordshireActing Lieutenant
Mate R.N.James Fitzjames1813 – 1848?Left the Expedition 30 October 1836 in charge of the Indian mails
William Francis Ainsworth1807-1896ExeterSurgeon / Geologist
Christian Anthony RassamChristian Anthony Rassam1808-1872Mosul, IraqInterpreter
Saïd AliInterpreterLeft the Expedition 30 October 1836 with Fitzjames and Indian mails
Thomas Hurst EngineerLeft Expedition 2 May 1836
DoctorJohann Wilhelm Helfer1810-1840PraguePassengerAustrian. Left Expedition 18 June 1836
Mathilde Pauline Helfer1801-1881Saxony, GermanyPassengerLeft Expedition 18 June 1836
ReverendWilliam John Bucknall Estcourt 1812-1884LondonPassengerBrother of J.B. Bucknall Estcourt. Was on a tour through Egypt and Syria. Assisted his brother with surveying and served as secretary to Chesney. Left Expedition 2 May 1836
Sergeant-major R.A.William QuinStorekeeper and Master-at-arms
Sergeant R.E.Syms / Sein (?)Died Autumn 1835
Corporal R.A. W. GreenhillAssistant to Lieutenant Murphy
Corporal R.E.Gidens / GeddensDied of fever around August 1835
Corporal R.E.William BlackDescribed by Chesney as “a singularly energetic and persevering man.”
Corporal R.E.W. BlashAssistant to the Engineer
Private R.E.EdratonAssistant to the Engineer
Private R.E.William Edrington
Gunner R.A.Gregor McDonaldMiner
Gunner R.A.Charles CampbellMiner
Gunner R.A.Edward AndrewsSmith
Gunner R.A.Job VainesSmith
Gunner R.A.Hughes
Gunner R.A.David Ewart
William FrewCarpenter
Thomas JonesCarpenter
Thomas Phipps Boatswain
John HaighSailmaker
John MaltaSteward
John Waters AmericaCook
Thomas Philips Seaman
George DaviesSeaman
Thomas Hunter, Jun.Seaman
William DenbighSeaman
David RaerdonSeaman
Franklin HofmanSeaman
James BrownSeamanDied of ‘brain-fever’ at Antioch, 7 August 1835
John ClarkeSeaman
Hadji Mahomed Seaman


RankNameAge infoOriginRoleRemarkDied 21 May 1836,
wreck of the Tigris
Lieutenant I.N.Henry Blosse Lynch1807-1873Partry, County MayoSecond in command / Captain of the TigrisLeft the Expedition for England 29 May 1836
Lieutenant R.A.Robert Cockburn1812-1836EdinburghIn charge of Artillery / Draughtsman
Mate R.N.Henry Edenentered Navy 1825Acting Lieutenant Left the Expedition for England 29 May 1836
Doctor R.A.Charles Frederick StauntonDublinSurgeon
Andrew Aylmer StauntonIrelandAssistant Surgeon / DraughtsmanLeft Expedition at Hillah for England 11 June 1836
William Taylour Thompson 1813-1883EdinburghIn charge of chronometersLeft the Expedition for England 29 May 1836
William Elliot a.k.a. Dervish AliCalcutta, IndiaInterpreterEnglish father, Indian mother. Studied Medicine in England. Left Expedition after 21 May 1836
Yussuf SaderInterpreter
Lieutenant I.A.
21st Bengal Native Infantry
Robert Blosse LynchPartry, County MayoPassengerTook an active part in the transport and went on diplomatic missions with his brother Henry Blosse Lynch
Alexander Hector1810-1875Purser and StorekeeperStayed in Baghdad after end of Expedition to run shortlived dromedary postal service
Andrew CleggEngineerLeft Expedition 2 May 1836 for England
John StruthersEngineerJoined Expedition 2 May 1836, to replace Clegg
Acting Sergeant R.E.Richard ClarkCarpenter
Bombardier R.A.Thompson
Corporal R.E.Benjamin FisherAssistant to the Engineer
PrivateArchibald McDonaldAssistant to the Engineer
Gunner R.A.John WaddellTrumpeter
Gunner R.A.Edward HarrisonSmithDied August 1835 of fever
Gunner R.A.James Moore
Gunner R.A.Robert TurnerMiner
Gunner R.A.James HayMiner
Gunner R.A.Thomas Jones Smith
Gunner R.A.GoslingSmith
Elias LaurieQuartermaster
Benjamin GibsonBoatswain’s Mate
Thomas Hunter, Sen.Sailmaker
GiacomoMaltaCook and Baker
VincenzoMaltaCook and Baker
AntoniMaltaCook and Baker
James WhittakerBoiler-maker
Thomas Booth Seaman
Charles NashSeaman
Thomas BattySeaman
William BensonSeaman
George LiddelSeaman
Dubek SachoSeaman
WasooLocal worker
Jacob JohnLocal worker
MaunehLocal worker
PedrosLocal worker