Edward Adams (surgeon)

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Edward Adams (24 February 1824 – 12 November 1856) was an English naval surgeon and naturalist.

Adams was born at Great Barton, near Bury St Edmunds. He became interested in natural history as a child. He qualified as a surgeon in April 1847, and in August of the same year became an assistant surgeon at the Royal Navy's Haslar Hospital in Gosport, three months later transferring to the Naval Hospital at Devonport. Four months later he volunteered to join James Clark Ross's expedition to the Arctic to search for Sir John Franklin. Adams was aboard HMS Investigator under Captain Bird. They left in May 1848, but returned eighteen months later without success.

In January 1850 Adams left on another expedition to look for Franklin. This time he was aboard HMS Enterprise under Captain Richard Collinson. They reached the Bering Strait in August, and Adams was put ashore at St. Michael, just north of the Yukon delta, to investigate reports of possible survivors from Franklin's crew. He rejoined the Enterprise in July 1851, sailing east below Banks Island and Victoria Island, and penetrating further east than any ship previously. They returned to England in 1855.

Adams passed his full naval surgeon's exams, and travelled to west Africa in May 1856 on board the steamship Hecla. He died there of typhus, and was buried at Sierra Leone.

Adams was commemorated in the name of the white-billed diver (Gavia adamsii), by his friend George Robert Gray.


  • Biographies for Birdwatchers, Barbara and Richard Mearns ISBN 0-12-487422-3