John Despard (1745–1829) was an Irish-born soldier who served in the British Army and as a colonial administrator. He was born in Dublin and served in the Seven Years' War and the American War of Independence. Despard rose to the rank of General. From 1799 to 1807 he was in command of Cape Breton Island. He was the brother of Edward Despard, also a soldier, who was executed in 1803 for his part in the Despard Plot.
- Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online. Biography of John Despard
- Conner, Clifford D., "Colonel Despard: The Life and Times of an Anglo-Irish Rebel" (Combined Publishing 2000)
- Jay, Mike, The Unfortunate Colonel Despard (Bantam Press 2004)
- Oman, Charles William Chadwick. Unfortunate Colonel Despard and Other Studies. Burt Franklin, 1922.
- Tennyson, Brian & Sarty, Roger. Guardian of the Gulf: Sydney, Cape Breton, and the Atlantic Wars. University of Toronto Press, 2000.