Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Webb, John (1772-1852)

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WEBB, Sir JOHN (1772–1852), director-general ordnance medical department, fourth son of John Webb of Woodland Hill, Staffordshire, and afterwards of Dublin, by his wife, a daughter of Thomas Heath, was born at Dublin on 25 Oct. 1772. He was appointed assistant surgeon on 17 March 1794. He became a member of the College of Surgeons of England on 22 Feb. 1817, and was made a fellow on 11 Dec. 1843, being one of the first batch of three hundred fellows created at that date. It is stated that he had the degree of M.D., but of what university is not known. The following are the dates of his appointments to the various grades in the army: he was promoted regimental surgeon on 15 July 1795, surgeon to the forces 1 March 1797, field inspector 10 April 1801, deputy inspector-general 30 May 1802, inspector 3 July 1809, inspector-general 20 Nov. 1809, and director-general 1 Aug. 1813. He served on the continent under the Duke of York from April 1794 to May 1795, in the West Indies from November 1795 to June 1798, at The Helder from August to November 1799, in the Mediterranean and Egypt from August 1800 to April 1806, in the Baltic from July to November 1807, and at Walcheren from July to September 1809. He was thus present at the action of Lannoi on 17 and 18 May 1794, at the siege of Morne Fortuné, capture of St. Lucia, the expulsion of the Caribs from St. Vincent in 1796, capture of Trinidad and the descent on the Porto Rico in 1797, at the reduction of the Helder and the capture of the Texel fleet in 1799, on the coast of Spain in 1800, in the Egyptian campaign in 1801, including the actions at the landing and those of 13 and 21 March, at the taking of Grand Cairo and all the subsequent operations, at the siege of Copenhagen and capture of the Danish fleet in 1807, and at the expedition to the Scheldt in 1809. He received the silver war medal with one clasp for Egypt, was knighted in 1821, elected a knight of the Cross of Hanover in 1832, and made a companion of the Bath in 1850. He retired on full pay on 1 April 1850.

Webb was for many years a magistrate and deputy-lieutenant for the county of Kent. He died on 16 Sept. 1852 at his residence, Chatham Lodge, Woolwich Common, having nearly completed his eightieth year, and was buried on the 22nd in St. Thomas's Church, Woolwich. He married, in 1814, Theodosia, eldest daughter of Samuel Brandram of Lee Grove, Kent, and left issue three children. While acting as a volunteer in charge of the British troops off Alexandria, who were suffering from the plague, he had the opportunity of collecting materials for his ‘Narrative of Facts relative to the repeated Appearance, Propagation, and Extinction of the Plague among the Troops employed in the Conquest and Occupation of Egypt,’ 1801–3.

[Gent. Mag. 1852, ii. 528; Notes and Queries, 8th ser. i. 482; Churchill's Medical Direct.; Medical Times and Gazette, 1852; Record of Services preserved at the War Office; Records of College of Surgeons of England.]

W. W. W.