John Armsworth – Harmsworth, Child of Marine, Prince of Wales 1788

John Aimsworth Drummer of the NSW Corps is actually John Armsworth – Harmsworth, Marine Child, Prince of Wales 1788, son of Thomas and Alice Harmsworth. He was born 1 Dec 1787 aboard the Prince of Wales, on the voyage to NSW. John arrived on Norfolk Island Oct 1791 with his mother, sister Ann and step father Daniel Stanfield aboard the Atlantic.

John travelled to Sydney aboard the Daedalus in Nov 1794 with his mother and step father. He enlisted into the NSW Corps in Dec 1794. From 1802 – 1809 John is recorded as a drummer in the NSW Corps on Norfolk Island as a member of the 102nd Regiment, some records give the name of John Ainsworth.

On Norfolk Island he formed a relationship with Sarah Wheeler, free, Kitty 1792. She had been in a previous relationship with Benjamin Butcher of the NSW Corps on Norfolk Island. John and Sarah’s child Sarah Wheeler was born in Mar 1805 on Norfolk Island. John departed Norfolk Island returning to Sydney aboard the Lady Nelson in Apr 1810 with Sarah Wheeler and their daughter Sarah Wheeler.

In Mar 1810 John was transferred to the 73rd Regiment in Sydney and served at Parramatta and Hobart. He went to VDL with his daughter and Sarah Wheeler. John left NSW with the 73rd regiment for Ceylon aboard the Wyndham in Apr 1814. Here he took part in the siege of Kandy and the defeat of the Ceylonese King. He was discharged from the regiment and travelled back to Hobart in Sept 1820.

A Sarah Harmsworth died 24 July 1837, midwife, age 60 years (born 1777), Hobart Town. There is also a Sarah Harmsworth died 19 Sept 1852 Hobart, age 53 years, (born 1779) sawyers wife, informant was John Harmsworth, husband, followed by the word father crossed out, 74 Bathurst Street (Hobart) with a father’s name recorded as John.

The Tasmanian 1843 census lists John as living at Oatlands. John Harmsworth died 21 Aug 1860, age 73 years at the home of Daniel Stanfield at Clarence Plains.

norfolk island bdm


Cite this article as: Cathy Dunn, 'John Armsworth – Harmsworth, Child of Marine, Prince of Wales 1788', Australian History Research,, accessed [insert current date]
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