Alexander was the largest of the convict transports and one of two all-male prison ships.
On 8 June 1787, while the fleet was anchored at Tenerife, a convict by the name of John Powers made his escape from Alexander. Surgeon General John White, who travelled on Charlotte, recorded the event in his journal:
‘During the night, while people were busily employed in taking in water on board the Alexander, a service in which some of the convicts assisted, one of them, of the name Powel, found means to drop himself unperceived into a small boat … and under the cover of the night to cast her off without discovery.’
Unluckily for Powers, he was discovered the next morning on a nearby island and brought back to Alexander in irons.