Denis Thorman SHORTRIDGE

SHORTRIDGE , Denis Thorman

Service Number: 281472
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Squadron Leader
Last Unit: Royal Australian Air Force
Born: 4 July 1915, place not yet discovered
Home Town: Not yet discovered
Schooling: Adelaide High School and University of Adelaide, South Australia
Occupation: Medical Practitioner
Died: Norwood South Australia, 19 July 2001, aged 86 years, cause of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
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World War 2 Service

24 Oct 1945: Discharged Royal Air Force , Squadron Leader, 281472, Royal Australian Air Force
24 Oct 1945: Discharged Royal Australian Air Force, Squadron Leader, 281472
Date unknown: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Squadron Leader, 281472

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Biography contributed by Annette Summers



1915- 2001

Dennis Thorman Shortridge was born at Kooringa, Burra, SA, on 4th July 1915. He was the son of Alfred George Shortridge and Lily Marian, nee Ewins. Shortridge was educated at the Thebarton Central School, SA, where he was dux at the age of 12 before going to Adelaide High School.  He was awarded a government bursary in 1933 to study medicine at the University of Adelaide, SA, where he graduated MB BS in 1938. Shortridge was an intelligent and outstanding scholar and won many prizes and scholarships during his education, which included the Archibald Watson Prize.  It was estimated that he had acquired over five hundred pounds of academic prizes by 1937, covering most of the costs of his education. Shortridge spoke six languages and had won his cap for rifle shooting at the Adelaide High School. He had a considerable interest in music but his university commitments precluded a degree in this area too. He undertook his residency at the RAH, from 1938 until 1940, and a senior resident medical officer appointment, at the ACH, from March 1940 until enlistment.

Shortridge joined the Medical Branch of the RAAF on 5th July 1940, as a flight lieutenant and was placed on the active list. Initially he was posted to SHQ at RAAF Laverton before being posted to 5 Recruiting Centre and then 5 Personnel Depot. He was later posted to RAAF Pearce and then 2 Personnel Depot, Bradfield Park, NSW before travelling overseas.  He left Australia for the United Kingdom via Canada on the 16th October 1941 and arrived in Canada on 6th November 1941 and England on 22nd November 1941.  Posted to No 10 Squadron RAAF (Sunderland Flying Boats), Coastal Command on 12th December 1941, he went to Mount Batten, Plymouth, Devon and other southern England bases, until January 1942. He was promoted to acting squadron leader on 25th July 1942, and squadron leader on 1st October 1942. Shortridge attended an anaesthetic course at the RAF Hospital at St Athan, Wales in May 1943.  A review, on 22nd July 1943 described him as; An extraordinarily well-read officer who is capable of taking an intelligent and active participation in almost any discussion. As medical officer to the squadron he has kept a very active and capable eye on all aircrew. His assessments as to the operationally tired aircrew may be relied upon implicitly. Shortridge returned to Australia, disembarking in Sydney on 22nd January 1944. He served in Australia for the remainder of the war. He was appointed acting wing commander on 1st December 1944. His   appointment was terminated 24th October 1945.

Shortridge became engaged to Patricia Margaret Johnson in December 1945. She was the elder daughter of Mr and Mrs GE Johnson of Clayfield, Queensland. He pursued a career in ophthalmology. He obtained the DO from Oxford and Sydney Universities in 1947, and DOMS, from London, in 1947. He returned from England as a ship’s surgeon on the Ormonde.  Shortridge then gained his FRACS in 1948 and FRACO in 1977. Shortridge and his wife had a son in Brisbane, Queensland, in November 1945, a daughter in Wahroonga, NSW, in August 1947 and another son in Sydney in September 1953. Shortridge then joined the RANR at the rank of surgeon lieutenant commander from 1951 to 1958. He was a member of the board of examiners for the RACS from 1966 to 1972, and practiced as an ophthalmic surgeon at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, NSW. In retirement Shortridge returned to SA where he lived in Norwood. Dennis Thorman Shortridge died on 19th July 2001.


Blood, Sweat and Fears III: Medical Practitioners South Australia, who Served in World War 2. 

Swain, Jelly, Verco, Summers. Open Books Howden, Adelaide 2019. 

Uploaded by Annette Summers AO RFD