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TOPIC: Guy Shortridge, South African Constabulary - died in South Africa, 12.1.1949

Guy Shortridge, South African Constabulary - died in South Africa, 12.1.1949 4 months 4 weeks ago #61807

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Born at Honiton, Devon, he served in the South African Constabulary during the ABW, and was in both the 12th Lancers and the Royal Flying Corps during the Great War, then returning to South Africa. In WW2 he was an intelligence officer in Libya. By the time of his death he was renowned as an explorer and an expert on natural history.


Last evening a hearty welcome was extended to Mr. Guy Shortridge, second son of Dr. T. W. Shortridge, of Honiton, who was formerly a scholar at Allhallows School. He went to South Africa about three years ago on the "Canada." He belonged to the South African Police, and after serving with that force was laid up with enteric fever. Consequently he had to leave the Police and has since then been working for a museum there collecting specimens, and has gone over the greater part of South Africa. Those to greet him on the station were his mother and father, Miss Shortridge and Master Shortridge, the Mayor (Dr. Macaulay), Miss Macaulay, Miss Pennell, Mr. Middlemist, and a host of others. The streets were crowded with people of all classes, and at the house there was also a large crowd awaiting Mr. Shortridge.

When the 7.25 train steamed into the station rounds of cheers were given accompanied by loud reports from the fog signals which had been placed on the metals.

As Mr. Shortridge approached the exit door he found the Mayor awaiting him. His Worship gave him a hearty hand shake and said how pleased he was to see him return safe, and to be able to present him with a medal for South Africa. Some time ago a call was made for Volunteers, in which he, with others from Honiton, offered their help, and as Mayor of Honiton he (Dr. Macaulay) had very great pleasure in presenting him with the medal and in wishing him long life and happiness. The Mayor then pinned the medal and bar on Mr. Shortridge's coat, he being attired in his Khaki clothes. Cheers were again given and a procession formed, headed by the band of the 3rd V.B.D.R., under Bandmaster Connett, which played patriotic airs, Mr. Shortridge being cheered as he proceeded down the street, in company with Dr. Shortridge, to the house in High-street. After entering the door Dr. Shortridge, amidst cheers, came forward and thanked all most warmly from the depths of his heart for the kind and warm real Devonshire welcome they had extended to his son.

The band played for a short time outside the house.

The Western Times, Tuesday 16th February 1904

A meeting of the Exeter Museum Governors was held yesterday...…...The Curator reported an offer of collections of local insects, shells, fossils, etc., from Mr. G. C. Shortridge, of Honiton. It was resolved that the Curator be asked to inspect the collections, and that he be empowered to inspect any desirable specimens.

The Western Times, Tuesday 5th July 1904

Mr. Guy Chester Shortridge, second son of Dr. Shortridge, of Honiton, has been gazetted a lieutenant in the 29th Bengal Lancers (Deccan Horse). Mr. G. C. Shortridge is a naturalist collector, in the service of the British Museum, and, on hearing about the war, came down from Northern Burma to offer his services as a volunteer. Mr. Shortridge has joined General Rimington's staff as scout and despatch rider.

Devon and Exter Gazette, Saturday 28th November 1914

The funeral of Dr. W. T. Shortridge, of Brookhill, Honiton, took place on Saturday afternoon.....One of the deceased's son, Lieut. Guy Chester Shortridge, 15th Lancers, Bengal Cavalry, was unable to be present, being on service.

The Western Times, Friday 17th March 1916


East Devon Author's Interesting Book.

Two important volumes on "The Mammals of South-West Africa," published this month by Messrs. Heineman at two guineas, are of particular interest to East Devon, for the author is Captain Guy C. Shortridge, M.B.E., C.M.Z.S., second son of the late Dr. Thomas Wood Shortridge, M.D., of Honiton, and Mrs. Shortridge, of Broadclyst. Captain Shortridge is the director of the famous Kaffrarian Museum, King William's Town, South Africa, and in that capacity made six collecting expeditions in Africa, extending over a period of ten years, and mainly financed by the Administration of South-West Africa, the Percy Sladen Trustees, and the Research Grant Board of the Union of South Africa. The results of these expeditions are here tabulated, in a comprehensive and thorough fashion that should make these two volumes an indispensable text-book.

In the foreword by Field-Marshal Viscount Allenby, G.C.B., G.C.M.G., under whom the author - who was first an officer in the Indian Army, and later in the Air Force, during the Great War - served in Palestine, high tribute is paid to the merits of Captain Shortridge's work.

"A hundred years ago," Lord Allenby begins, "the interior of Africa was unknown, roadless, unmapped, mysterious…..The African fauna was amazing in its numbers and variety."
It is of this fauna, which was in danger of extermination during that century, before the modern scientist's appreciation of, and interest in, wild life replaced the wanton and wasteful slaughter of the hunter who hunted only to kill, which the Devonian Director of the Kaffrarian Museum has made his intensive study, whose usefulness the great Field-Marshal goes on to describe in the following lines: -

"To the real sportsman, no less than to the scientist, will such a book as this, by Captain Shortridge, be invaluable. He is sportsman himself, as well as naturalist; and he has produced a work useful to both. To the results of skilled personal research are added well-established records compiled by acknowledged authorities, and all mammals - from the giant elephant to the pygmy elephant shrews - have had their due meed of attention. Full information is given about their distribution and habits, besides the topography and character of their surroundings. These volumes are well got up; the subject matter is well arranged. Print is clear. Illustrations and maps are good and useful. The author deserves our gratitude for the labour expended on his task, and our congratulations on the success he has achieved."

Captain Shortridge's South-West African surveys were begun in 1921, and it is interesting to observe that they were of much practical value, because they were largely concerned with small mammals, such as rodents, and thus resulted in much useful knowledge being gained of the geographical distribution of potential plague-carriers and their parasites.

The last of these collecting expeditions of his took nine months to complete, during which, accompanied by seven natives and a donkey waggon, he covered over 1,55 miles on foot. Apropos of which, there is a vivid little picture of African desert travel in one of the author's letters to his home, at the end of that particular survey.
"We had delightful weather, and I got back just in time to avoid the heavy rains," he wrote. And added: "It requires a lot of thinking to carry nine months' provisions for eight people on one waggon, as, of course, there is no room to spare. We didn't run short of any single thing, however, either in the way of stores, ammunition, boots, or anything. Among other things I had to take six spare pairs of boots for each of us, and when we returned we were wearing our last pairs. As far as stores were concerned, we could have stopped on another month. Of course, game was so plentiful that we never ran short of fresh meat, and all I took for the natives was mealie meal, coffee, sugar, salt, tobacco, and spare clothes and boots. My own stores were not very much more varied. We all returned very fit."

Captain Shortridge, whose collection of mammals of South-West Africa for his own and the British Museum, to which he has attached for over 25 years, is said to be the second largest in the world, has been in England, seeing his book through the Press, during this last year, and is now on his way back to his work in King William's Town.

Devon and Exeter Gazette, Friday 31st August 1934


Museum History Made in Africa.


"The Cape Mercury" contains an interesting account of the Vernay-Kaffrarian Museum expedition, in which Capt. G. C. Shortridge, a son of the late Dr. T. W. Shortridge, of Honiton, took part.

The account given in our African contemporary is as follows: -
Museum history was made this week when Capt. G. C. Shortridge, Director of the Kaffrarian Museum (which is noted for its collection of South African mammals), accompanied by Mr. T. Donald Carter (Curator of old world mammals to the American Museum of Natural History, New York), returned to King William's Town after a very successful collecting expedition to Barotseland - on the upper reaches of the Zambesi. They were away seven months but for a day, and in spite of spending about half the time in travelling they brought back approximately 5,000 mammal specimens, comprising well over 100 species. In the history of museum collecting a haul of 5,000 specimens is said to be by far the largest number of specimens obtained on any one expedition.

The expedition was chiefly to Barotseland, and Capt. Shortridge and Mr. Carter estimate that they secured specimens of 80 per cent. of the mammals which are likely to occur there.

Known as the Vernay-Kaffrarian Museum expedition to the Upper Zambesi, it was financed by Mr. Arthur S. Vernay, a millionaire, who is known universally as an organiser of many similar expeditions, and is in fact himself engaged on an expedition to Burma - on the Upper Chindwin - at present. Half the specimens will go to the Kaffrarian Museum in King William's Town and the other half to the American Museum of Natural History.

An outstanding feature of the collection is the excellent condition of the specimens which are now in the course of being unpacked.
"We started from Livingstone," stated Capt. Shortridge when interviewed, "and our first camp was 40 or 50 miles up the Zambesi River at a place called Kazungula. Our second main camp was in Barotseland itself, at Limalunga, the winter headquarters of the Paramount Chief of Barotseland, Yeta II, and near to Mongu. After that we went to Balovale, within about 30 miles of the Angola border. The river beinmg low at the time, it was possible to wade across. That will give an idea how near we were to the upper reaches of the Zambesi.
"We must have done 1,000 miles by barge. The barges were poled and paddled by 17 or 18 men. They form the main means of communication in Barotseland, and are operated by a company, R. F. Sutherland, Ltd. The collection, which was packed in 20 large crates, was brought down the river in large barges. It might be of interest to mention that at Mongu in Barotseland there is not only receiving but also sending wireless apparatus.
"When we came to rapids," related Capt. Shortridge, "the Natives got out and helped pull the barge over, and that happened pretty often."
"Several times in a day," his colleague remarked.
The chief landmark above the Victoria Falls was the Gonye Falls. Although nothing like the height of the Victoria Falls, the Gonye has approximately the same quantity of water flowing over it. The formation is rather similar to the Victoria Falls.
"Our first intention," Capt. Shortridge added, "had been to enter Angola, and permission had been obtained from the Portuguese authorities through the kind offices of Mr. Oswald Pirow, but we found the rains would not allow us to complete our programme. The rains started in September, and we also had so much cargo already that this alone made it impossible.

The success of the trip was attributed very largely to help and facilities afforded, not only by the Northern Rhodesia Government, but by everyone with whom they came in contact, officials or otherwise, up the river. Without that assistance it was doubtful whether the expedition would have brought home half the number of specimens. Similar assistance was also given by the Paramount Chief of Barotseland, wholent his broter-in-law as an interpreter during the period of the expedition.

The collections include baboons, monkeys, lemurs, antelopes and a very large number of carnivorous and insectivorous mammals, rodents and bats.

Capt. Shortridge, Mr. Carter and the Kaffrarian Museum taxidermist (N. Arends) were accompanied by half-a-dozen Barotse boys. The expeditioners returned by train from Livingstone, breaking the journey at Johannesburg for a few days. They are now very busy unpacking and sorting the collection.

Mr. Carter leaves on the 17th inst. for Capetown en route to America. By the time he gets back to New York he will have been away from America for over a year. He has enjoyed his stay in South Africa very much and expressed his appreciation of the kindness and hospitality which has been accorded him everywhere.

Devon and Exeter Gazette, Friday 20th January 1939


Capt. G. C. Shortridge, Prominent Naturalist
The world of natural history has lost a prominent figure by the death of Captain Guy Chester Shortridge, M.B.E., C.M.Z.S., director of the Kaffrarian Museum, King William's Town, South Africa, and son of the late Dr. Thomas Wood Shortridge, of Honiton.

A world authority on mammals, his outstanding achievement was a comprehensive survey of the mammals of South-West Africa and neighbouring territories, and in assembling at the Kaffrarian Musem the world's finest collection of these mammals, which vary in size from giant elephant to diminutive bat and mouse.

Of the many thousands of specimens he collected, several thousands were hitherto unclassified and new to science. The work was constructive, avoiding unnecessary destruction of wild life, and was instrumental in obtaining official protection for many rare forms of animals and birds that were threatened with extinction at the hands of indiscriminate "sportsmen."

There were few parts of the tropical world where he had not collected and explored, but against the excitement and adventure of the jungle must be placed years of unspectacular work, patience and intense concentration of rare quality.

Captain Shortridge fought in the South African War and in the First World War when he held a commission in both the Indian Army and Royal Air Force [ Royal Flying Corps? ]. He served in France and Mesopotamia, was mentioned in despatches three times for outstanding work on the North[-West Frontier of India and in Palestine, where he was later attached to Lord Allenby's staff.

In 1921 he went to King William's Town as curator - afterwards director - of the Kaffrarian Museum, and his expeditions from there made museum history.

When the Second World War came he again volunteered for active duty and served in Libya as an intelligence liaison officer.

The British Museum (Natural History Dept.) financed many of his collecting expeditions in Australia, Asia and America. He co-operated with New York museum authorities and led an American expedition to Nyasaland in 1946. In 1934 his book "The Mammals of South-West Africa," was published with a foreword by Field-Marshal Viscount Allenby.

Captain Shortridge, who was 68, was an old boy of Allhallows School.

The Western Times, Friday 21st January 1949
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