Peter Frederick Shortland

Date of Birth1815ref:1059
First Known Service1.4.1842ref:1059
FatherThomas George Shortland (1771-1827)ref:1059
Last Known Service3.1.1881ref:1059
Date of Death18.10.1888 - Plymouth ref:1059

Event History

Date fromDate toEventSource
1.4.1842 Lieutenantref:1059
20.1.1848 Commanderref:1059
1.1.1859 Captainref:1059
21.9.1876 Rear-Admiralref:1059
3.1.1881 Vice-Admiralref:1059

Notes on Officer


SHORTLAND, PETER FREDERICK (1815–1888), vice-admiral, born in 1815, son of Captain Thomas George Shortland, entered the Royal Naval College at Portsmouth in January 1827, and, having passed through the course with distinction, served afloat till 1834, when, on 4 Dec., he passed his examination. In 1836–8 he was a mate of the Rattlesnake in Australian waters, and, on the settlement of Melbourne, made a survey of Port Phillip, which was approved by the governor of the colony. On returning to England in 1838 he obtained leave of absence, matriculated at Cambridge as a member of Pembroke College, and in 1842 graduated as seventh wrangler. He then applied to join the Excellent with the view of competing for the commission at that time offered as a prize to young officers passing through a course of gunnery and mathematics; but as the advent of a seventh wrangler seemed likely to kill all competition, the admiralty promoted him at once, on 1 April 1842. He was then appointed to the Columbia steamer for surveying duties on the coast of North America. As lieutenant, as commander (20 Jan. 1848), and as captain (1 Jan. 1859), he continued on the same station till 1865, making a complete survey of the coast of Nova Scotia, including the Bay of Fundy, on the completion of which he received the special thanks of the admiralty. He was then appointed to the Hydra for surveying service in the Mediterranean, but in 1867 was sent out to the East Indies to take a line of soundings from Aden to Bombay. The Hydra was paid off in 1868, and Shortland, at the request of the admiralty, wrote ‘A Sounding Voyage of H.M.S. Hydra’ (8vo, 1868), a work highly esteemed both in England and the United States. On attaining the age of fifty-five in 1870, he was placed on the retired list. He then qualified as a barrister and was called to the bar, from Lincoln's Inn, on 27 Jan. 1873. He became a rear-admiral on 21 Sept. 1876, and a vice-admiral on 3 Jan. 1881. He died at Plymouth on 18 Oct. 1888. He married in 1848 Emily, daughter of Captain Thomas Jones, 74th regiment, and left issue. He was the author of ‘A Short Account of the Laws which govern H. M. Navy’ (1886), and of ‘Nautical Surveying’ (8vo, 1890), published by his widow and children, much of the matter of which had already appeared in ‘Naval Science,’ 1873–4–5.


ref:1059Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900 Digital Book

Previous comments on this page

Posted by Toni on Sunday 8th of July 2018 12:35

Hello, I have come across your website websites searching for references to a Rear Admiral Shortland. I am trying to research my ancestor Richard Shortland. In obituaries I have found it states he was ‘a descendant of Lieutenant Shortland, who discovered the port of Newcastle in September, 1797, and a great grand nephew of Rear-Admiral Shortland, of the Imperial Navy.’
Have tried searching for past rear admirals in both the UK and Australian navy
but none were called Shortland. Can you help? If there is an email address I can forward the obituaries for information. Thank you for any help you can offer.

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