Dr Thomas Alexander Britten Harris

Personal Details

Dr Thomas Alexander Britten Harris MD FFARCS DA

28/08/1897 to 27/12/1956

Place of birth: Rutherglen, Victoria

Nationality: British

CRN: 715365

Also known as: Tommy

Education and qualifications

General education

Melbourne Grammar School; Melbourne University; was cox of the first VIII at both of these

Primary medical qualification(s)

MBChB, Melbourne, 1922

Initial Fellowship and type

FFARCS by Election

Year of Fellowship


Other qualification(s)

DA(RCP&S), 1936; MD, Melbourne, 1953 (Thesis: The mode of action of anaesthetics)


Professional life and career

Postgraduate career

Records are sketchy, but early appointments included house surgeon at Melbourne Hospital and house surgeon & house physician at Ipswich (Queensland) Hospital before he joined his father’s general practice in Rutherglen. The first record of him in London is 1931, and he served as resident anaesthetist at the West London Hospital before becoming, by 1933, an assistant there as well as at Princess Louisa & Royal Dental Hospitals, and anaesthetist at the London Jewish Hospital, adding St Peter’s Hospital for Stone to his list of assistantships in 1934. In 1935, in open competition with graduates of the hospital, this “almost unknown Australian” was appointed to the staff of Guy’s Hospital, also become honorary anaesthetist to St Peter’s and the Jewish Hospitals. From 1939 to 1945 he served in the RAMC, rising to Lieutenant Colonel and Advisor to Eastern Command in India, including tours in the forward areas along with his administrative work. Returning to his pre-war posts he continued to work very hard, in spite of a heart attack in 1957, and died suddenly two years later.

Professional interests and activities

He pubished on a range of topics during his early years in anaesthesia, but developed an increasing interest in the basic science aspects of anaesthesia, regularly visiting science departments, undertaking original research and writing a well received book, The Mode of Action of Anaesthetics in 1951.

Other biographical information

Noted for his friendship he was married to Vera Olive, and they had four sons.

Author and Sources

Author: Prof Tony Wildsmith

Sources and any other comments: Obituary. Anaesthesia 1957; 12: 240-1 | Medical Directory | Ancestry.co.uk | Particular thanks to archivists at Melbourne Grammar School, University of Melbourne and the Australian & New Zealand College of Anaesthetists for their assistance.