Soldier, Sportsman, Orchardist.
Dudley Colin Suttor, was born at Koorawatha, near Cowra, in 1892, whilst his parents, Walter and Louisa (Nee Monro), were living at the property “Warrangong”.
Walter Suttor held “Warrangong”, in partnership with his brother, William “Willie” Henry Suttor. “Warrangong” was believed to be around 21,000 acres of which 6,700 acres was cultivated for wheat and maize. The property adjoined Andrew Kinleside’s “Uppingham” (a grandfather of Lew Blackmore) and local MLA, George Greene’s “Iandra” (famous for its Castle). It is believed that Walter Suttor also had one of the first share farming agreements in Australia for part of “Iandra”
Walter Suttor built “Warrangunyah” homestead (pictured below) near Ilford, in 1912, when he was 56 years old. It was built on a 540 acre grant that he had inherited from his father, William Henry Suttor of “Brucedale”, Bathurst in 1877. To some extent the homestead represented a ‘jewel in the crown’ of what was, at the time a substantial 10,000 acre grazing property. Testament to its construction quality is the fact that the homestead is still in use today.
Walter’s father George (wife Sarah) had come over the Blue Mountains and settled at “Brucedale” to the north of Bathurst. He called the property “Brucedale” after his grandmother, Miss Bruce. With George, at the time, was his third son William Henry, only 16 at the time, and within a couple of years he was running “Brucedale”. William Suttor, or “Dear William” as his future wife, Charlotte Francis, was to call him, became a legendary figure around Bathurst, also known as “The Cove”. “Brucedale is still in the Suttor family today.
Walter Sydney Suttor was the eleventh child of William and Charlotte Suttor and was born at “Brucedale”.
Walter and Louisa had 9 children, 5 boys (2 of those died young) and 4 girls. Dud Suttor was their seventh child and their other children were:-
Stella Louise 1881- 1967 married Francis Edmund Wickham in 1901
Reta Maria 1882 – 1968 married Edward Keith Wilson in 1906
James Frederick 1884 – 1947 married Mary Elwin Suttor in 1938
Clare Suttor 1886 – 1958 married Henry Annesley Voysey in 1908
Ena 1888 – 1969 married William Cargill Moodie in 1908
Walter Sydney 1890 – 1900 accidental death at 10 years
Dudley Colin 1892 – 1962 married Elizabeth B Palmer in 1921
Lindon Edgar 1895 – 1984 married Phyllis Maud Arnott in 1919
Philip Aldous 1897 – 1898 infant died, just over 1 year old
When Dud was 8 years old his elder brother Walter was thrown from a horse and killed, aged 10. Soon after this the family moved to Mosman in Sydney for around 8 years and then to “Warrangunyah” at Ilford. When the family arrived at “Warrangunyah”, in 1909 they found that the new house was not ready for them so they lived in tents, described as a tent city, complete with furniture for the house inside, until the house was completed in 1910.
Dud was a great sportsman and represented Shore at both Rugby and Cricket in 1909 and was in the school cadets for 2 years.
Bathurst changes Football Code as Australia fails to pick Suttor
Dud Suttor represented NSW at Rugby Union in 1912 and just missed selection in the Australian team which toured America that year with Billy Hill as manager. He seemed most unlucky to be passed over.
Bathurst was so upset over his omission that the city immediately swung over to the professional League game.
The late Jack Corless, well known Rugby Union writer in his day, made the following comment after a match in 1912:-
“Suttor, the left wing three quarter back was the crackerjack player of the side. He scored three brilliant tries and would have scored three dozen had J Flynn never been born. Suttor as a winger is the ideal, a man who shoots off the mark like lead out of a Winchester, fast as a Zebra, and generally, a reckless, daring smashing player. His style is immensely like Llewellyn, the dashing Welshman who came here with Dedell- Sivright’s 1904 Anglo Welsh team, and he is only a lightweight and stocky”
Suttor toured New Zealand as a wing three quarter with the 1913 Waratahs/Wallabies and won his international cap. He was the leading try getter on the tour with seven tries.
War Service AIF
Dud enlisted in the Australian Imperial Expeditionary Forces on 16th June 1915, at the age of 23, and three months. He was posted to the 15th Army Service Corps 4th Reinforcements. On 30th September embarked from Sydney on board HMAT A8 Argyllshire. (Note: Some 328,583 Australian men and 2,131 women enlisted during WW1)
On the 18th December 1915 he was absorbed into the 15th A.A.S.C 2nd Division Training from the 4th Reinforcements. His initial rank was “Driver”, being promoted to Lance Corporal on the 1st September 1916.
He saw service in Egypt, France and Belgium as well as in England.
The following telegram was received by his father, Walter, in October 1916. Not good news but also not the worst a father might expect.
Perusal of service records would indicate that it may not have been a heart ailment at all but rather a bout of herpes. (There being no mention on the Casualty Form that correlates with the Gratuity Schedule entry and the above telegram)
On the 16th August 1917 he was also admitted to hospital with German Measles.
Horse Drawn Ambulance Collision by Motor Car
The village of Fovant in South West Wiltshire, England, along with nearby villages, became the site for very large military camps. Built at the foot of the Downs, an endless array of huts housed large numbers of soldiers. These men, though mainly in transit, still found time to carve their regimental badges on the Downs. The effect of their presence on the village was immense and lasting. The camps contained soldiers from many parts of Britain and Australia who were destined to serve on the Western Front in France and Belgium. Suttor was one of those soldiers. After the war, the camps were used as a demobilisation centre.
In October 1917 a board of enquiry was held into a collision between a motor vehicle and a horse drawn ambulance at Salisbury. Suttor was the first witness:-
“On Tuesday 23rd of October, I was in charge of a Horse Ambulance, which left Barkhouse Camp at 2-10 pm and was being driven by driver Estill. He was riding postilion, and I was riding a hack in front of the ambulance. We left Salisbury at about 6 pm. About one mile out from Salisbury on the road to Fovant, the rear of the ambulance was struck by a Motor Car.
The impact was so great that that the ambulance horses were thrown against the horse I was riding some yards in front, knocking all three horses down.
I was on the proper side of the road, having been previously advised by the Civil Police at Salisbury to be cautious, as there were no lights on the vehicle.
I was picked up by an Australian soldier (whose name was taken by the Civil Police) and who is stationed at Hurdcott. I was unable to walk, owing to severe injury to my left ankle. After about an hour, I was assisted on to my horse and made my way top the A. A. S. C. Camp at Fovant. I immediately reported the accident to Capt. Barratt, O/C A.A.S.C. Detachment at Fovant, who sent me to the Fovant Hospital. We were perfectly sober at the time of the accident, not having had any intoxicating liquor all day. (Sgd ) L./Cpl. D.C. Suttor”
The driver of the motor car was Miss Doris Ewen and the police report stated that she:-
“..was taking a Theatrical party to Fovant Camp. She was driving in the centre of the road with only her side lights burning, it being a moonlit evening, but in the shadow of the trees, she did not see the Ambulance, until she was close to it, as there were no rear or front lights on it, and she could not stop the car in time to prevent a collision. The car struck the off side of the ambulance, doing very little damage to it, but the car was badly damaged, but no personal injuries to anyone in the car. The width of the road, where the collision occurred is 23 feet. There is no doubt that had the ambulance carried proper lights, the collision would not have happened. Lighting up time for vehicles was 5.25pm.”
Now, the findings of the board of enquiry:-
“After receiving the evidence, the Board is perfectly satisfied, that had there been lights on the vehicle, the accident would not have occurred, and consider both L/Cpl. Suttor and Dvr. Estill, guilty of negligence by failing to light their lamp, even after being cautioned by the Civil Police.”
AIF Rugby Team
Following the signing of the Armistice in Compeigne France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front, which took effect at 11am on the 11th of November 1918, the Australian Military had a problem in keeping a couple of hundred thousand home hungry men occupied and contented with no way to get them home quickly as they had been brought over in small portions over an extended period of time. Some were able to get work in the “old country” until their return. Another solution was for the AIF to organise unlimited sport of which Rugby was just one.
(Note: While Armistice Day was the official date to mark the end of the war, it reflects the cease fire on the Western Front, hostilities continued in other regions, especially across the former Russian Empire and in parts of the old Ottoman Empire)
Dud became a star winger with the AIF Services team which did so much to rehabilitate Rugby Union after the World War One.
The AIF team had a grand pack of forwards headed by the late Billy Watson and Suttor was a star winger among an average set of backs.
Dud was promoted to Corporal on11th January 1919 and then to L Sergeant on the 16th January 1919.
An AIF team went to the French Capital and played a match against the French Army Team on 19th January 1919 with Corporal D. C. Suttor as three quarter. There had not been time to conduct test matches to select a team, so each Division was asked to submit names of its 8 best men. These were sent to a School of Physical and Recreational Training, which had been established near the village of Barbencon, in Belgium, on 1st January, 1919. Suttor entered the R. R. School on 4th January 1919. After a fortnight’s training the team was selected and sent to Paris. The final score was 6 to 3 in favour of the AIF.
On 28th January 1919 (could have been 22nd March 1919) the AIF team embarked from France to England on the Orontes for a football tour of England. The team was supplemented by additional players on arrival in England. They played various teams and the AIF Headquarters Team (defeating them 12 to 6). It was from these two teams that the Australian Fifteen for the International Service Rugby Competition was
selected. An Australian Reserve Team was also formed and both teams, while in London, trained at Chiswick Park.
The Inter Services and Dominion Forces Rugby Competition commenced on the 1st of March with teams from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, the Imperial Army (knows as the Mother Country) and the Royal Air Force. The prize was a cup
presented by His Majesty the King. Unfortunately Australia did not fare as well as hoped and although they were the only team to defeat the New Zealanders, New Zealand went on to win the competition followed by Mother County, South Africa, RAF, then Australia, and finally Canada.
There had been some early adverse press criticism on the rough methods employed by the Australian team, however as the competition progressed these proved to be unfounded and they were congratulated on their fairness and the spirit in which they played the game.
The team went on to tour Devon and Wales and played matches around London.
The teams left Devonport, England for Australia on 15th May 1919 on the Orontes disembarking at Sydney on 1st July 1919. The intention at the time was that they should play matches at Sydney and Brisbane before being disbanded.
They went on to play a series of matches against NSW, and other teams, and were undefeated. It was generally conceded that the AIF team had the finest pack of forwards ever seen on the Sydney ground.
The following comment was made in the press after a match, (that may have been played in Queensland):-
“The final between the Diggers and Our Boys resulted in a ding dong struggle during the first half, but in the second spell the fighting boys with a brisk breeze behind them, charged the line repeatedly, and had all the best of the game. Suttor electrified the shivering barrackers with his dashing sprints goalwards, and Carmichael and Lester were also well in the picture. George Rope was perhaps the best of Our Boys backs, while the forwards ere a good even lot”.
On 29th August 1930, a reunion of the AIF Rugby team was held in the Aarons Exchange Hotel, with the following menu and on the reverse, autographs of all the team members present.
AIF Football Photos in Australian War Memorial
Dudley Suttor (Regimental No 7291) attained the rank of F/C Sergeant and was discharged from the 15th A.A.S.C of the AIF on 23rd August 1919, after 4 years and 70 days of service including 3 years and 276 days service abroad. Entitled to and issued 4 blue chevrons and Returned Soldiers’ Badge 101557. War service medals issued were: 1914-15 Star; British War Medal and Victory Medal.
“I remember the day when Uncle Dud returned from the war looking very handsome in uniform. We were all waiting on the “Warrangunyah” verandah when the family car arrived, probably from Clandulla, but perhaps all the way from Sydney. There was a great rejoicing and and welcoming and before long Uncle Dud was playing hide and seek with the numerous children.” (Memories of Louis Baeyertz (nee Wilson) grand daughter of Walter Sydney Suttor via his daughter Reta Maria)
There was a welcome home dance held at “Warrangunyah” woolshed for Dud and his brother Jim and because there was so many children a “juvenile” dance was held for about an hour before the dance proper, and then the children were put to bed, more than often on a mattress in the back of a buggy.
After the War
Dudley Colin Suttor (1892 – 1962) married Elizabeth “Betty” Palmer (1895 – 1986) in 1921 at All Saints Cathedral, Bathurst. Betty was the only daughter of John Edward “Jack” and Louisa E (nee Lomas) Palmer of “Warraweena”, Bathurst. Jack Palmer was a well known Stock & Station Agent. The ceremony took place at All Saints Cathedral, Bathurst.
Dud and Betty lived most of their married life at “Myola”, Tabrabucca near Ilford, a small grazing property that had been a portion of “Warrangunyah”, where he also conducted an apple and pear orchard. He was also keen district sportsman playing cricket, tennis and football.
Dud’s younger brother Linden Edgar (1896 – 1974) and wife Phyllis Maud (nee Arnott 1896 – 1981) lived nearby at “Tara”, Ilford, a grazing property that they had moved to in 1928 from the Harris family when “Warrangunyah” was sold. They had two daughters, Phyllis Enid and Anne Yvonne and one son Walter Arnott. “Tara” is still held by the family.
One of Wal’s grandsons, Rory Suttor, played for the 1st 15 Rugby team at Dud’s old school, Shore for 3 years and was picked in the Australian school boys to tour NZ in 2016. Rory went on to play in Italy in 2022. While at Shore he made a lectern in his wood working class and dedicated it to the memory of his great great Uncle Dudley .
On the 10th March 1938, the second annual Rylstone Kandos Show pavilion exhibits included a most attractive display of apples by D. Suttor of Ilford. (John “Jack” Coleridge Blackmore was the first Show President)
On the 16th of December, 1939, Dud Suttor seconded a proposal to form a bush fire brigade at Ilford. One very big fire swept through the district in 1944. It started near Dud Suttor’s house. It was presumed that a truck travelling along the road threw a spark out from its “gas producer” unit (due to petrol rationing), and the fire quickly spread. The army was also called in to fight it and it was eventually contained some
miles to the east near Clandulla. (A “gas producer” is a sealed fire that effects the incomplete burning of wood – charcoal, to produce a gas that can be used to power a vehicle. Efficiency of around 2,000 miles to the ton of wood)
During the World War II years a local Ilford-Running Stream Volunteer Defence Corps was formed in 1942. Dud Suttor was in charge of the company and the writer believes that he may have held the rank of Captain. Measurements were taken, and uniforms sent up from Army Headquarters and everyone looked very smart in the uniforms, worn with the military hat. The training time was Sunday mornings at Ilford
Recreation Ground from 9 am to 12 Noon. Some weekend camps were held at Bathurst. The company was disbanded in September, 1945. Dud’s brother Lin was also a member of the Corps.
Eventually Dud and Betty retired to 29 Edward Street, Narraweena (Dee Why), sometime around 1952, where Dud started a lawn mowing business and developed a large vegetable garden in his back yard.
Their grandson, Greg Blackmore, remembers – “Around 1954, my parents went overseas, to the USA, in the new Super Constellation aircraft and my brother Bret and I were sent to stay with our Grandparents, Narnie and Duddo Suttor, at Dee Why where I attended Narraweena Public School for a month or so.” (Narnie was our name for Betty)
Greg started boarding school at Kings, Parramatta in 1956, aged 10, and on weekends he used to take leave to visit Duddo and Narnie. He used to take the electric train called a ‘red rattler’ from Parramatta to Central Station and then a green, double decker Leyland bus to the Bonds Factory at Dee Why, where Dud would pick him up in his Austin car. After around a 4 hours visit Greg would then make the return journey. Some days Dud would take him to the beach and the Dee Why Baths for a swim.
In 1962, Greg was a Coxen for the Kings First IV at the head of the river regatta on the Nepean River. They won the race for the Yaralla Cup on that day and on the following day Dud entered into a couple of RSL races at the Dee Why bathes.
Ever the sportsman, and excellent swimmer and body surfer, Dudley Colin Suttor won the first 25 yard race then entered the 55 yard race, however his heart gave out whilst swimming and he passed away in 1962 aged 70 years. His wife Betty later lived in a unit at nearby Queenscliff and died at Toronto, where her daughter, Louie lived, in 1986 aged 92.
Judith and Horace Norton “Dear William – The Suttors of Brucedale” 1994, 929.20994 Margaret Piddington “Over Cherry Tree Hill” 1989, ISBN 0 7316 6398 5
Lieutenant G.H. Goddard for the AIF Sports Control Board “Soldiers and Sportsmen” 1919. “In the Field and On the Field” – A Highlight History of the Australian Army Rugby Union – Published around 2012. Press clippings of the time in possession of the Blackmore family. A challenge of studying the Suttor family is that there are now so many branches of the family. Even back in 1914 eleven of William Henry’s children were still alive with a total of 138 direct descendants.