Kiwi family’s loss
Private Arthur Stanley Sutton was just 22 in October 1914 when he embarked on the Star of India in Auckland bound for the war in Europe.
This was just a month after the birth of his first nephew, my father. Arthur was killed in action at Gallipoli on April 25, 1915 the date we now commemorate as Anzac Day. He never got the chance to take up the 54 acre Ford Road Waihi farm he had drawn in a ballot. By the time he died his father and several brothers had taken up their ballot farms on Ford and Old Tauranga Roads, Waihi. At the time Arthur enlisted he was working on his father’s farm at Manawaru Te Aroha, hence his name is recorded on the Te Aroha memorial.
Arthur’s parents, Charles and Sarah Jane Sutton, were not alone in losing a son during World War I. There were few families in New Zealand who did not endure the trauma of such a loss. It is estimated that half this country’s military-aged men served during the war with 2779 kiwis dying during the Gallipoli campaign alone.
Arthur’s farm passed first to his father and then to his brother Russell, my grandfather. These experienced Sutton farmers with the support and assistance of strong women, transformed the Waihi Plains from ‘hungry’ ma¯nuka and bracken scrubland to the rich and productive dairy and horticultural land of today.
We can only speculate whether Uncle Arthur regretted his decision to leave Waihi and seek adventure in Europe and Turkey. But the swiftness of his death, the first day of the Gallipoli campaign, brought home the trauma of a distant war to his family. By sundown on April 25, 1915 more than 2000 Kiwis and Aussies lay dead in the dusty scrubby patch of land known as Anzac Cove. Uncle Arthur lies alongside his fellow soldiers in this distant and foreign place, a far cry from the rain-soaked Waihi plains.
Dawn Sutton remembers her uncle private Arthur Stanley Sutton who died at Gallipoli.