Kiwi fam­ily’s loss

Waihi Leader - - News - By DAWN SUT­TON

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.

PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Dawn Sut­ton re­mem­bers her un­cle pri­vate Arthur Stan­ley Sut­ton who died at Gal­lipoli.

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