William SUTTIE (1896-19..)

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35th BATTALION A.I.F.

Private: 207 William SUTTIE.


Born: January 1896. Edinborough, Scotland.

Married: 1922. Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Marriage Cert:4494/1922.

Wife: Iris O Suttie. nee: McElroy.

Died:


Father: William Suttie.

Mother: Catherine Suttie. nee:


INFORMATION

William Suttie enlisted with A Company, 35th Battalion AIF on the 13th of December 1915 and was an original member of the Battalion and left Sydney on board HMAT A24 "Benalla" on the 1st of May 1916 and diembarked at Plymouth, England on the 9th of July and was marched to the 9th Infantry Training Battalion at the Durrington Army Camp, Larks Hill. William was admitted to the Fargo Military Hospital on the 10th of September suffering from "Brochitis" and after being discharged from Hospital he was Charged with being Absent Without Leave from the 22nd of September until the 27th of September and was ordered to forfeit 14 Day Pay by Major HUNT.

William proceeded overseas for France via Southampton on the 21st of November 1916 and was Taken on in Strength in the Field with the 35th Battalion but a month later he was treated by the 9th Australian Field Ambulance when he was suffering from a Poisoned Foot and after a 4 day rest he rejoined his unit on the 26th of December. William remained in France for the next 6 months without being injured until the 7th of June 1917 during the push at MESSINES where he was Wounded in Action receiving a Gun-Shot Wound to his Right Leg and was treated by the 9th Australian Field Ambulance.

THE BATTLE OF MESSINES

7th June 1917

The 3rd Australian Divisions first major offencive was at Messines Ridge on the 7th June 1917. The Australian 3rd Division was a part of the II Anzac Corps which was allotted to the first assault. The 25th New Zealand, 3rd Australian Division with the 4th Australian Division in reserve. The 4th Division were battle hardened troops who had fought many major battles.The 3rd Australian Division were having problems getting to the "jump off" point. The day before the 9th and 10th Infantry Brigades were bombarded by German Gas-Shells around Hill 63 and Plugstreet Wood. Many of the Aussies were not wearing gas masks, but dispite this they pressed on even though they received 500 casulties.

They made it to the "jump off" point but only just with some of the men from the 9th and 10th going straight over the top without stopping. The mines went up and the attack commenced behind a protective barrage. The II Anzac Corps were attacking on the right with their objective being the southern shoulder of the ridge which included Messines, the Dover and St Yves areas as far south to the east of Plugstreet Wood.

Major General Sir John MONASH's 3rd Division had to contend with a tricky 3 mile approach out of Plugstreet Wood and after the German gas attack, but they were not detered. The 9th Infantry Brigade under Brigadier General A JOBSON and the 10th Infantry Brigade under Brigadier General W R NICHOLL had just made the jumping off point but some of the men did not stop, going straight into the assault from the approach march.

Their objective lay between St Yves and the Douve. The mines at Trench 127 and Trench 12 at Factory Farm were laid to aid this task. The explosions erupted a few seconds before zero hour and created craters of 200 feet in diameter, completely obliterating the German defence line as the 9th and 10th Infantry Brigades went over the top. The mine crates forced the 9th and 10th Brigades to veer to the left and right which caused some confusion with the main assault. It is testimony to the quality of training that every man knew the ground, tasks and objectives so well.

Private: 1804 John Carroll 33rd Battalion, rushed the enemy's trench and bayoneted four of the German occupants. He then noticed a comrade in difficulties and went to his assistance, killing another German. He then attacked single handed a German Machine Gun Team, killing all three of them and capturing the gun. He later rescued two of his comraded who had been buried alive by German Shell Fire, and in spite of heavy shelling and machine gun fire he dug them out alive and saved them from certain death. John was awarded the Victoria Cross.

The German foward zone was completely engulfed and taken by the main assault. The two supporting battalions of each brigade then passed the leading battalion to continue the advance. The men were constantly re-supplied and the ridge was taken. There were many German prisoners taken during the offencive. The 3rd Division was well ahead with the 9th Infantry Brigade pushing on beyond Grey Farm, and on the right the 10th Infantry Brigade were veering left towards Septieme Barn north of Douve.

The German resistance was heavy but was generally brushed aside by tanks and artillery before the infantry had to become too involved.The 4th Bavarian Divisions Artillery had mede little impact, but as the day wore on the 3rd Division and later the 4th Australian Division received many casulties from German artillery. (70% of all casulties during WW1 were from artillery).

By 9:00am nearly 6 hours after the assault began the Germans were in dissaray, but there was a major problem as the Australians received less casulties as anticipated and when ordered to dig into the ridge they had so many men, that some could not find shelter. the 35th battalion were bug in around Seaforth Farm.

The second phase of the operation was to take the Oosttaverne Line. The 3rd Australian Division would now be in reserve with the 4th Division attacking. The 9th Infantry Brigade (33-34-35-36Bn) were near Thatched Cottage facing Warneton. The river Lys was to their right and the Plugstreet Wood was now behind them.

Once their objectives were taken the troops consolidated. A barrarge to stop and counter attack was shortnened and caught three battalions which had to retire. By 9:00pm this part of the Oosttaverne Line was abandonded. At 10:45pm General Godley ordered the 3rd and 4th Divisions to retake it. This they did by the early hours of the 8th of June.

The Battle for Messines Ridge during May-June 1917 saw 35 officers and 1,631 other ranks looses their lives.

9th Infanry Brigade Casulties.
33rd Battalion. AIF 8 Officers 382 Other ranks
34th Battalion. AIF 10 Officers 378 Other ranks
35th Battalion. AIF 5 Officers 431 Other ranks
36th Battalion. AIF 9 Officers 421 Other ranks
9th Machine Gun Company. AIF 2 Officer 17 Other ranks
9th Light Trench Mortor Battery. 1 Officer 2 Other ranks

William was evacuated to the 26th General Hospital at ESTAPLES after being stabilized at the 2nd Australian Casualty Clearing Station. He remained in hospital until the 14th of June when he was sent to the No: 5 Command Depot and was later marched in from hospital at ROUELLES on the 30th of June and rejoined the 35th Battalion on the 7th of July. William remained in France/Flanders for the rest of the year and was granted a furlo to England from the 18th until the 29th of January 1918.

Remaining in England for most of the year William attended the 9th Brigade Signal School on the 17th of October 1918 and proceeded overseas again for France on the 27th of October. William was in France for the Armistance and returned to England on the for leave on the 6th of January 1919 and returned to France on the 25th and after 2 months in France he was demobilized back to England and left on board HMAT A20 "Borda" on the 11th of May for Australia, and disembarked on the 28th of June and was discharged from the AIF on the 12th of August 1919.

GRETA WAR MEMORIAL

Family Information

William was a single 19 year old Grocer from Greta, N.S.W. upon enlistment.

William's British War Medal:42529, Victory Medal:41637 to PTE 207 W SUTTIE 35 BN AIF with his Returned from Active Service Badge, Wound Bar and Ribbon Bar were offered to me by I S Wrights of Sydney in June 2008 but I was unable to acquire.

Military Records

Commonwealth of Australia (National Archives of Australia)

Under Construction; 12/06/2008-05/05/2015.


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