Sutherland James Dudley
Private, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry
Age 16, Class Tech. A: 'Much improved in every way - has worked excellently.'
Sutherland James Dudley was 20 years old when he decided to enlist in the British Expeditionary Force in March 1915. He attended Alleyn’s until 1911 and after leaving school found work as a clerk. Before the war, he lived with his parents and his brother, Albert, at 87 Henslowe Road, East Dulwich. Sutherland had a rather tall height of 6ft and a chest measurement of 37 ½ inches which saw him breeze past the strict enlistment standards set by the Army at the time. After being attested, he joined 2nd Battalion Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry as a Private and was posted to the Western Front in June 1915. Sutherland served in France for three months until he received a gunshot wound to his thumb and right leg in September. He returned to the Western Front in January 1916 after successfully recovering from his injuries and he continued to serve with 2nd Battalion throughout 1916 and 1917. During this time, he saw action during a number of major Allied operations including the Battle of the Somme in 1916 and the Arras and Cambrai Offensives in 1917. In August 1918, he was wounded again in battle was discharged as medically unfit for service. He returned home to England and moved to 93 Kilmore Road. For the wounds he received in the war he awarded the Silver War Badge, a small pin that was intended to be worn on civilian clothes. Sutherland was unfortunate enough to lose the badge when out for a walk one day in his new neighbourhood in Forest Hill.