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SUTHERLAND, Hugh Henry Malcolm (1925-2017)

SUTHERLAND, Hugh Henry Malcolm (1925-2017)

Grazier, Hugh Sutherland was born at Hamilton on 1 April 1925, the son of Hugh Douglas Sutherland and Marian nee Murphy, of 'Kenilworth', Cavendish. He was educated as a boarder at Geelong College from 15 February 1942 to August 1944. At College, he was in the 1st Football XVIII, the 1st Rowing VIII, and was a School Prefect in 1942. His address at the time of his enrolment was Heywood Rd, Portland and he had previously attended Hamilton College.

During World War II, he initially tried to enlist in the 2nd AIF, but his application was denied due to his involvement in ‘essential services', i.e. food production. He eventually enlisted (No. PM7858) in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) on 6 December 1944. His posting was to ‘HMAS Australia’, which had just returned to Australia after the Kamikaze attacks of October 1944, and was under the command of Commander J M Armstrong who had taken over after the death of Commander Dechaineaux.

‘HMAS Australia’ had been temporarily refitted in Sydney where Hugh joined the ship. It then sailed through the Pacific and Panama Canal to New York, thence to Plymouth, England for a total refit. The crew were housed in Raglan Barracks, Plymouth for six months while this was carried out, and it was here that Hugh was promoted Able Seaman, and had leave to London and elsewhere. ‘HMAS Australia’ then returned to Australia, via Sierre Leone, Durban, round the Cape of Good Hope, to Fremantle, Melbourne, eventually arriving home in Sydney in June 1946.

While sailing through the Bay of Biscay, ‘HMAS Australia’ hit a huge storm. Hugh was on midnight watch, and remembered 44-gallon barrells of paint spilling on the foredeck from the paint locker. The subsequent clean-up of grey paint was the hardest and dirtiest work he undertook in his naval career.

Hugh was discharged from the RAN on 15 June 1946 on compassionate grounds.

Hugh died at Hamilton Hospital on 19 February 2017.

His father, Hugh Douglas Sutherland (1887-1977), and sons, Hugh, John and Andrew were also educated at Geelong College.

Sources: ‘Geelong Collegians at the Second World War’ compiled by James Affleck p502 (citing The Pegasus; Australian War Memorial; National Archives; Sutherland Family Recollections.); L McBean. OGC 1938
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