Lieutenant Oliver Jepson Sutton

Oliver Jepson Sutton was born in Stretford on July 29, 1882. His father Charles William Sutton was the head librarian of Manchester from 1879 to 1920. His mother, Sarah Hannah Winder Sutton, died when he was 7 years old and his father married Maria Pocklington just over 2 years later.

He had 3 brothers and one half brother.  Charles Evans Sutton, John Francis Sutton and Albert Bernard Sutton. His half-brother George William P Sutton was born in January 1893.

Oliver Jepson Sutton was educated at William Hulme’s Grammar School, Manchester.  By 1911 he was working as a librarian at John Rylands Library in Manchester and living with his father, step mother and half-brother (who was also a librarian) at 323 Great Clowes St, Higher Broughton.

He was commissioned into the 1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment on September 2, 1914 along with several others. He joined the Battalion while they were in camp at Bury and sailed with them to Egypt in September 1914 serving with them there throughout their training and preparation for action. On February 9, 1915 he was promoted to Lieutenant.  He landed with the 1/9th in Gallipoli on May 9, 1915.

On the evening of July 10, 1915 Lt. O.J. Sutton volounteered to make a reconnaissance of the new trenches being dug by the Turks. He went out under cover of darkness with Sergeant Harry Grantham and the following night went out again to verify their observations.  Sgt Grantham later described the event to the Ashton Reporter:

“Lieut Sutton and myself went out two nights in succession, July 10th and 11th. We each took a piece of rope with us, attached to our wrists and to the parapet of our trench. We pulled it along with us until we reached the Turkish trenches, and so were able to measure the distance between our trenches and theirs. The Turks saw us, but we ran about five or ten yards, and then lay flat on the ground among dead Turks. It was somewhat exciting, especially when they fired at us, but luckily we were missed.  Both General Prendergast and General Douglas congratulated us.”

The Battalion went into the trenches again on Aug 7th and two platoons under Lt. Sutton proceeded to reinforce the firing line on the right at 2:30pm. Shortly after arrival, Lt. Sutton was wounded in the shoulder by shrapnel and eventually had to go back to the Casualty Clearing Station.

On October 20, 1915 Lieutenant Sutton was appointed temporary Captain while the Battalion was in the trenches.

On January 28, 1916 Lieutenant Sutton, who was now serving with the battalion in Egypt, was mentioned in despatches of General Sir Ian Hamilton and awarded the Military Cross on February 1st for his reconnaissance work of July with Sgt Harry Grantham (who had been awarded the DCM).

By September 1916 he was temporary commander of C Company relinquishing command to Major T.E. Howarth in December upon his return to the Battalion.

He sailed with the Battalion to France in March 1917 and in June 1917 was promoted to Captain with precedence from November 9, 1916. On May 3, 1917 he was appointed temporary adjutant. He took 14 days leave to the UK from June 5 – 19.

On March 21, 1918 the 9th Manchesters were serving in the in the 198th Brigade of the 66th (2nd/East Lancashire) Division. The 9th Battalion were in the support line south of Péronne between Ferme Lamire and Eterpigny on the morning of the March 23, 1918 and on the morning of the 22nd, 2 Companies of the 9th Battalion were in front of Trinket redoubt. It’s probable that the Battalion retired through Roisel during the 22nd or the early hours of the 23rd.

Captain Oliver Jepson Sutton, M.C., was killed in action on March 23, 1918. His body was never found and he commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial, France. Captain Sutton was 35 years old.

Pozieres Memorial