108190 David George Carr SUTHERLAND, MC & Bar, Black Watch & SBS

Discussion in 'Special Forces' started by Owen, Jun 8, 2006.

  1. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD


    Colonel David Sutherland
    (Filed: 08/06/2006)

    Colonel David Sutherland, who has died aged 85, was part of a 12-man Special Boat Service unit which made a daring raid on the occupied Greek island of Rhodes.
    At midnight on September 4 1942 the unit was landed by the Greek submarine Papanikolis; they had no radio, and were instructed to live off the land for the next fortnight. With three Royal Marines and two Greeks, Sutherland successfully blew up three Italian aircraft and a fuel dump, as well as starting a dozen fires.
    But the enemy then pursued them closely over the barren mountains, and mined the beaches after discovering the SBS's boats hidden in a grotto.
    Most of the raiding party were killed; Sutherland and Marine John Duggan had to hide in a cleft of rock without food or water for a day while suffering agonising cramp as one of their pursuers sat smoking only a few feet away.
    Finally reaching the shore, Sutherland contacted the submarine Traveller. Although it was five days since they had eaten (a tin of sardines each), the two men swam out to sea to the discouraging sound of engines dying away, unaware that this came from the Italian patrol boat which was hunting them. As they climbed aboard the submarine, it was forced to crash-dive, and they had to be revived with mugs of pusser's rum as the patrol boat dropped depth charges.
    Sutherland was awarded the Military Cross and Duggan the Military Medal. In 1953 Lewis Milestone directed They Who Dare, in which Dirk Bogarde played Sutherland; and in 1999 Sutherland wrote his own account, He Who Dares.
    David Sutherland was born on October 28 1920, the son of a Black Watch officer who had lost a leg after winning the MC in 1915. David's parents divorced when he was seven, and he was educated at Eton and Sandhurst, then sent with a detachment of the 6th Black Watch to France in September 1939.
    After being cut off in Belgium by the blitzkrieg, he made a forced march to the coast, during which his second-in-command was shot by a sniper while standing next to him.
    He had dinner on the beach at La Panne from an officers' mess hamper, then threw away his rifle before wading out to a naval cutter; this rowed him to a gunboat, where he said a prayer then fell asleep.
    Later that month Sutherland joined 3 Commando, whose first planned operation was an attack on the heavily fortified island of Pantellaria; but the operation was called off after a rehearsal went awry because Sutherland overslept and failed to wake other officers.
    As a member of 8 Commando, he was sent to the besieged Tobruk, where his first action was a midnight raid into no-man's-land to capture Italian prisoners.
    Temporarily attached to the Special Air Service, he was supposed to join the failed attempt to capture Rommel, but the submarine which should have landed him ran aground, and his inflatable dingy was blown out to sea.
    Rejoining 1 Special Boat Section at Kabrit, Sutherland took part in a raid with the Long Range Desert Group, but was blown up while driving a captured German staff car.
    He woke up in an Alexandria hospital to be confronted by the vision of Thessy Whitfield, one of three beauties known as "The Graces", at whose beach house he convalesced.
    When the boat squadron was reformed after the Rhodes operation, Sutherland was one of two surviving officers who had been in 1 SBS. He took part in Operation Albumen on Crete, when 29 German aircraft were destroyed for the loss of one officer, and afterwards escaped with several Cretans who feared German reprisals.
    He also took two German prisoners, whom he entertained to tea at Groppi's restaurant in Cairo before turning them over for interrogation. Sutherland was awarded a Bar to his MC.
    After the Italian armistice, the SBS had several successes in the Aegean until the Germans counter-attacked in force. During a lull in the action Sutherland accepted a passage to Bodrum, in Turkey; his boat struck the harbour wall and sank, and he was briefly locked in the castle dungeon.
    In April 1944 Sutherland sent out a patrol to destroy the radar station on the island of Scarpanto, in the southern Aegean.
    Years later he discovered that all but one of its members had been killed after an order had been signed by Kurt Waldheim, the future Austrian president; in 1991 Sutherland attended a service in Athens to commemorate the nine men killed.
    As the Allies advanced northwards in Italy Sutherland operated in the Adriatic, liaising with Fitzroy Maclean and Tito, and visiting southern Albania, where the partisans were most interested in jockeying for place after the war.
    Promoted lieutenant-colonel at 24, Sutherland took command of the SBS from his friend Lord Jellicoe, and was mentioned in dispatches for leading the commandos' advance across Lake Commachio in the spring of 1945.
    When the Danish SBS officer Major Anders Lassen was killed, he made determined efforts to ensure that he received a posthumous Victoria Cross.
    After the war Sutherland liaised with government raiding forces during the Greek civil war, and was awarded the Greek War Cross. From 1952 to 1955 he was an instructor at Sandhurst, where one of his pupils was King Hussein of Jordan.
    On leaving the Army the following year he joined MI5, working in counter-sabotage. There followed appointments to advise on the security of the Kariba dam and oil installations in the Gulf before he was made head of station in Pakistan.
    He also commanded 21 SAS (TA) from 1956 to 1958 and was deputy commander of the SAS from 1967 to 1972.
    Among the operations he planned were a raid on Egypt from Libya during the Suez War, and intelligence-gathering during the Hungarian uprising. He advised the Home Office and the Metropolitan Police during the Iranian embassy siege in London.
    David Sutherland, who died on March 14, married Jean Henderson in 1946. After her death he married, in 1964, the Polish-born historian Christine Hotchkiss, who survives him with a son and two daughters of his first marriage.
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  2. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

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  3. spidge


    Lest we forget!
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  4. Kiwiwriter

    Kiwiwriter Very Senior Member

    RIP, Colonel.

    And thank you.

    Gotta get the book!:ukflag[1]:
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  5. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Personal Number: 108190
    Rank: Lieutenant
    Name: David George Carr SUTHERLAND, MC*, MiD
    Unit: Black Watch & SBS

    London Gazette : 22 April 1941
    The undermentioned 2nd Lts. to be Lts.: —
    22nd Apr. 1941:—
    Black Watch.
    D. G. C. Sutherland (108190).

    London Gazette : 26 November 1942
    The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the following awards in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in the field: —
    The Military Cross.
    Lieutenant David George Carr Sutherland (108190), The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment).

    London Gazette : 14 September 1943
    The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the following awards in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in the Middle East: —
    Bar to the Military Cross.
    Lieutenant (temporary Captain) David George Carr Sutherland, M.C. (108190), The Black (Royal Highland Regiment) (Peebles)

    London Gazette : 4 January 1945
    The KING has been graciously pleased to approve that the following be Mentioned in recognition of gallant and distinguished services against the enemy in the field:—
    Black Watch.
    Capt. (temp. Maj.) D. G. C. Sutherland, M.C. (108190).

    London Gazette : 2 July 1946
    The undermentioned Capts to be Majs , 1st July, 1946 —
    Black Watch
    (War Subs. Maj ) D G C SUTHERLAND, MC (108190)

    London Gazette : 21 October 1952
    Capt. (War Subs. Maj.) D. G. C. SUTHERLAND (108190) to be Maj., 22nd Oct. 1952.

    London Gazette : 25 May 1956
    Maj. (Hon. Lt.-Col.) David George Carr SUTHERLAND, M.C. (108190) (Res. of Offrs., B.W.) to be Maj., 10th May 1956, with seniority 28th Oct. 1954, and is granted the actg. rank of Lt.- Col., 10th May 1956.

    London Gazette : 7 November 1958
    Maj. (Actg. Lt.-Col.) D. G. C. SUTHERLAND, M.C. (108190), to be Lt.-Col., 28th Oct. 1958, with seniority 10th May 1956.

    London Gazette : 6 April 1967
    Class III
    Lt.-Col. D. G. C. SUTHERLAND, M.C. (108190) from T .A . Res. of Offrs., S.A.S., and to be Col., 1st Apr.1967.

    London Gazette : 6 June 1967
    Category II
    Lt-Col. & Bt. Col. D. G. C. SUTHERLAND, M.C. (108190) from T.A. Res. of Offrs., S.A.S. and to be Col., 1st Apr. 1967. (Substituted for the notifn. in Gazette (Supplement) dated 1st Apr. 1967 under Category III.)
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