Interview with Don Sutherland. Two


Interview with Don Sutherland. Two


Don was brought up in Newcastle, where he worked for a number of years. He attended a meeting a year before the war began, about alternatives to war and that war didn’t have to be accepted as inevitable. Don joined a community which organised work on a farm in Lincolnshire. After two years he transferred to another similar community, where he remained for about 25 years. Everyone was classed as equal and could vote on who could join this community. Don described everyday life in the community and farm work throughout the seasons. His favourite job was looking after and driving the horses. He worked with poultry for a while and also remembered the pea harvest. RAF Wickenby was one of the nearest airfields to the commune. They had four German prisoners of war working with them, one of whom kept in touch with Don after the war. Don campaigned against war and would sometimes go to the RAF Waddington with anti-war propaganda. A play had been produced about the pacifists, which was shown at the Broadbent Theatre and also at Quaker Meeting Houses.




Temporal Coverage





01:07:34 audio recording


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ASutherlandD191211, PSutherlandD1901


DE: So, this is Dan Ellin. I’m interviewing Don Sutherland at his home in Lincoln. It’s the 11th of December 2019 and this is for the IBCC Digital Archive. So, Don, I’ll just put that there. You were, you were talking about your father and, and his work in, in the First World War. What is it you, you think that made the first and the Second World War so, so different?
DS: Well, the first, the First World War I think could easily have been avoided. Certainly, in comparison with the Second World War which the way things had developed in Germany it was quite inevitable that it would lead to so many countries becoming involved and, and there was certainly much more of a drive from the Germany who had become the enemy so to speak. And it became so inevitable that it should lead to war because the way Hitlerism originated and developed its prime intention was, was to make them masters of the, of a huge area which would, would, would together lead to quite a different sort of civilisation really.
DE: So why was it that you chose not to fight?
DS: It’s a very good question because it, it was something which in, in Newcastle where I I was brought up and first, first worked for, I’d say half a dozen years the fact was that we had this annual thing going on in the, in the town moor there where all sorts of meetings were held. And this was an opportunity which the, the Pacifist people used to talk about alternatives to war and it was through a meeting that took place there just before the war began more or less, a year before the war began that gave me any ideas about, about the history of war and what you might say the inevitability of war and that there was a possibility that the idea of war was something that was a historical fact that people had learned to accept as being inevitable and that there was no possibility of any objective. Any alternative to, to war. And when the idea came to me that you could refuse to accept war as being inevitable and that certain people had made that part of their life to devote themselves to propagating that, that purpose in life to oppose war rather than to accept it as an inevitable thing. And until, until, until that time in in nineteen, was it 1939 it began — ?
DE: Yes.
DS: That, and it began in such a sort of a mixed way from what, what was done in Germany and then the surrounding countries in a gradual way. And of course, we went to war. Germany didn’t declare war on Germany, on England as you know but we became involved because of promises we’d made to, to support the country that Germany had invaded.
DE: Yes. Poland. Yes.
DS: Yes. That was, that was the reason we went to war because Germany had never actually declared war on us and so I, there was a feeling of sort of, a ridiculous feeling I think that, that Britain wasn’t really interested. And they had no idea or I should say we had no idea that, that war was inevitable and would involve us as it involved all the other countries. And in the way, the way Hitler had little by little, and country after country become such a powerful set of people by using the most violent means which were completely foreign to us really. Germany had a set up a system which was, was quite unique and he was able to engage so many different people and, and use so many terrible methods gradually to dominate the areas which led to such a huge powerful and of course this was partly too with the, with the help of the other people with similar ideas who had already set up in Italy to, to dominate other countries. And it just became such a powerful theatre for war I suppose. It’s, it seems so foreign to us to understand how it could happen because we, we find now that that the so-called enemy is as much a friend as, as anybody else. And, and in fact is leading the way to try and keep people together and not to have one nation dominating another.
DE: So, I mean we spoke about this in the other interview when I was here a few months ago. So, we have on tape the process that you went through and the tribunal you went to. I’d like to ask you a bit more about your time on the farm in Lincolnshire. I wasn’t quite sure. Was it, where was it at? The farm.
DS: Well, there were two. Two farms, communities in, both in Lincolnshire. In Lincolnshire. And also there were similar types of communities involved in other parts of the UK. But I think the place at Holton Beckering which was the first place I went to was a set up by various prominent Pacifists. Pacifist people who centred in London and one, one section there by advertisement if you like to call it one way and, and by interviewing individuals set up, set up a very organised and financed thing. So that was, that was, that was at [pause] at Holton and it involved two separate farms. And I think that came more or less at the same time as two individuals, using their own finances set up a separate place right next door to it and I I joined first this main big one and I was interviewed in London to go, to go to that one because one of the, one of the the conshys who was a Quaker in [pause] where, where I lived and I went, I went and stayed with him when that community had started. So that was my first. It was just like a holiday there. I hitchhiked there and then when I happened, it turned out that I got the sack from work that’s where I applied to go. In the first place they said no. I didn’t, they didn’t, they interviewed me in London and took one look at me and said he, he’ll never make a farm worker. And then later on the same year when I, when I got the sack from my job I, I wrote. I wrote to them again and when I, one of the executive members of the committee came and talked, talked in Newcastle and I told him I’d lost my job and I’d already applied to them and been refused. It was a possibility that they might reconsider it you see.
DE: Yeah.
DS: Well, I got a reply straight away nearly. ‘Yes. We’ll take you.’ They’d set this place up and they were short of men you see and so they decided that they would take me. So, I went there straight away and joined. Joined one of the places which was adjoining but it was not, the other place was supposed to be the main place because they had the very highly skilled bloke, a local chap who was the, the boss, plus a local ex-farmer who was a Pacifist. And I worked there for two and a half years and that covered the time of the war because I didn’t start until 1941. I I was employed at work as I got complete exemption.
DE: Right. Ok.
DS: And then when, when the end of the war I I was somehow out of touch with, with, with what had happened to the first community because the fact that we, we had, I then moved on to the, the other one because the second community was just run by these two men and they were in charge so to speak. But not in charge in a dominant way but they, they’d financed it you see so it was completely independent from the first community I belonged. And, and that’s that first community slowly died off so to speak. I’m not quite sure exactly what happened because I was so much attached to the, to the new community and unfortunately it didn’t stand ground on its, on its own. Key people left who had been quite important in keeping it together and eventually it, it ended up in in the hands of two people who were, who were financially dominant. But we, those who wanted to were carried on, carried on as ordinary farm workers but, but we still felt it was a community. Very much so actually and so, I was working there for about twenty five years and then because of my health didn’t seem strong enough for the job I was doing I I changed my work and the house I was living in. We were able to buy it. So, although I was living in the area I had no direct attachment to the community. Although I was still attached to some of the people who were working there.
DE: And what was, what was life like in the community? What was, what was the sort of every, every day like? Or what was it like across the seasons?
DS: Well, we, we had married and unmarried helpers and we had, certainly in the, in the section that I lived and there were, there were in, in the second community we had, had separate houses but they were more or less adjoining. And the married couple were in charge and they sort of looked after us and we were just like a part of a family the rest of us. But it slowly, it slowly disintegrated unfortunately but we had young, quite young children there with us. But as I say that, that, that community lasted a lot longer than the much larger first one which was more or less organised in London. So, it was quite sad really. We had a, we had a very large farm. A farm with a very good quality flock of pedigree sheep.
DE: So, what was, could you describe what a typical day would have been like?
DS: Well, a lot of the work I did and of course on the farm it varied according to the time of the year what you had to do.
DE: Of course. Yes.
DS: And so, in the wintertime I would be working chop, chopping the hedges down, keeping them in track, digging out the ditches and that sort of thing. And in the early days it was all so run by human labour. We didn’t have many, many tools at all really to use. It was only latterly that we developed to a size where we became much more mechanised. So it was, it was quite tough work but we got used to it. I mean, I never dreamed that I would become so used to hard work. I just, it wasn’t in my, my training at all and so it was a completely new life for me as it was for most of them really and the thing was that this, this place where I belonged, the second place there was quite a tendency for the people there to, to have an upbringing in art and three of them or four, four altogether I think were, had already been training to get degrees in art. So, when they finished work for the day, farm work they would then go, go to their room at night and spend another few hours working at what was really their, their chosen ambition. So they, they were quite quick to leave when they had the opportunity to do so and that’s what they ended up doing.
DE: And what did, what did you do in the evenings?
DS: I think we just sat and talked most of the time. I I had a little cottage to myself. I don’t know what it was built for originally but it was big enough to, to have a bed in it and so I suppose I read a lot and —
JS: There wasn’t any electricity was there?
DS: No. Not at first. Not at first. But —
JS: So, you read with candles or oil lights?
DS: Yes.
JS: I remember when Uncle Bill, which was my mum’s brother said when you worked with the horses you would throw the windows open wide very early in the morning and wake everybody up.
DS: [laughs] Yeah. We, yes, well yes. My favourite job was wagoning. Driving. Driving horses. But we had to get up quite early to give them their food because they were not, they were not as well looked after as they [pause] A lot of people would have their horses in stables overnight. Particularly in winter time but our horses were kept out in the open air right through the winter. So, we had to go out and they would reluctantly come with us so they could get fed properly before we put them to work in the day. And then later on they would have to go back outside again so it was a bit of a rough life for them but they were used to it.
JS: And you’d harness them up to the plough.
DS: Pardon?
JS: Did they go with the plough or did they just pull carts?
DS: No. We did have, we had tractors as well and the really heavy work was done by tractors. But when the land was prepared for sowing and it had to be worked down to get the right, the right place for the, for the seed to grow that was, a lot of that work was done by horses.
JS: So that was harrowing and —
DS: Yes. Keeping, keeping it clean. Clean and that sort of thing and of course in those days, those days too we didn’t have, we didn’t use a lot of manure. The, we would keep, keep the ground clean by dragging, dragging harrows over the ground to keep it clean. And, and then we’d also go over it by hand with, with hoes as well to clean the land. It was very much manual.
DE: Yeah.
DS: And hand, and hand working in the early days. And it was some time before we, before we had the combine harvesters.
DE: So very very very hard work.
DS: I couldn’t, I couldn’t believe when I when I saw the first combine harvester that they would find a method of harvesting without using the old fashioned way of, of using a plough system.
DE: I know, I know some farms used prisoners of war to help. Did, did you have any of that?
DS: Yes. Well, first of all because when the war, the war ended in two different stages because first of all we, we stopped being at war with, with —
DE: Germany.
DS: No.
JS: Italy.
DS: Another country.
DE: The Italians.
DS: Yes. That’s right. Yes. But Italy, you see that war finished first you see and so they were released from the, from the prisoner of war camps in the country and, and were allowed to go home before the Germans and the Germans were kept behind for three years after the war finished. They weren’t allowed to go home because there were so many troops, British troops still involved in in the countries that we were at war with. They were kept there and so we were short of people and employed the Germans for two or three years after the war finished. And we had four. Four working for us. Three, three were people who we got on well with and the other we thought he was a lazy beggar which he probably was and two of the others were they had both been teachers or heads of schools, junior schools in Germany and on the section of the farms that I belonged to we had one who we got to know very well. He had, his wife had one child who he’d never seen, this child and so the father was looking forward to be allowed home so that he could see his first, first baby. And we later, I later on went over to Germany and stayed with them.
JS: And his children came to stay with us, didn’t they?
DE: And then the, the son came over and stayed with us on more than one occasion and, and I still get Christmas cards from him but he —
JS: And they did a play didn’t they? The Holton Players. They put on a play.
DE: I wanted to talk about that a bit. Yes.
DS: Yes. Yes. They, they put on a play at Holton. This was where, this was where they were kept. At the ex-Army base there. And they had liberty during the day. They, they would walk around and have complete liberty but they weren’t allowed to go home so it must have been pretty tough for them. I think some of them must have tried [laughs] tried to escape but others felt that they were probably much better off where they were than going back to Germany because Germany was in a pretty raw state when the war finished. It was not a, not a very pleasant place to be because they were starving. A lot of them were. Because the, Germany treated the people so badly. It’s all so forgotten now, isn’t it?
JS: And the Holton Players you, they, they were the pre-the Broadbent Theatre weren’t they because they did plays in the Nissen hut that then got burned down.
DS: That’s right. But that was, that was a little time afterwards really.
JS: In the ‘50s.
DS: I’m not quite sure what, what year it was because the place we, the place we used at first was part of the place which the German prisoners of war had lived in. So it was a little time before the Players got, the Players got together and it was, it was some of the people in the, in the original community that I belonged to who were extremely good at theatre work and —
JS: Phil Walshaw. Her aunt was Sybil Thorndike.
DS: Yes.
JS: And she’d been to RADA for a year before she had to leave.
DS: Yes. Well, several people who, who were very experienced at theatre work.
JS: And Roy Broadbent, who was the father of Jim Broadbent he was a big part of the theatre wasn’t he?
DS: Yes. But it was, it was when he left, he left the community that I joined second of all. It’s when he left that I, that there were vacancies and they were getting the extra people in that I joined from the first, the first community.
JS: So, you went to Bleasby then?
DS: That’s right. Yes.
JS: With Dick Cornwallis and Robert Walshaw.
DS: Yes, but Walshaw wasn’t there. Walshaw had been there and left because he had the opportunity of joining a farm right in the southwest of England and it didn’t work out. And after I’d joined that second community he wrote to us asking if he could come [laughs] Come back. And we decided that he, that he could. He was welcome to come back.
JS: And his son still lives on the farm. He’s farmed it.
DS: Pardon?
JS: Chris is still, still lives on the farm and he’s farmed it hasn’t he?
DS: Yes. He has. Yes, well he lives on the farm but he doesn’t really do much.
JS: Any more.
DS: Work. It’s been passed, passed over for use by somebody who, who just developed a huge dairy farm.
DE: So, the communities were, were quite democratic. You sort of had votes about whether people could join or not.
DS: That’s right. Yes. The first, the first was. Was, we had we had a rough say in what happened but the second we were, we were all classed as equal people although we knew that the money was in the hands of mostly two people who eventually took it over and we were, we were told we could stay on with the terms which we could agree to. Which I did for quite a time.
DE: Yeah.
DS: Until I got this other job.
DE: So, if we can just go back a little bit to during the war you said that there were, there were Italian and then German POWs that sometimes worked alongside you. Did you have anything to do with any of the people from RAF Wickenby which was quite close I believe?
DS: No. What happened was that you had different groups of people among the Pacifists. Some were used to a different type of living and some were in the habit of going to pubs and some weren’t. Some were quite reversed and religious and you know they became preachers locally. Part time of course. And, and some of the others and they mostly came from the second community that I belonged to but some of them moved in to the, in to the other one which had developed into a, a varied group with different ideas and just fizzled away gradually. So, I didn’t have much, much contact with the err I never went to, to any of the of the pub gatherings which the others, others did and they really became much more in touch with the airmen and got on reasonably well with them apparently. But I never, I never saw that side of it at all because the aerodrome, you know the aerodrome disappeared soon after the war finished.
DE: How did you feel about being so close to, to the aerodrome?
DS: Well, it was more the Bleasby, the Bleasby farm that was really close and parts of it, gradually more was taken off the farm to be used by the Air Force. So because I I belonged to the community which was further away I didn’t see very, very much of the Air Force really.
DE: Ok.
DS: No.
JS: But you’d hear the aeroplanes.
DS: Oh yes. Yes. Of course, they took off at night time mostly and where they took off, and the direction they were going on the way to Germany would be, they would not pass where I was staying you see. So we didn’t see as much of them as you, as you might, might think really. We would hear them but not see them necessarily. And as far as I know there was not much bombing took place in Lincoln itself and very little where, where we were. I don’t know why but that seemed to be the case. There wasn’t much bombing took place but there were quite a lot of aerodromes all, all over Lincoln that, that did get, did get bombed. It was quite a, apart from the armament places which were one of the main places and the bombings that were done purely for the sake of killing as many people as possible which took part in London and other big cities. And that was sort of quite a long way from this area you see.
DE: Yeah.
DS: They just went for, for the big cities. I don’t think that Lincoln, you see we didn’t see much of Lincoln. We would never think of going in to Lincoln. There was no way of getting there. No, no coaches to take us.
JS: You worked very long hours, didn’t you?
DS: Pardon?
JS: You worked very long hours on the farm.
DS: Very?
JS: Long hours.
DS: Well, we had double summertime then. We had, we had, we had, so, so in the wintertime we we we were using the hours that we now use in summertime. So we changed, changed our clocks at the usual time but we were an hour ahead, an hour earlier in starting our summertime.
JS: And then you had to lock up the chickens later, didn’t it? I remember.
DS: It was midnight.
JS: Because you worked with the poultry later on. And that was your job.
DS: Yes.
JS: But pea harvest was quite something wasn’t it?
DS: Oh yes. Yes. That was, that was hard work. We used to have special things which we, we had props that we put up in the field and when we, when we cut the hay the [pause] would you call it hay? I don’t know. My memory.
JS: The pea stalks.
DS: Yes. We put, and take them into big round sheds so that the wind would get through and dry them all out more quickly than if you just left them on the ground. So that was all hand work. It was all hand work early on so, it made me stronger I suppose. Not that, I’ve never been big. I’ve never been, never weighed ten stone but I’ve, I’ve managed. It was a great experience really. It was a fine life. A fine life working together really. So, it was, it was a blessing to me really. But then I was also in the position of being in a safe, comparatively safe situation whereas so many of my friends at work had gone into the different forces in time and one in particular who was, hadn’t been married very long but was very tempted to register as a, as a conshy. He decided to join up and not long after he’d joined up he was killed. And I don’t, still don’t know how many of my friends at work came back. [pause] Unless this is something which people haven’t experienced they won’t, won’t understand. What war does to people. And why some people still think war is the answer.
DE: And you continue to campaign against war. I noticed on your door you have have an anti-war —
DS: Yes. Oh yes. Yes. I hope people will take the message but we leave it to other people now to do our dirty work [pause] And it tends to be romanticised.
DE: Can you tell me some of the ways that you’ve protested against war and tried to spread the message?
DS: Well, we, we still go down to the RAF and spread propaganda there.
JS: You’ve flown kites there haven’t you in solidarity with the Afghani kite flyers at Waddington, haven’t you?
DS: Yes. Yes. We go to Waddington.
JS: And you went to the different peace camps. You went to Molesworth.
DS: I don’t go anywhere now really.
JS: But you went to Faslane as well, didn’t you? When you went to the Quaker conference a few years ago in Scotland.
DS: Oh yes. Yes. My daughter, my daughter took us on a nice holiday in Scotland last year and the group fairly recently set up, we’d been to the performances. Have you been to any of the performances?
DE: I haven’t. I didn’t know about them until it was, it was too late. But can you tell me a bit about them?
DS: Well, it was, it was because this, this chappy who was I think the oldest member of the group who came to the area and met some of the original people in the community and since he, since in the few years that he’s been the area we’ve now only got one friend. One. One friend and there’s not just myself and one friend left who belonged but when he came there were two more alive who, who had belonged to the community. And so that’s how he’s been able to get all the information that’s gone in to the creation of this, this play which he’s written.
JS: Some of the other children from the community, one was a journalist and she’d done a lot of recordings. Sarah Farley who, who I grew up with and also one of the Makins did also some interviews. He wrote about it. So, Ian Sharp used these memories as well as interviewing you and Arthur Adams and Phil Farley to make the play.
DS: Well, I, it’s a little uncertain at the moment as to, as to whether there will be another production but I’ll be sure and let you know.
DE: That would be wonderful because it, it was, it was shown at the Edinburgh Fringe and it was shown at the Broadbent Theatre as well, wasn’t it? It was put on there.
DS: It’s been several times at the Broadbent Theatre and that’s where its likely to be shown again.
JS: And recently it’s been on at Quaker meeting houses. And this autumn we went a fortnight ago, didn’t we to Doncaster meeting, the Quaker meeting house which was the last performance.
DS: Yeah. It’s been held at various Quaker meeting houses.
JS: The meeting would have known about it.
DS: Not with, not with the large attendances as we might have had.
JS: In Chesterfield there was a very good turnout. A lot of the people from CND were there and one of the men was ex-RAF that we spoke to that’s a big part of CND because when we were children you belonged to CND and we used to protest didn’t we then?
DS: Yes.
JS: Carried placards and that was how you carried on campaigning for peace.
DS: Yes. I don’t know to what extent young people are interested in peace making. What do, what do you think? Do you think they take a real interest in peace making?
DE: I think it’s because to a lot of people wars today are, are quite far away. They’re quite removed and they don’t have the real experience. I think that’s probably the problem. It’s something that happens to other people who it’s too easy to forget about. I don’t know. What, what do you think?
DS: Yes. I agree with you but I’m not so much in touch with people as you probably are and I might see one, one side of it.
JS: Well, when we’re in a recession the rise of nationalism is always worrying, isn’t it? You know, like in Germany the war started because of recession and when you get a current situation that’s very much saying you know people from other countries aren’t welcome even though they, our country wouldn’t function without them it’s, it can make people fearful that that people from other countries are enemies rather than just our neighbours.
DS: Yes. I, I’m very disappointed with the general attitude of people in the UK now that we should think about ourselves and not about the world as a whole. And we’re all so interdependent. I think it’s only now when we, it’s been revealed to us the dangers of not working together. And yet we’ve still got people fighting one another. Actually, wasting the parts that are valuable.
JS: Well, the politics and the economics of war where countries sell arms to countries that are then used against them is totally absurd.
DS: I I don’t know much about it but you’ve probably heard the report of what, when we’ve had meetings at Bomber Command. Have, have you, do you, do you get a note of what’s happening there as far as our meetings there go?
DE: Sometimes I do. Yes. I think mostly its Heather gets involved with those. Those things. But yeah, I know there have been several meetings because we’re thinking about changing parts of the exhibition up there.
DS: Well, it’s the room upstairs which is, the idea is to develop that more isn’t it?
DE: That’s correct. Yes. Yeah. I mean that part of the, that gallery at the Bomber Command Centre has tried to tell the story about how the war has been remembered and how that feeds in to wars and conflicts today.
DS: Yes.
DE: I’d just, I’d just would like to have a go at it and try and make it a bit better.
JS: I mean the title to me is so to me alienating of the place that —
DS: Well, you haven’t been to it, have you?
JS: No. No. But if it was combined with, with something that was promoting peace as well.
DE: Well, that’s what we’re trying to do —
JS: Yes.
DE: In part of it and we have tried quite, well, you’d, you’d have to go judge how successfully but we’ve not tried to glorify war.
JS: No. No.
DE: We’ve tried to show it from all perspectives and we’ve tried to show the shared suffering and sacrifice —
JS: Yeah. Absolutely.
DE: Of people in the air, on the ground and on both sides.
JS: It’s not about who’s right and wrong.
DE: No.
JS: It’s not a, you know —
DE: No.
JS: It’s not a divisive thing, is it? It’s —
DS: It’s unfortunate that my, my, I had my stroke, stroke it’s affected my memory so much that I can’t express myself as well as I would have liked to.
JS: But for a hundred years old you don’t too badly.
DS: A hundred years [laughs] years young you mean.
JS: And we had, we had three versions of the play to celebrate your hundredth anniversary, didn’t we? There were special performances where you had, where the play was adapted. It’s been a changing thing but it’s —
DS: It’s not been very well lately.
JS: The theme of it became more climate. The threat now of climate changes.
DE: Right.
JS: So, it’s like it’s a changing movement towards what is most close to, to causing harm to populations.
DS: Yes. And you’ve got, you’ve got countries which are a long way from here much much bigger than us and it must be extremely difficult for those people to feel they’ve got any say in in what happens. [pause] Whereas I don’t know how, how much the countries in the, in the UK area and a bit further away from us how much feeling we have of any sort of control of what the future is going to be. Are we just dragged along by some invisible force? Out of control. Is there a meaningful, meaningful force bringing us along in the right direction or are we at the mercy of something the invisible which is hiding us from the right direction? [pause]
DS: What difference do you think the election will make or could make?
DE: I I have no idea. No.
DS: I’m very disturbed at the number of people who don’t use their vote to say where they want to go. And I think that’s the most disappointing thing about the present day that people don’t feel how vital it is that we have a say in what, in what future we’re going to have.
DE: Yeah. I think, I think I’m going to pause it there.
[recording paused]
JS: Well, we got a knock on our door one winter night by Malcolm Bates who wanted to re-establish the theatre. He was an adopted son of a Lincolnshire family. So, they started rehearsing didn’t they at Faldingworth and did, “Oliver.” You were in “Oliver.”
DS: Yes.
JS: And Helen was in Oliver, my sister and a lot of the community people were in it as well as others.
DS: But it was in the big sort of big building which was used for accommodation for the for the conshies working at the other area of Lincoln. That was, that was where some of the first meetings and the cinema items items were done in the, in the early days because there were several people who had been used to performing as actors or actresses. So we were very fortunate that we had these people who were quite experienced and very very able and were able to draw other people in who hadn’t actually belonged to the community but were interested in plays that it was able to be, to to fill up and then to have our own theatre which was the generosity of one particular person that we got, got the place when prices were not so high as they, as they’ve become now that we were able to to get this which is still on the go. How long it’ll last for I don’t know because I think all the original people now must have died because it’s a long time since it began. They used to have a theatre at, at the [unclear] at least theatre company at at the main place. [pause] Well, I’ll be very interested in hearing what ideas you have about developing the complex. I, I’ve never actually got as far, so far as going through all the list of deaths shown at the Memorial.
DE: There’s only a few people who have because there are, there’s fifty seven thousand names there so.
DS: I know, but I mean I know the names of all the people who, you know, the full names of all the people who, who were with me when I worked and who, who were called up. And I know some of them went into the Air Force so I might have a record as to whether any of them were killed or not. But then there must be, if there’s a complete list of, of soldiers and other types of people. I don’t I don’t know what that would be. How much room it would take up to put all the names of the various soldiers who were killed. It would be a huge list wouldn’t it because I would, I would think there were probably more of other different types of soldiers than the Air Force.
DE: Yes. I don’t know if they’re all collected in one place actually physically but the Commonwealth War Graves Commission would have —
DS: Yes.
DE: All the names available on the internet. Right. I I think I’m going to, I’m going stop the recording there so I will just say that also present in the room, the other voice on the recording was Don’s daughter Janet Sutherland. Thank you very much, Don. That was absolutely wonderful. Thank you.
DS: My pleasure.



Dan Ellin, “Interview with Don Sutherland. Two,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed September 26, 2023,

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