John Gilbert Sutton

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Commander John Gilbert Sutton, D.S.C. (13 January, 1892 – ) served in the Royal Navy.

Life & Career

The son of a Civil Engineer named G. W. Sutton, Esq., Sutton gained no time upon passing out of the Training Establishment.

Sutton served in battlecruisers Indomitable and Invincible from May 1911 to May 1912 and then in Barham until 26 February, 1913.[1]

Sutton was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 15 September, 1914.[2]

Sutton served in C 32 from November 1915 until October, 1916 when he was appointed to F 3. At the end of November, he was appointed to K 3 until superseded on 19 April, 1917.[3]

He served in Ithuriel and in general submarine service for much of the late war period before being appointed in L 3 on 29 June, 1918.

Post-War

On 7 December, 1918, he was placed in command of the captured German U 54. Early in 1919, he went to the Periscope School.[4]

On 12 October, 1921 he was appointed in command of Group M Submarines in Reserve, on the books of H.M.S. Vulcan. Sutton commanded E 47 and served as Senior Staff Officer from early 1922 to late August, 1923, being promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Commander on 15 September, 1922.[5]

In 1925, Sutton was subjected to a Court Martial for having negligently or by default hazarded L 56, L 54 and L 69, as well as having negligently or by default stranded L 56. The charges were proved, and he was reprimanded on 22 December, 1924.[6]

Sutton was promoted to the rank of Commander on 30 June, 1928.[7]

In 1930, Sutton lost torpedo No. 1078 from H 32. He was informed he was considered to blame and to be more careful in future, on 11 February.[8]

Sutton was appointed to the repair ship Resource vice O'Connell on 1 August, 1931.[9]

In the early morning of 13 September 1932 at a hotel in Cyprus shortly before Resource was to leave the island, Commander Sutton had a physical altercation with the hotelier, Christos Apostolides which fractured the other man's skull so badly that he subsequently died of his injuries.

The Times offered the following account in a story printed on 19 November.[10]

The Resource was at Limassol, and on the night of September 12 last Commander Sutton had been on shore to a cabaret. He stayed to talk to a Turkish girl, Mazmie Hassam, and at about 2 a.m. he took her to the Côte d'Azur Jodel. That hotel was kept by Apostolides. Commander Sutton went upstairs to a room and he said that there was some unpleasantness between him and the girl and she left.

After she had gone Commander Sutton proceeded to go downstairs, and his story was that as he was going down he met Apostolides coming up; that Apostolides caught hold of his arm, made signs, and used the word "shillings" — probably the only English he knew — and that he (Commander Sutton) jerked his arm away. It was almost dark, and Apostolides fell down the stairs, and was found lying in the hall with his head at the bottom of the stairs and his feel sprawling out on the marble floor.

There was no doubt, from the medical evidence, that he had fractured his skull right across, which led to haemorrhage and subsequent death. There was no witness of the incident.

Sutton claimed to have assisted Apostolides after the injury, and that he appeared to be alright before Sutton left. Sutton was placed in custody and sent to H.M.S. Coventry and found guilty of of manslaughter on 7 October. Sutton was held on 100 pounds bail pending an appeal, which was based on the stance that hearsay evidence had been introduced in the form of alleged dying statements by the deceased to his co-workers, was rejected. The sentence was lenient, however, amounting to just six months.[11][12]

When Sutton was imprisoned, he was placed on the Retired List due to misconduct in accordance with provisions of Order in Council of 12 October, 1925 on 25 January, 1933.[13]

World War II

In 1939, Sutton was informed that he would be required for naval service and that he should, in effect, keep his calendar clear. He was appointed in command of the anti-submarine trawler Northern Chief on 10 September, 1939. On 2 December, he was admitted to the hospital ship Aba with "anxiety neurosis". He was found fit for duty at year's end. Almost immediately, there was a grounding of the Northern Foam, and a Board in Enquiry found that her captain, and that of Northern Chief should be more careful in future. Sutton was superseded in Northern Chief on 4 February, 1940.[14]

Sutton was appointed in command of the armed yacht Mollusc (formerly Medusa) on 11 March, 1940, vice Wyndham-Quin. He was superseded on 6 September, 1940 by Francis Theodor Hare and placed in command of the sloop Weston, vice Seymour Charles Tuke. He was superseded on 24 August, 1942. Later that year, he was appointed to command an L.S.T. and to be Senior Officer, First L.S.T. Flotilla. In 1943, he was placed in command of L.S.T. 319 and as Commander, Seventh L.S.T. Flotilla.[15]

Sutton was awarded a D.S.C., gazetted 23 May, 1944 for his "outstanding courage, resolution, leadership, skill and devotion to duty in operations which led to successful landings on the Italian mainland and at Salerno." Sutton's appointment in command of L.S.T. 319 and the Flotilla ended on 13 July, 1944.[16]

On 31 August, 1944 Sutton was surveyed at Royal Naval Hospital Minterne for a dislocation of his left shoulder. He was found fit on 21 December, 1944, having been named Officer in Charge of landing craft in Liverpool on 9 October.[17]

After spending the early part of the year shutting down the Liverpool Landing Craft Base, Sutton reverted to the Retired List on 1 June, 1946. He was called back for a twelve-day Commodore of Convoy course on 16 March, 1952.[18]

See Also

Naval Appointments
Preceded by
?
Captain of H.M.S. H 52
25 Mar, 1919[19]
Succeeded by
Charles G. N. Graham
Preceded by
Henry K. B. Mitchell
Captain of H.M.S. H 47
7 Jan, 1922[20][21] – 25 Aug, 1923[22]
Succeeded by
Theodore F. A. Voysey
Preceded by
James A. P. Blackburn
Captain of H.M.S. L 56
25 Aug, 1923[23][24] – Dec, 1925[25]
Succeeded by
Frank P. Busbridge
Preceded by
Arthur L. Noakes
Captain of H.M.S. L 21
Nov, 1926[26] – Jul, 1928[27]
Succeeded by
Geoffrey M. K. Keble-White
Preceded by
Alexander B. Greig
Captain of H.M.S. Fermoy
8 Sep, 1928[28] – 12 Apr, 1930[29]
Succeeded by
Henry B. Crane
Preceded by
Hubert G. D. Acland
Captain of H.M.S. Castor
19 Dec, 1930[30][31] – 12 Jul, 1931[32]
Succeeded by
Lancelot G. Ingham

Footnotes

  1. Sutton Service Record The National Archives. ADM 196/54/54. f. 54.
  2. Sutton Service Record The National Archives. ADM 196/54/54. f. 54.
  3. Sutton Service Record The National Archives. ADM 196/54/54. f. 54.
  4. Sutton Service Record The National Archives. ADM 196/54/54. f. 54.
  5. Sutton Service Record The National Archives. ADM 196/54/54. f. 54.
  6. Sutton Service Record The National Archives. ADM 196/54/54. f. 54.
  7. Sutton Service Record The National Archives. ADM 196/54/54. f. 54.
  8. Sutton Service Record The National Archives. ADM 196/54/54. f. 54.
  9. Sutton Service Record The National Archives. ADM 196/54/54. f. 54.
  10. The Times (London, England), Saturday, Nov 19, 1932; pg. 3; Issue 46295.
  11. Sutton Service Record The National Archives. ADM 196/54/54. f. 54.
  12. The Times (London, England), Saturday, Oct 08, 1932; pg. 11; Issue 46259.
  13. Sutton Service Record The National Archives. ADM 196/54/54. f. 54.
  14. Sutton Service Record The National Archives. ADM 196/54/54. f. 54.
  15. Sutton Service Record The National Archives. ADM 196/54/54. f. 54.
  16. Sutton Service Record The National Archives. ADM 196/54/54. f. 54.
  17. Sutton Service Record The National Archives. ADM 196/54/54. f. 54.
  18. Sutton Service Record The National Archives. ADM 196/54/54. f. 54.
  19. The Navy List. (June, 1920). p. 782a.
  20. Sutton Service Record The National Archives. ADM 196/54/54. f. 54.
  21. The Navy List. (January, 1923). p. 764.
  22. Sutton Service Record The National Archives. ADM 196/54/54. f. 54.
  23. Sutton Service Record The National Archives. ADM 196/54/54. f. 54.
  24. The Navy List. (April, 1925). p. 251.
  25. Sutton Service Record The National Archives. ADM 196/54/54. f. 54.
  26. Sutton Service Record The National Archives. ADM 196/54/54. f. 54.
  27. Sutton Service Record The National Archives. ADM 196/54/54. f. 54.
  28. Sutton Service Record The National Archives. ADM 196/54/54. f. 54.
  29. Sutton Service Record The National Archives. ADM 196/54/54. f. 54.
  30. The Navy List. (July, 1931). p. 222.
  31. Sutton Service Record The National Archives. ADM 196/54/54. f. 54.
  32. Sutton Service Record The National Archives. ADM 196/54/54. f. 54.