Special Collections

Sold on 6 July 2004

1 part


Medals From The Collection of Hal Giblin

Hal Giblin

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№ 422


6 July 2004

Hammer Price:

A well-documented Great War group of three awarded to Sergeant W. Sutherland, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, a pre-war professional footballer for Southend United, Plymouth Argyle F.C. and Chatham F.C.: he was killed in action at Le Cateau in August 1914

1914 Star, with clasp
(8260 Sjt., 2/A. & S. Highrs.); British War and Victory Medals (8260 Sjt., A. & S. Highrs.), together with related Memorial Plaque (William Sutherland), good very fine and better, plaid brooch, glengarry badge and assorted pre-war cloth / bullion rank insignia (Lot) £600-800

This lot was sold as part of a special collection, Medals From The Collection of Hal Giblin.

View Medals From The Collection of Hal Giblin


William Sutherland was serving as a Lance-Sergeant in the 2nd Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, at Gillingham, when his footballing skills were “spotted” by the manager of Southend United, Mr. Bob Jack, in 1908. Upon his subsequent release from the military, Sutherland joined Southend United as an inside forward and played for three seasons, scoring many goals. And when Bob Jack moved as manager to Plymouth Argyle F.C., Sutherland followed him, although as it transpired his time with the Devonshire club was not as successful, and he was transferred to Chatham F.C. after a season and a half. With the latter club he became a popular player and helped it to reach the first round of the English Cup for the first time.

It was at this juncture that his previous military service caught up with him, for on 4 August 1914 he received his general mobilization notice and was ordered immediately to join his old regiment at Stirling Castle. Ten days later he was in France with the 2nd Battalion, and on the 26th, in an effort to relieve pressure on the Suffolks and Manchesters at Le Cateau, the Battalion went into action, marching forward ‘as if on parade’: very few came back.

See Hal Giblin’s article,
Everybody will be glad to help your husband’s wife, for full career details and story of the inept manner in which officialdom dealt with the recipient’s wife after he was posted missing (O.M.R.S. Journal, Autumn 1980). Had but Mrs. Sutherland known, the likely fate of her husband was as described by a Private Murray of the 2nd Argylls, who stated he had seen the ex-footballer shot in the head, but false hopes were raised by a letter recieved by a Private in the R.A.M.C., who erroneously stated that he had seen him since the action. And it would not be until 13 December 1914 that Mrs. Sutherland received a letter from her husband’s Platoon C.O., which confirmed that he ‘never came back’ from the action at Le Cateau.

Sold with a a fine selection of original documentation, ranging from pre-war footballing postcards (4) to original portrait photographs (3), and, more poignantly, his original call-up notice and Mrs. Sutherland’s desperate exchanges with officialdom to establish her husband’s true fate (approximately 10 letters).