Sunday, February 9th, 2014
Walter Riddell Sutherland (aka Wattie Suddie) was a Scottish rugby union footballer from Hawick and was considered one of the best rugby players of his time. He was born in 1890 and was the youngest son of Alexander and Isabella Sutherland.
During his childhood he had 5 siblings although the youngest, John, died at the age of 13 months. As his family weren’t particularly wealthy when he was a young boy the houses the lived in weren’t very nice. One of the flats they lived in only had 2 rooms and was expected to accommodate 7 children and 2 adults. His family moved to Beaconsfield Terrace, which was better than their previous homes, in 1896 and his parents became the proprietors of the Imperial Hotel in Oliver Place in 1900. Having attended Hawick High SchoolAt the age of ten he started going to Teviot Grove Academy showing that the Sutherland family had become wealthier by that time.
He joined Hawick RFC at the age of 17 and later became the captain of the team. At the age of 18 he joined the Scotland national rugby union team. He earned 13 caps playing for the team and was recognized as the best Scottish wing threequarter during that time.
He was also a very fast sprinter and a member of the Teviotdale Harriers (a running club based in Hawick) earning several titles such as Borders Champion for 100 and 220 yards. He also won the Scottish Amateur Athletic Association 220 yards title.
However when World War 1 started, he stopped playing rugby and joined the army. He served with the Lothians and Border Horse, later the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and finally the Seaforth Highlanders until 1918, by which time he was a Second Lieutenant. Unfortunately, on the 4th of October that year, he was hit and killed, at the age of 27, by a stray German artillery shell while cycling to join his regiment in the front lines little more than a month before the Great War ended on the 11th of November 1918.
By Haru Nagato-Apthorp