Extract from an email sent to HOCT by Sutherland's son Douglas
My mother kept a daily diary from 1920 when she was 19 until her later years in the 80's. She went out to Ceylon where her brother had gone to tea plant and met my father there and they got married in December 1928. So I have a very detailed record of their life after that. The records for my father's earlier life are more limited but I can help with a bit.
In 1913 at the age of 20 he came out to Ceylon and started as a "creeper" on Allakolla Estate at Madulkelle. When war broke out in 1914 he was declared unfit for service as he had contracted malaria. However he overcame this disability and in 1915, assisted by the "Times of Ceylon" Passage Fund, he returned to the UK, initially training in Scotland before going to France in January 1915. He served with the Eighth Battalion Royal Scots (Pioneers) until he was demobbed in 1919. Whilst on active service he was mentioned in dispatches, was later awarded the Military Cross, and rose to the rank of Captain.
On his return to Ceylon he rejoined the CPRC as a sergeant and rose to the rank of Second Lieutenant in 1923. In 1933 in the rank of Major he was awarded the E.D. I have a newspaper article saying that in 1940 he took over command of the CPRC. In 1943 in the rank of Colonel he was decorated with an O.B.E. (Military Division) in the New Year's Honours List.
On his return to Ceylon you have noted that he went to Delgahalande and the Hunasgeria Group till he went to Spring Valley in 1921. There is now a gap in my records till my mother picks up the story. She left England in October 1926. On the 8th of November she arrived at Yelverton where she was to stay till the bungalow at Elmshurst was ready. On the same day she met a Mr Sutherland, a youg S.D. with a very attractive Scotch accent. Her brother, my uncle, was a Hugh Smyth.
On February 8th 1927 Mr Adams said that FISS had got an acting job on Spring Valley to take Mr Cleghorn's place. March 8th - FISS new billet at Kegale. January 7th 1928. Hugh went to M.D on Zulubaba. No mentions of Ellamulle till the second half of 1928 when my parents were married and made their home at Ellamulle.
They moved from Ellamulle and arrived in Spring Valley on the 14th February 1931. They stayed there till the 11th August 1949. Apart from the usual duties my father was closely involved when the old factory burnt down and was replaced.
You ask about other places where my father worked. There are references to Maymulle and Kottagodde, I think when at Spring Valley and before that to Galella and Wallekelle. Sometimes my mother's writing is not clear and I suspect she did not always know the correct spelling. There are references to Glenalpin and Cullen and aslo Nalawallee and to Nawalawotte. I do not know if these are estates. There are a lot of place names which are probably just towns.
During the 39-45 war my father was very active with his military work.
I have mentioned my Uncle Hugh Smyth. There is a further family connection which may be of interest. My mother's sister also came out to visit and got married in 1939 to a Hugh Breay. He started on Westmoreland but then moved to Telbedde and that is the name which is familiar to me. I note on your website that Hugh Smyth is mentioned for his first appointment. Hugh Breay is not mentioned at all.
I attach some photographs. I do not have a date for the large one but it must have been after 1943 as he is displaying his OBE ribbon. Of the smaller ones the top ones were taken on Armistice Day in 1932 in Badulla. On the left my father is about to lay the CPRC wreath. The ones below were taken in Colombo to celebrate Jubilee Day on May 6th 1935.
Our visit to Sri Lanka has been organised to allow us to visit towns which were part of the life of my parents. We start in Colombo and have twoo clear days there before going to Kandy, then to Badulla and Newara Eliya before returning to Colombo. We arrive in Ella on Saturday the 7th December and have two full days there before leaving on the 10th. Badulla is the most important of our stops and we wish to attend St. Mark's church where my father was a Church Warden and my mother played the organ. We would wish to visit Spring Valley while there ! We would be very grateful for any assistance to do that.
I have three books which I have found most useful on a personal level. The first is "Two Leaves and a Bud" by Kelavan. This is in fact Charles Brooke-Smith who was on Spring Valley and took over after Mr Cranfield who followed my father as Manager. The second book is "Life on Spring Valley" by Navaratnam Uthayakumaran. I found an address wrote to Mr Uthayakumaran to say how much I had enjoyed his book. In turn he gave me the address of Mr Brooke-Smith and we have exchanged letters. The third book is more general, "A History of the Ceylon Mounted Rifles and the Ceylon Planters' Rifle Corps" by Dawn Waring.
I am fortunate in that I have so much information on the lives of my parents.
Douglas Ian Sutherland
9th June 2019
My mother, apart from her diaries, was keen on keeping newspaper cuttings so I enclose copies of two. Both must have appeared in Ceylonese papers.
When I progressed with her diaries which I had not read before, my interest in Sri Lanka became much more serious. I came across a book which I was able to obtain from the author who was living in Australia. His physical experiences overlapped with my father but it has a lot of history and photographs. You probably have a copy and if so would draw your attention to page 47, the group photograph of the Farewell ceremony for my parents. A very young me in the front row, and I see in the diaries I refused to wear the garland provided. I have a larger copy of this photograph on the wall in my office here. The bungalow was built in 1913 on the site of Mr Thomas Wood's Bungalow (Ex. Manager 1847-1874) The book is: "Life on Spring Valley, A magnificent Tea Estate in Uva. by Navaratnam Uthayakumaran. Published in 2011." The story does not end there because the author then put me in touch with Charles Brooke-Smith at his home in Suffolk. We exchanged a few letters which I enjoyed. He has also written a book, again limited copies, in 2000. Another fascinating read as overlapping with my parents. "Two Leaves and a Bud." by Kelavan. Both books explain a lot of the terminology such as Aerial Ropeways and wire shoots. (Note : not the book of the same title by Yvonne Tomlin)
Many thanks for the picture of the Visitors book. I did know it existed but good to see the photo. A bit young to sign myself. Many names familiar to me from the diaries, such as Charles B-S, D Reith, Ronald Williams, J Cranfield etc. On 21-2-48 you will see the name of Betty Breay. This was my mother's sister who was married to Hugh Breay on Telbedde. As you can imagine my father was closely involved with the loss of the old factory and the building of the new one, and the speculation as to the reason why the old one burnt down. I also have a very large framed architects drawing of the new factory. In storage as no immediate home to hang it. The scans are in some sort of order. It would seem that almost all the photographs after mid '30's were much more of people or scenes on leave in the UK. Copying from old photos is never really successful, sorry. The words are those with the photos unless in italics.
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