Peter Sutherland was born in Tongue in 1895, the third son of William Sutherland and Jessie Stewart. They were married in Tongue in 1891. In 1911 Census Peter is with his parents and 8 brothers and sisters at Ribigill. The family were all employed at Ribigill Farm, as farm workers at the outbreak of the First World War.
He enlisted into the Army in Tongue, once he had completed his basic military training he was posted to the 18 (Service) Battalion (4 Glasgow) Highland Light Infantry. The 18 H.L.I. was a part of the 106 Brigade, 35 (Bantam) Division, serving in the trenches on the Western Front in France. (Bantam Battalions were units that only enlisted soldiers who were less than five feet, four inches in height).
The 18 H.L.I. was raised in Glasgow on the 26 of February 1915, by the Lord Provost and City as a Bantam Battalion. The battalion was then sent to Girvan in Ayrshire to carry out basic training, in June the 18 H.L.I. joined the 35 Division in Masham, Yorkshire. In August the 35 (Bantam) Division was sent to Salisbury Plain where it remained until it embarked for France in January 1916.
The 35 Division arrived in Le Havre, France on the 1 of February 1916 and entered the frontline trenches, on trench holding duties. In July 1916, the 35 Division was on the Somme in reserve trenches for the opening day of the battle; the division entered the frontline on the night of Monday 17 July to relieve the 18 Infantry Division.
The H.L.I. took over the line from Maltz Horn Farm to Longueval; during the day three enemy counter attacks were repelled. In the early hours of the 20 July, the battalion twice tried to take Munster trench, but were defeated by machine gun fire; at 5:30am they attacked High Wood.
After a 30-minute bombardment, the 105 Brigade attacked just to the south of Arrow Head Copse taking heavy casualties from machine-gun and shellfire, parties which entered the enemy line were shelled out. A second bombardment was then fired, before the 104 Brigade attacked at 11:35am but the result was the same. A further attack was launched on Saturday 22 in the same place, but this was also unsuccessful.
On Sunday 30 July, the 33 Division relieved the 35 Division who were sent too reserve trenches, to refit and receive new drafts of troops to replace their casualties. The division returned to the frontline at Arrow Head Copse to relieve the 3 Division on Monday the 21
of August and immediately attacked the enemy trench line at 5:am. The division met strong German opposition and the attack was unsuccessful, on the morning of Tuesday 22 the division relieved French troops in Angle Wood.
The 35 Division was withdrawn from the Somme battlefield shortly after this and sent to reserve trenches to refit. The division did not re-enter the frontlines until the Battle of the Somme was over and then only to reinforce the line. The British High Command now had to hold the gains taken by the Somme offensive, which had come to a halt in the November.
In July 1917 the 18 H.L.I. were holding the line close to the village of Tincourt about seven kilometres east of Peronne, in the south of the Somme battlefield. The battalion was involved in trench duties, under constant shellfire day and night; during the hours of darkness the troops patrolled no-mans land probing the enemy line and taking prisoners. Private Peter Sutherland was wounded on the 15 of July 1917 and taken to the Casualty Clearing Station at Tincourt, he died from his wounds before he received medical treatment.
Peter had two brothers who both served in the army during the First World War, William served in the Army Service Corps and Neil served in the Seaforth Highlanders. Neil was a Lovat Scout at the outbreak of the war; he was wounded in the face in 1917. In 1918 Neil was reported as killed in action, but this was incorrect, both brothers returned to Tongue at the end of the war.