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Richard Latimer Sutton was born in 1883 in Atcham in Shropshire, the son of William and Ellen Sutton (nee Mahoney). By 1901, Richard at 18 was an electric tram conductor, and was staying with his brother-in-law, William Rushton, in Branksome in Dorset. Richard married Edith London on 30 November in Bilston in 1904. By 1911, the couple were living at 6 Cross Street, Stafford, together with their son William and three boarders, Sarah Sutton (clearly a relation), Nellie Shields and William Shields. In the same year, Richard became a Motor Body Painter for Sunbeam Motor Company.

On 7 November 1914, Richard enlisted into the 3rd North Midland Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery (number 1539) as a Driver. He was posted to France on 28 February 1915 and remained there until 12 March 1916 (with one leave home). He was discharged from the army on 24 July 1917 as being physically unfit, although his service records do not give further details. The only clue is on his pension records, which detail his disability as “V.D.M.”. This appears to relate to a liver condition called “Vasodepressor Material”, which results in low blood pressure and fainting fits. He was granted the Victory Medal and the British War Medal, along with a weekly pension of £45 and £15 for the children.

Although only one child appears on the 1911 census return (William John, born 1904), Richard’s military service records list the following six children (which do not include William – it is possible that William had died in the interim): May, Doris, Albert, Ivy, Edith and Richard. He also appears to have had a further three children after the war – twins Florence and Helen in 1918, and Edward in 1922. Richard himself died in 1940 in Bilston at the age of 58.

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