Gunner Luther Sunderland

A white circle with a glove crossing it's fingers and the words: Made Possible with Heritage Fund.This man is a candidate for addition to Keighley's Supplementary Volume under the proposal to add further names in 2024, the centenary of the original roll of honour.
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Supported by the National Lottery's Heritage Fund, our project intends to submit about 120 names for peer review to add them to the book which is kept at Keighley Library. The unveiling of the book with it's new names is planned for November 2024, 100 years after the unveiling of the original war memorial.


Gunner. 6th Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery Service no. 85541.

Early life:

Luther was born on January 6, 1880. Parents Michael and Sarah Hannah Sunderland née Mitchell. His birth was registered in Keighley in the first quarter of the year.
In 1881 he was one year old and living on Vale Mill Lane, Lees, with his parents, one sister and one brother. His father Michael was a stone mason.
By 1891 he was eleven and a doffer in a worsted factory. He was living at East Terrace, Lees (Cross Roads) with his parents, sister Sarah Elizabeth aged 15 and a worsted weaver; brother Joseph aged 13, a jobber in a worsted factory; and his retired maternal grandfather Joseph Mitchell. His father was a stone contractor
In 1901 he was 21 years old and living at 68, Manneville Road in Keighley with his parents and sister. The family had been there since 1900. Michael was a contractor and Luther was now a stone mason.

Emigration:

He emigrated to Canada in 1905, travelling on the S.S. Cedric from Liverpool on September 1 of that year. His occupation was 'stone mason.'
Whilst he was away, his father Michael died on 3rd May 1908 aged 58 and was buried in St. John's Churchyard at Ingrow.

War service:

Prior to the outbreak of war Luther had served in Canada with the Halifax Militia. He enlisted at Montreal on November 15, 1914 and was called up on February 15, with 6th Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery. He was thirty five years old and working as a mason at the time.
He travelled overseas on February 23, 1915 and entered the Canadian Reserve Brigade on April 2 with the 1st Battery as a Driver . During this time he had a period of leave and was home on May 6 at 14, Park Avenue, Oakworth.
Luther was transferred to the 3rd Reserve Battery at the Canadian military establishment at Shorncliffe as a Gunner where he was admitted to Moore Barracks Hospital at Shorncliffe and died there of pneumonia (possibly consumption) on 11th November, 1915.
He was buried in grave 319, row O of Shorncliffe Military Cemetery, which is situated two miles West of Folkestone in Kent.
Note: There is no cause indicated in his Canadian service records for the pneumonia.

Post war:

His mother Sarah Hannah Sunderland received his personal effects after his death, plus his Great War Memorial Plaque and Scroll in 1921. He did not leave a will and his siblings all wrote to the authorities to disclaim any entitlement to his estate, before it could be awarded to his mother.
It appears Luther was at Shorncliffe for almost the whole of his service and did not serve abroad in a theatre of war, so he would not have been entitled to any medals.
He is remembered on the Oakworth War Memorial in Holden Park at Oakworth and on the Oakworth Wesleyan roll of honour at Oakworth Methodist Church. These were probably the result of his mother's request, as Luther does not seem to have had any personal connection to Oakworth.
He is also remembered in the Canadian Books of Remembrance which lie in the Memorial Chamber in the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill. They commemorate more than 120,000 Canadians who gave their life while serving in uniform.
Luther's widowed mother Sarah Hannah Sunderland was living at 41, Paget Street in Keighley in 1911 onwards and at 14, Park Avenue (Station Road) Oakworth until her death in the early part of 1939 and she was buried on 6th April 1936 in St. John's Churchyard at Ingrow, probably with her husband Michael.

Information sources:

1881 England Census
1891 England Census
1901 England Census
England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1837-1915
England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995
Passenger Lists leaving UK 1890-1960
Canada, Soldiers of the First World War, 1914-1918 (Service records)
Canada, CEF Commonwealth War Graves Registers, 1914-1919
UK and Ireland, Find A Grave Index, 1300s-Current
1911 England Census
England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007

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