Tag Archives: FWW

Llandudno’s WW1 Pierrot – Sydney Sutcliffe

2 Oct

Killed in action today 1917, Second Lieutenant Sydney Sutcliffe of Roumania Crescent, Llandudno serving with the Royal Flying Corps.  Syd was born in Bradford but moved to Llandudno when his father, Arthur, the well-known entertainer came to the resort to open a summer show at Llandudno’s Pier Head Pavilion. Before enlisting in the army, the young Sydney was a ‘Pierrot’ in his father’s shows.

Initially with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, Sutcliffe went to France with his battalion and saw a “tremendous amount of fighting” at Ypres and the Somme.  He was awarded the Military Medal in April 1916 for his actions during a German gas attack.  He later volunteered for the Royal Flying Corps and late in the afternoon of the 2nd October 1917 along with pilot, Justin McKenna, took off from an airfield near Arras in a Bristol F2b bi-plane. Sydney Sutcliffe was the observer and gunner in the aircraft but after an hour it was surrounded by seven German planes near Cambrai.  During the ensuing dogfight, McKenna and Sutcliffe saw off four of the enemy before they were brought down themselves with the loss of both men. The young Llandudno man was granted a funeral with full military honours. The full account of the burial is available here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/world-war-one/10340753/WW1-deaths-showed-the-humanity-amid-the-horror.html

Later the bodies of McKenna (the uncle of actress and wildlife campaigner Virginia McKenna) and Sutcliffe were re-interred at Cabaret Rouge British Cemetery.

Back in Llandudno Arthur Sutcliffe held an annual ‘Syd Sutcliffe Wounded Soldiers Benefit Fund’ at the Pier Head Pavilion in memory of his late son.