|A pair of almost identical Cabinet Photographs showing two members of the St. John's Ambulance Brigade. The
ambulance man in the top photograph is identified on the reverse as Luke Suthers of Barnoldswick. The inscription
states that Suthers was "reported" in the Nelson Leader - a local Barnoldswick area news paper but fails to
mention the nature of the report. The man in the lower photograph is unidentified. Both men are outfitted in foreign
service order and were probably preparing to ship out to South Africa during the Boer War.
The Queen's South Africa Medal roll shows Luke Suthers serving as a Private with the St. John's Brigade Field
Hospital which was attached to the Rhodesian Field Force. He was entitled to the "Cape Colony", "Transvaal" and
the "South Africa 1901" clasps to his medal. He would have also been entitled to the St. John Ambulance Brigade
Medal for South Africa.
Luke Suthers was born in Barnoldswick, Yorkshire about 1879 the son of William F. Suthers and Mary Thoms. The
family like many others in the area were weavers by trade. Not long after the end of the war Luke turns up at Ellis
Island in New York arriving on the RMS Campania on 19 August, 1905. On the ship's manifest he is listed as being
born in Barnoldswick and a weaver by trade. His trip to the United States seems to have been more than a mere
holiday since he is listed in the 1910 census for Fall River, Massachusetts as married - his wife's name is given as
Annie - and still making a living as a weaver. He married Annie Ormrod in Fall River on 19 March, 1908. She too
was born in England being the daughter of Frederick J. Ormrod and Mary Brown.
Suthers' does not seem to have ever applied for naturalization and in the 1910 U.S. Census he was still shown as a
resident alien. While in the U.S. Suthers attended several courses relating to wool manufacture as was listed in the
1908 and 1909 editions National Association of Wool Manufacturers Bulletin as earning certificates in Plain Loom
Fixing, Box and Dobby Loom Fixing and Ring Spinning. The last reference that I can find of Luke Suthers in Fall
River is in the 1914 directory for that city where he is listed as a weaver and living at No. 87 Sutcliffe.
Luke Suthers along with his wife Annie and an unnamed child returned to England on 18 July, 1915 on board the
American Line S.S. St Louis. Although I have not found a precise reason for the Suthers family return to England it
could have been a result of World War One (I have found no records relating to Luke Suthers serving in that
conflict) or perhaps the needs of the family business - W.F. Suthers and Sons Ltd. - which had been founded by his
father. Luke Suthers ran the firm until it was liquidated in 1926. He continued in the textile trade with his brothers
and later was the proprietor of a petrol station. Luke Suthers died at the age of 51 at Preston, Lancashire in 1930.
An interesting thing about these two images is that they were purchased from two different sellers at separate times
and yet appear to have been taken on the same occasion. It even looks quite probable that these two men may have
had their respective photos taken during the same photographic session. It is also possible that these two men are
brothers - Luke and Frederick Suthers.
John Hart - Photographer
179 & 181 City Road, E.C. and 275 Leytonstone Road, E. London, England