Squadron Leader Edward Davies Suter, the son of Robert Annandale Suter and Hannah Suter, was born at Blackheath in New South Wales on 2nd October 1916. He was educated at the Toowoomba Grammar School. He was enrolled in the Reserve of the R.A.A.F. on 13th April 1940 after swearing the statutory oath of allegiance. At the time of his enrolment he was unmarried, employed as a Clerk with the Commonwealth Bank in Townsville and residing at Bay View Guest House, Stanton Hill, Townsville, Queensland. At the age of 24 years and 1 month he was enlisted into the Citizen Air Force of the R.A.A.F. at Brisbane in Queensland on 13th April 1940 after giving an undertaking that he would serve for the duration of the war and an additional twelve months. He had previously served for five months as a Private in the Citizen Military Forces with the 31st Infantry Battalion (Kennedy Regiment). His physical description at the time of his enlistment was that he was 5 feet 11 inches in height and weighed 140 pounds. He had a fair complexion, green eyes and light brown hair. He stated that he was of the Presbyterian religion. He gave his next of kin as his wife, Mrs D. Suter, residing c/- L.T. Warrick, Stafford Road, Stafford Heights, Brisbane. He also gave his brother, Mr J. McI. Suter, residing at 42 Ellalong Road, Cremorne, Sydney, as a person to be notified in the event of injury or death.
Squadron Leader Edward Suter was allotted the service number of 404791. He joined No. 2 Initial Training School at Lindfield in New South Wales on 10th November 1940. He joined No. 1 Air Observer School at Cootamundra in New South Wales on 6th February 1941. He joined No. 1 Bombing & Gunnery School at Evans Head in New South Wales on 5th May 1941. After completing his training at Evans Head he was awarded the Air Observer Qualification Badge on 28th June 1941. He joined No. 1 Air Navigation School at Parkes in New South Wales for training in astro navigation on 30th June 1941. He was appointed as a Pilot Officer on 1st August 1941. He joined No. 3 Embarkation Depot at Sandgate in Queensland on 6th August 1941 and later transferred to No. 2 Embarkation Depot at Bradfield Park in Sydney on 26th Augusts 1941 to prepare for service overseas on attachment to the Royal Air Force. He emplaned at Sydney in New South Wales on 1st September 1941. He joined No. 36 Squadron Royal Air Force at Seletar, Singapore on the 18th September 1941. He was transferred to No. 100 Squadron Royal Air Force on 4th December 1941. With the Japanese about to invade Singapore he was returned to Australia on 30th December 1941. Promoted to the rank of Flying Officer on 1st February 1942.
Squadron Leader Edward Suter, after his return to Australia joined No. 1 Reserve Personnel Pool at Townsville. He joined Headquarters (Southern Area) Townsville on 14th June 1942. He proceeded by air to join No. 100 Squadron in New Guinea on 4th September 1942 and he arrived in New Guinea on the following day and he returned to Australia on 26th February 1943. He joined No. 1 Reserve Personnel Pool on 26th February 1943. He joined Headquarters (Southern Area) on 8th March 1943. He was promoted to the rank of Flight Lieutenant on 1st April 1943. He joined No. 1 Air Navigation School at Parkes in New South Wales on 26th April 1943. He joined the Base Torpedo Unit at Nowra in New South Wales on 15th May 1943 for training in torpedo dropping procedures and tactics using Beaufort aircraft. He joined No. 6 Operational Training Unit also based at Nowra on 8th June 1943. He was seriously injured in an aircraft accident on 8th September 1943 suffering a compound fracture of tibia and right femur and he was admitted to the David Berry Hospital at Nowra in New South Wales.
Squadron Leader Edward Suter appears to have been with No. 3 Hospital at R.A.A.F. Base Richmond during the period 13th February 1944 until 15th December 1944 when he joined R.A.A.F. Headquarters as an Air Priority Officer. He was promoted to the rank of Temporary Squadron Leader on 1st July 1944. He again served in New Guinea during the period 24th March with as the Air Priority Officer with No. 9 Transport Movement Office until 11th June 1945. He joined No. 3 Personnel Depot on 11th June 1945. He joined No. 67 Squadron at Laverton in Victoria on 20th July 1945 for duty as an Air Observer.
Squadron Leader Edward Suter was admitted to the Central Sick Quarters at R.A.A.F. Station Laverton suffering from severe head injuries on 12th August 1945. He died of his injuries and his body was transferred to the city morgue on 13th August 1945 for a coroner’s inquiry. Wing Commander W.A. Seldon, Senior Medical Officer, R.A.A.F. Station Laverton submitted the following report on 30th August 1945:
About 0900 hours on 12th August 1945 I was called to one of the Officers’ Mess Huts to pick up an officer who had sustained a gunshot wound of the head. He was fully dressed except for his tunic but had no identity discs or card. However he was identified as No. 404791 Squadron Leader Edward Davies Suter, by 412431 Flight Lieutenant B.M. Haldane and 409271 Flying Officer N. B. Mann. Squadron Leader Suter was unconscious when picked up and his condition gradually deteriorated, and he died without regaining consciousness at 0100 hours on 13th August. On examination he had an entry wound in the temporal region about half an inch above the right ear and an exit wound about 2 inches above and behind the left ear. The edges of the entry wound showed black marks which appeared to be powder marks. In my opinion the wounds were consistent with those of a self-inflicted injury, and were the cause of his death. Funeral arrangements were by B. Matthews Pty. Ltd, 102 Toorak Road, South Yarra. Buried at Springvale Cemetery (Grave No. 2TB6).
Squadron Leader Edward Suter’s personal file and his repatriation file contain information that may have led to his decision to end his life. Folios 28-31 of his personal file are of a detrimental confidential report submitted on 2nd May 1945 by the Commanding Officer of his unit which suggested unsuitability in his appointment. Information on letters written to his wife shortly before his death that went missing and a mutilated will and a replacement one can be found on his repatriation file.
Squadron Leader Edward Suter, for his service during World War 2, had entitlement for the Air Observer Qualification Badge, the 1939/1945 Star, the War Medal and the Australian Service Medal 1939/1945. His name is commemorated on Panel No. 103 at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and locally on the Toowoomba Grammar School World War 2 Honour Board.
Toowoomba Grammar School archive records show that he enrolled as a day student on 3rd February 1930 and left the School on 8th December 1933. His parent was shown as Mr R.A. Suter of Brisbane. He passed the Junior examination in eight subjects, and the Senior examination in five subjects. He played cricket for the School and after leaving school he joined the Commonwealth Bank.