Sutherland was invited to discuss the possibility of a WAAC commission, in June 1940. As a result, he agreed to work on the subject of the transport of armaments by rail, although he had wanted to work on big gun foundries. This was the beginning off almost continuous employment until the end of the war. Over the time of these commissions, Sutherland's subjects covered bomb damage in South Wales and London; iron and steel manufacture in South Wales; Cornish tin mines; opencast coal production; limestone quarrying in Derbyshire; and subjects in Northern France. There is little mention of specific works, the file comprising mostly administrative papers, discussion of expenses, correspondence regarding Sutherland's exemption from military service, and similar matters.
By the end of July 1940, he had submitted three pictures (5), of which two were acquired and was then to go on to do munitions subjects. A further picture of the first series was acquired after exhibition at the Leicester Galleries (11), for 15 guineas.
In August, he was given another commission (6) for pictures of air raid damage and debris, for 50 guineas. At the time Sutherland was undergoing training as a munitions gauge maker and the commission had to be worked around this. He was to travel to Wales, and asked for a petrol allowance so that he might travel by car, to be "screened" from the curiosity or resentment of the inhabitants of the bombed areas.
In September he travelled to Cardiff, where he found little to work on, and moved on to Swansea. In his letter at (23), he details the subjects worked on so far. The committee accepted eight gouaches (LD 613-9) for this commission, and purchased an additional oil (LD 620) for 35 guineas (26), (43). In his letter at (34), Sutherland discusses the media of his submitted pictures.
He was then offered a full-time, six-month commission for the Ministries of Home Security and Supply, at the rate of £325, starting 1 January 1941. This was renewed, commencing 27 September, and again in June 1942 and January 1943, with an additional month added; again from the 1st August 1943 (production subjects), with an increase of the salary to £375 per six months; a further four months from 1 April 1944; three months from August 1944 and again in November 1944.
A letter at (190) mentions the possibility of Sutherland painting the subject of British Insulated Cables Ltd, accompanied by a letter from Hubert Wellington describing the subject.
In December 1944, Sutherland finally made a trip to France, which he had been requesting for several months, to paint bomb damage and bomb storage caves, under the auspices of SHAEF, and in his letter at (234) he outlines the works done (LD 5542 5554 cover these subjects).
Post war material concerns enquiries and reproductions, and Ernest Blaikley's attempts to clear up the identities of certain pictures.