Sergeant (Observer) Robert Keith Hutt RAFVR
57 Squadron Royal Air Force

Town Memorial World War II

Sergeant (Observer)

Service Number 1161691
Died 07/09/1941
Aged 21
57 Sqdn.
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Son of Thomas William and Kate Ethel Hutt, of Leatherhead, Surrey.
Location: Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Cemetery/memorial reference: 25. C. 15.

At that time No.57 Squadron Royal Air Force was in No.3 Group Bomber Command. Later it became part of No. 5 Group Bomber Command. It was stationed at RAF Feltwell, NW of Thetford in Suffolk.

Robert Hutt's aircrew role as Observer dated back to the First World War when the navigator also dropped the bombs. During WW2 as equipment and aircraft became more sophisticated the Observer role with its prized O brevet was split into two new specialist aircrew roles - Navigator (N brevet), and Bomb Aimer (B brevet).

WR Chorley's RAF Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War, 1941 volume states:

6-7 September 1941 57 Sqn - Wellington 1C - Z8794 DX-H op: Hüls
took off from RAF Feltwell 2110. All are buried in the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery.
Pilot: Sgt NJ Lake
2nd Pilot: Sgt BA Clark RNZAF
Observer: Sgt RK Hutt
Wireless OP/Gunner: Sgt HM Elder
Wireless OP/Gunner: Sgt GW Richardson
Gunner: Flt Sgt JA Brooks

The RAF Bomber Command War Diaries (Middlebrook & Everitt) describes the attack on the target:

6-7 September 1941 HÜLS

86 aircraft - 41 Whitleys, 27 Wellingtons, 18 Hampdens - to bomb a chemical factory. Good results were claimed in clear weather. 5 Whitleys and 2 Wellingtons lost.

The records (if they still exist), of the retrieval of the bodies of the crew by the Germans and their subsequent reburial in the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, might at least give some indication about whether the aircraft went down on the way to, or over, or on the way back from the target. The cause of the the loss is not known - flak, night fighter, being hit by bombs from above seem more likely than loss of fuel, or mechanical issues which would have allowed at least some of the crew to bale out. We shall probably never know. The Squadron Operations Book will simply have noted either 'Missing' or 'Failed to Return'.

The Pilot, Sgt Noel John Lake, is commemorated by a stained glass  window in Christ Church, Portsdown, Hampshire.
The crew, like all lost on Bomber Command, are commemorated on the panels of the International Bomber Command Memorial at Canwick Hill, Lincoln.

No announcement at the time in the local press has yet been found for Robert's death. It was mentioned in the announcement of the death of his elder brother in 1944:

Surrey Advertiser
Saturday 27 May 1944
Mr. and Mrs. Hutt, 29, Randalls Road. Leatherhead, have been officially notified that their son, Signaller Thomas Kenneth Hutt, R.N., who was reported missing on Good Friday, was killed in action. Signaller Hutt Joined the Royal Navy three years ago. He was 31 years of age, and before the war a secretary to a firm in Sheffield. He had also been a professional footballer, and played for Grantham, Newark, and Goole Town. He leaves a widow, but no children. Mr. and Mrs. Hutt have lived in Leatherhead for seven years.

Their younger son, Sergt. Observer Robert Keith Hutt, R.A.F., aged 21, was killed on an operational flight over Germany in September, 1941. He was a Sunday school teacher at Leatherhead Methodist Church.

There is a file for this crew (AIR 81/8876, not seen) in the National Archives 'With photographs.'

His life

Robert Keith Hutt was born on 7 June 1920 in Sheffield. His maternal grandfather was called Robert.

His father was Thomas William Hutt, born Sheffield 5 April 1883. His death at the age of 85 in 1968 was registered in the Kerrier district of Cornwall.
His mother was Kate Ethel Meeke, born Sheffield 7 July 1881, died September 1972 in Chesterfield, Derbyshire.

His parents married in Sheffield in early 1910 and according to the 1911 Census lived at 67 Primrose Avenue, Shiregreen, Sheffield.
His father was Cashier for a firm of Wood Toy manufacturers.

His siblings were Kathleen 1911-1999, Thomas Kenneth abt1913-1944, and Mary Katrine 1918-1997.

Robert and his elder brother Thomas were at High Storrs Grammar School, Sheffield and are named on its War Memorial.

According the press report of his brother's death the Hutts came to Leatherhead in about 1934 when Robert would have been about 14.

The 1939 England & Wales National Register recorded the Hutt family at Kaystolme, no.29 Randalls Road, Leatherhead, as follows:
Thomas W Hutt  born 5 April 1883, married, Chartered Secretary
Kate E Hutt, married, born 7 July 1881, unpaid domestic work
Mary K Hutt, single, born  8 April 1918, Certificated asst schoolteacher (married 24 November 1943, Spooner)
Robert K Hutt, single, born 7 June 1920, Builders Clerk

In the 1939 Electoral Register the voters at 29 Randalls Road, Leatherhead were his parents and sister Mary Katrine Hutt

In 1945 his father retired after four years as Organist at Dorking Methodist Church. As noted in the press report, Robert was a Sunday school teacher at Leatherhead Methodist Church.

His parents were still at Randalls Road in 1958. As already noted his father's death was registered in Cornwall in 1968 and his mother's in Chesterfield, Derbyshire in 1972, where his sister Kathleen died in 1999.

Robert Hutt is remembered on these memorials
High Storrs Grammar School War Memorial, Sheffield
Leatherhead Town Memorial
Leatherhead RBL Roll of Honour, Leatherhead Parish Church
International Bomber Command Centre Memorial Canwick Hill, Lincoln
(search for his name via the Losses Database link)

the website editor would like to add further information on this casualty
e.g. a photo of him, his headstone, and of any recollections of him

last updated 200620