Signalman Thomas Kenneth Hutt, Royal Navy
HMS Laforey

Town Memorial World War II

Service Number P/JX 237492

Died 30/03/1944
Aged 31
H.M.S. Laforey
Royal Navy
Son of Thomas William and Kate Ethel Hutt; husband of Bessie Hutt, of Dronfield, Derbyshire.
Location: Hampshire, United Kingdom
Cemetery/memorial reference: Panel 84, Column 2.
HMS Laforey (G99) was a L-class destroyer of the Royal Navy. She was commissioned in and served during the Second World War, and was torpedoed and sunk by a U-boat in 1944. She had been adopted by the civil community of Northampton in November 1941.

30 March 1944 - Anzio beachead [source: Wikipedia]
Laforey returned to Naples and was deployed off Anzio on 9 March 1944 on support and patrol duties that were scheduled to last until 19 March. On 23 March she again returned to Anzio and on 24 March she was deployed for night interception and anti-submarine patrols with Grenville. On 25 March they engaged a number of E-boats after picking them up on their radar. Laforey then sailed to Naples.

She deployed for another patrol off the west coast of Italy on 28 March and on 29 March she carried out a hunt for U-223 north of Palermo, in company with the destroyers Tumult, Tuscan, Urchin, Hambledon and Blencathra. U-223 had been detected by Ulster during a routine sweep. The search lasted until 30 March, when after sustaining several hours of depth charge attacks, U-223 surfaced, and was then attacked by the destroyers with gunfire at a range of 1,500 yards (1,400 m).

U-223 was able to fire three torpedoes which struck Laforey. She sank quickly, resulting in the loss of most of her company, including her captain. There were only 65 survivors out of the 247 on board. One survivor was Petty Officer Ronald Sired, who gives an account of life on board and the sinking in "Enemy Engaged", published in 1957. U-223 was sunk soon afterwards, and the survivors from Laforey and U-223 were picked up by Blencathra, Hambledon and Tumult.

The BBC People's War website has an account of the sinking.

The crew of HMS Laforey have been listed.

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.

His life

Thomas Kenneth Hutt was born on 18 September 1912 in Sheffield, one of a number of Hutt men called Thomas.

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 in 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, Robert Keith 1920-1941, and Mary Katrine 1918-1997.

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

According the press report the Hutts came to Leatherhead in about 1934 when Thomas would have been about 22. His parents lived at 29 Randalls Road, Leatherhead.

In April 1938 Thomas married Bessie (Elizabeth) Locke, registered Q2. She was born in Sheffield on 21 September 1913. In the 1939 England & Wales Register they were at 91 Furniss Avenue, Dore, Sheffield.

He is commemorated on a memorial at Totley Rise Methodist church, Sheffield, and on the memorial at Christ Church, the parish church of Dore, Sheffield.
In 1945 his father retired after four years as Organist at Dorking Methodist Church. As noted in the press report, Thomas's brother 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 also died in 1999.

Bessie married again on 12 March 1947 and became Mrs Ronald D Biggin. He was a printer, living at The Moorlands, Dronfield, Sheffield in 1950.

Thomas Hutt is remembered on these memorials
High Storrs Grammar School War Memorial, Sheffield
Leatherhead Town Memorial
Leatherhead RBL Roll of Honour, Leatherhead Parish Church
Totley Rise Methodist church, Sheffield
Christ Church memorial, Dore, Sheffield

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