Arthur Hutt VC – Pt 2

Extract from local Observer newspapers.
A FIRST World War hero has reunited a family a century after he won a Victoria Cross. Relatives of Corporal Arthur Hutt held a reunion at the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers Museum (Royal Warwickshire) in Warwick to commemorate their famous ancestor.

Coventry-born Corporal Hutt was 28-years-old, and a then private in the 1/7th Battalion of The Royal Warwickshire Regiment, when he demonstrated extraordinary courage during the battle of Passchendaele in 1917.

On October 4, Private Hutt took command of his platoon after all the officers were hit during the advance on the villages of Poelcapelle and Passchendaele. He charged an enemy post alone and shot the officer and three men, and some 50 other enemy soldiers then surrendered. Later he covered his platoon members by sniping the enemy, and then carried back a wounded man to shelter, before returning under heavy fire to rescue a further four wounded comrades.

Arthur returned home to a hero’s welcome in Coventry in January 1918 and was met at the station and given a civic reception at the Council House.

He was finally demobbed in 1919 and returned home to his wife Alice, a new baby daughter and his job at Courtaulds. He became a works inspector. His last job was working at the main reception of the Standard Motor Company in Canley, where he was a much respected employee.

Arthur died in April 1954 at the home of a relative in Coventry. He was cremated at Canley Crematorium with full military honours. Along with the VC, the valiant veteran, who was born in 1889, and was one of ten children, was also awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal 1914-20, Victory Medal 1914-19, Defence Medal 1939-45, George VI Coronation Medal 1937, Elizabeth II Coronation Medal 1953 and Territorial Efficiency Medal.

The VC – the highest award for gallantry “in the presence of the enemy” awarded to members of the British armed forces – and the other medals are in the possession of grandson Steve Taylor, and the reunion in Warwick was the first time many of the 32 who attended had actually seen the VC. For many it was also the first time they had met some family members.

After an engraved paving stone was unveiled last October in front of Arthur’s memorial in Coventry’s War Memorial Park, a number of relatives commented on the museum’s Facebook page that they had not been invited and would like to have a reunion.

The whereabouts of the medals had for a long time been something of a mystery. On Steve’s 21st birthday his mother presented him with all the medals, but he was not allowed to tell anybody he had them. He honoured her wishes until she passed away. It was then that Steve contacted the museum. He said: “It was overwhelming to meet all my family for the first time.”

Museum curator Stephanie Bennett said it was an honour to host the reunion and see the VC.

She said: “It was a big surprise to be contacted by Steve saying that he had the Victoria Cross, and a thrill and a pleasure to meet him and see the VC. It was an honour and moving to host the reunion, to see how happy all the family were to see the VC at last.”