Written by Curator David Willey.
We are sad to have learned of the passing of Second World War veteran Ken Tout, at the age of 98.
As a 20-year-old conscript, Ken fought with C Squadron of the 1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry, a unit that landed on D Day and which fought in the NW Europe campaign.
His unit was involved in Operation Totalise where Tigers of Heavy SS-Panzer Battalion 101 were engaged and destroyed.
Ken Tout was honest in later life to question the constant lauding of German Armour and the belittling of the Allied armoured efforts.
He cited how the change in tactics and skillful use of the Allied resources brought victory – along with the indomitable spirit of the average British soldier.
After the war, Ken returned to study Theology then worked with charities such as Oxfam, the Salvation Army and the United Nations – taking a particular interest in the ageing of the worlds population. He obtained a citation for his work from the UN and was made an Honorary Research Fellow of Keele University.
Ken wrote a number of books on his and his colleagues wartime experiences – ‘Tank!’ details the life of a tank crew over 24 hours in the August heat of Normandy 1944 and is considered by many to be the classic account of what it was like to be a tank crewman.
He later wrote on the nature of courage pointing out that:
“in the moment of utter crisis, it is often the quiet, modest man, rather than the braggart or bully, who steps up to accept the ultimate challenge of imminent death.”
Ken was a father of four, husband to Jai and a man who was generous with his time, experience and wisdom. As a member of “the greatest generation”, Ken was highly respected by all who had the pleasure to meet him here at The Tank Museum.
Dr. Ken Tout OBE
1924 – 2022