Rustington war hero, a highly-decorated tank commander who went on to work with the United Nations, dies aged 98

The amazing life of a Rustington war hero, a highly-decorated tank commander who went on to work with the United Nations, has been celebrated after he died at the age of 98.

A moving tribute has been posted by The Tank Museum, describing him as 'a man who was generous with his time, experience and wisdom'.

Dr Ken Tout had many adventures around the world and was described by his daughter as 'a giant among men'.

Rosalind Fountain, one of Ken's four children, said her stepmother Jai, Ken's wife of more than 40 years, had received emails from around the world since he died on Sunday, July 10.

Dr Ken Tout, a highly-decorated former tank commander

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Rosalind added: "His life and work took him from Hereford to Normandy, South American jungle to Buckingham Palace, Africa to the Vatican, Vienna to Bolivia, the United Nations to United States, with amazing adventures in many more, mixing with presidents, paupers, nuns and royalty, guerrillas and generals.

Dr Ken Tout with his books, including the much-praised Tank!

"Highly decorated – he once joked he might hire himself out as a Christmas tree! Order of the British Empire, Knight's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Polish Republic, French Legion of Honour, Doctor of Philosophy, tank commander, author, poet, composer, musician and so much more. Wise beyond measure, a true gentleman. Funny and cleverly witty, humble and a great inspiration."

Ken joined the 1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry at the age of 20. He helped to liberate starving Dutch citizens, having been caught in the middle of one of the harshest winters in Holland’s history. With the mercury plummeting to minus 30, he was just hours away from leading his Sherman tank in one of the most daring assaults since landing in Normandy on D-Day, six months earlier.

He also took part in the Canadian-led Operation Totalize, where his regiment had to assault up the ridge and create fortified positions. After Victory in Europe Day, Dr Tout finished his war in Palestine, leaving the military in 1946.

Ken went on to study theology and worked with the Salvation Army for 20 years, before moving on to Oxfam, Help the Aged and the United Nations, taking a particular interest in the ageing of the world's population. His passion was helping countries understand how to cope with their boom of elderly citizens. He obtained a citation for his work from the UN and was made an Honorary Research Fellow of Keele University.

Dr Ken Tout with Jai, his wife of more than 40 years

Ken wrote a number of books, including Tank!, considered by many to be the classic account of what it was like to be a tank crewman. The book details the life of a tank crew over 24 hours in the August heat of Normandy 1944.

His expertise was called upon to help with direction of acclaimed Second World War mini-series, Band of Brothers. However, he did not always see eye-to-eye with the programme’s director.

Speaking to the Gazette in 2014, Ken said: “I had an argument with the director because he lined up six tanks on a road and the Germans were going to blow them all up. That just wouldn’t have happened!

"And do you know what he said to me? ‘It’s what the camera requires’...”

The funeral service will be on Wednesday, August 10, at 2pm at Worthing Crematorium.