The Encyclopaedia of Plymouth History
WILLIAM THOMAS HUTCHINGS (1892-1943)
William Thomas Hutchings was born in 1892 to Police Constable William Hutchings and his wife Elizabeth, of Whitford Street, Shute, Whitford, near Axminster, Devon.
At the age of 19 he was a solicitor’s clerk boarding in 1911 with hairdresser Mr Edwin James Bridgman I Fore Street, Moretonhampstead, Devon.
In July 1913 he became clerk to the Chief Constable of the Devonport Borough Police. His diligence and keenness, not to mention the knowledge of police law gained from six years as a solicitor’s clerk and magistrates’ clerk, soon saw him promoted under the combined Plymouth Borough Police Force after November 1914. In February 1933 he became a superintendent and in 1939 Deputy Chief Constable. He was appointed a chief superintendent in the spring of 1941. It was said that ‘his close interest in the work of crime investigation in Plymouth is reflected in the fully-equipped laboratory and modern methods of filing and crime indexing.’
Chief Superintendent Hutchings was appointed as Chief Constable of Plymouth on Wednesday October 29th 1941 in succession to Mr G S Lowe, who left to take up a similar position at Sheffield. He took up post on Monday December 1st.
However, for some while he suffered from indifferent health and had been on sick leave when he passed away at the City Hospital in 1943. He was 51 years of age.
On the day of his funeral policed lined the roads between his home in Compton Park Villas Road and Emmanuel Church and after the service some 400 officers from Plymouth, Devon and Cornwall walked in procession to Efford Cemetery.
The service was conducted by the vicar of Emmanuel, the Reverend R J W Morris, who spoke of Mr Hutchings using a quote he had been given by one of his former staff: ‘He was a just man. One always felt that whatever the rank one held, one would always get a square deal’.
As a farewell gesture the Plymouth Police Male Voice Choir, which he had been instrumental in founding, sang “The Long Day Closes”.
On the coffin in addition to the family wreaths was his uniform cap. The coffin was carried by Police Sergeants S Boddy, C Hayes, W Lockyer, W Loram, L C Roy, R Stephens, and M Wilson.
The deceased’s father attended the funeral but no female members of the family were present.
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