New book by daughter tells of pilot’s escape

Goffinet reading from the book about her father Tom, a native of Carrickfergus. INCT 08-704-CON
Goffinet reading from the book about her father Tom, a native of Carrickfergus. INCT 08-704-CON

A Carrickfergus wartime pilot’s amazing escape from occupied Europe is told in a new book written by his USA-based daughter.

Tom Hutton, was serving with the RAF in 1943, when he was forced to bail out of a bomber plane over Belgium and only managed to evade Nazis clutches with the help of resistance fighters.

His daughter Goffinet McLaren (nee Hutton), who was born just weeks after the end of WWII, grew up in Carrick and attended the Model School, has penned this remarkable account.

Like many young children she was not particularly interested in conversations about “The War” and it was only years later when she and her husband, Ian, also a native of Northern Ireland, were unpacking after moving to the coast of South Carolina her curiosity was aroused. Goffinet found an old photograph of her father with a group of Belgian children who were visiting Carrick after the war. This stimulated a renewed interest in learning more of the details surrounding the escape, and ‘Tom: A Life Saved- Lives Lost!’ recounts the story.

Goffinet, who has been home on a number of occasions and has extended family living in the town, has written this as a personal tribute to the members of the Belgian and French Resistance who helped her father escape capture and probable death at the hands of the Nazis.

In the book she has followed his evasion path, recognising the brave families and individual members of resistance networks who eventually led to his successful repatriation to England in 1943.

Goffinet has drawn from her father`s personal notes, his RAF log book and multiple other sources on WWII history. Vitally important information was subsequently uncovered by a dedicated team of Belgian WWII researchers, and almost 70 years later, she also finally learned the full story of the village priest who was so instrumental in her father`s escape, and who was responsible for her unusual name.

‘Tom: A Life Saved~ Lives Lost!’ at