Hilda (Kutty) Hookham
Born Hilda Henriette Kuttner on 22 May 1915 in Hampstead to a mother with the last name of Allen, she married Maurice Hookham early in 1935 in Wandsworth. The Hookhams visited the USSR in 1936. A year later, she became organiser for the National Union of Students and had already joined the Communist Party. Known widely as `Kutty’ in her youth, as she had acquired the nick-name at school as a contraction of her unmarried name.
The Anglo-Soviet Youth Friendship Alliance had been created in the summer of 1941 out of broad solidarity with the Red Army. When he had been ambassador in Moscow, Sir Stafford Cripps had become friendly with Maurice Hookham. Thus it was Cripps who now selected Kutty as General Secretary of ASYFA. Whilst she had kept her Party membership discreet, in the hope of future career development, it was actually not a secret, thought the US State Department quickly ascertained that she was a member and would make much of the supposed secrecy.
In 1944, she was appointed Secretary of the World Youth Council and was the main British contact for the subsequent World Federation of Democratic Youth. [The Children's Newspaper, May 6 1944]
Given the break-up by Britain and the US of bodies associated with the wartime alliance, WFDY now became a target for McCarthyite harassment. Kutty’s name was widely banded about in early 1950s courtrooms in America as evident for supposedly underhand practices.
This led the Hookhams to move towards a quieter life from the late 1950s. A s Hilda Hookham, she produced a series of articles and books with connections to China and the Soviet Union. To her credit there are the following books:
• A Short History of China 37 copies
• Tamburlaine the Conqueror.
• A Short History of the Philippines
• A History of China (Unabridged)
She also published in Gistory Today, for example a history of the Trans-Siberian Railway. [Volume 16 Issue 8 August 1966]
Kutty died late in 1971 in Leicester.