Admiral John Cronyn Tovey, Baron Tovey (1885-1971) was born on 7 March 1885 in Rochester, Kent, the son of Lt Col Hamilton Tovey, Royal Engineers. He attended Durnford School, Langton Matravers, Dorset, followed by naval training at Dartmouth on HMS Britannia and in 1901 became a midshipman on HMS Majestic.

In October 1940 Tovey was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Home Fleet. From his flagship HMS King George V at Scapa Flow on 20 May 1941, Tovey planned to find and destroy the German battleship Bismarck before she could attack the vital Atlantic convoys.

As Bismarck headed south for St Nazaire and safety on 25 May, she disappeared from the view of her pursuers. When found again her twin rudders were disabled by torpedoes from Swordfish bombers. This slowed her down allowing Tovey to catch her. On 27 May Tovey orchestrated Bismarck’s destruction.

Admiral Tovey received many honours, including the Distinguished Service Order (DSO), Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB), Knight Commander of the British Empire (KBE) and Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (GCB). In 1945 Tovey became First and Principal Naval Aide-de-Camp to King George VI, and Baron Tovey, of Langton Matravers in 1946.

In 1916 Tovey married Aida Rowe. From 1948 to 1952 they lived at Tormohoun (later Tor House and redeveloped in 2018), Maybury Hill. Tovey was honorary president of Woking and District Chamber of Trade. Lord Tovey died on 12 January 1971 and is buried with his wife in Godlingston Cemetery, Swanage, Dorset.

See the display in Woking's Story.