Louth war veteran’s special story to be shared

Patrick Hagan at the exhibition in Sessions House in Louth on Thursday. EMN-141209-155633001
Patrick Hagan at the exhibition in Sessions House in Louth on Thursday. EMN-141209-155633001
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The first screening of a special documentary about the wartime memories of Louth man Patrick Hagan, known locally as the founder of Mr Chips, is to take place on Saturday afternoon (September 13) in the Conoco Room at Louth Library.

Following the ‘Wolds in Wartime’ exhibition at Sessions House in Eastgate on Saturday (10am-4pm), which is being held by ‘Down Your Wold’ in association with Lincolnshire Remembrance and Louth Town Council, members of the public are invited to the screening which will see 89-year-old Patrick talking about his experiences of the Second World War.

As a young man, Patrick joined the Marines before volunteering for the Commando Unit during World War Two, and carried out his rigorous training in Achnacarry in the Scottish Highlands. He is now one of the few surviving British Commandos.

Speaking on Thursday morning (September 11), Patrick told the Leader: “It’s quite amusing to have this documentary about me, as I never talked about my experiences for 50 years.”

His voice cracking with emotion, Patrick added: “I am sickened... I am sickened by what I did.

“As a Commando, we were told to ‘obey to the letter’ as there are only two kinds of Commando... the quick, and the dead.

“I survived the training, but around 40 per cent of people dropped out. The only good thing about Achnacarry was the food. At times, I thought, ‘I should have joined the Girl Guides!’”

Artefacts belonging to Patrick can be seen at the current exhibition at Sessions House, including a captured Nazi flag and a wide array of war medals. The full story of his fascinating war memories can be discovered during the hour-and-a-half documentary.

His story was filmed by volunteer Paul Espin from Sutton on Sea, who said: “I felt very honoured to be able to produce a film that gives such an insight into Patrick’s early life, his time as a Commando, and his subsequent visit to France and Belgium for the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day Landings this year. His story is detailed and extraordinary, and I got around two hours of footage. His story is very poignant and a reminder of the bravery people show during times of conflict.

“Our freedom today is due to the actions of people like Patrick, and we cannot negate their importance. Social history is a hobby of mine, but one of the main reasons that I spend time collating the stories of war veterans is that we need to tell their stories while we can.”

If the first screening is well-received on Saturday, Mr Espin hopes that the documentary will be shown again locally in the future. The free screening of the documentary on Saturday (September 13), at 4.30pm in the Conoco Room above Louth Library, is open to all.

• For more information about Paul Espin’s work and to hear more about the wartime experiences of local people, visit his website at www.livingthroughww2.com