Of­fer­ing help to fel­low he­roes

91-YEAR-OLD ICKENHAM VET­ERAN SIGNS UP FOR CHAR­ITY CAM­PAIGN

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

A PEN­SIONER who was awarded France’s high­est honour for ser­vices dur­ing the Sec­ond World War is to raise funds for his “fel­low Ser­vice­men and Women” at Kings Cross Sta­tion this sum­mer as part of Armed Forces Week.

Pa­trick Man­ion, 91, from Ickenham, served in the Royal Navy dur­ing the lat­ter stages of the con­flict, and has been a vol­un­teer for Help for He­roes for sev­eral years.

Dur­ing the war he served as a coder on HMS Wil­ton, a Hunt-class de­stroyer, and mainly served in the Mediter­ranean, where he wit­nessed the Bat­tle of Athens, and the North Sea.

Pa­trick was given the Le­gion d’hon­neur in 2016 when liv­ing in France but is mod­est about his wartime ex­pe­ri­ences com­pared to the tri­als and tribu­la­tions that ser­vice per­son­nel en­counter in the line of duty.

He said: “I have such re­spect for our ser­vice per­son­nel. When you think I was awarded a medal for sit­ting in a lit­tle of­fice on the ship. Whereas chaps at the time and to this day are out in the thick of the ac­tion. It must have been fright­en­ing.”

Pa­trick wit­nessed the sink­ing of a Royal Naval ship af­ter it struck a mine, bring­ing the re­al­i­ties of war to home.

The 91-year-old said the pos­si­bil­ity of sink­ing and not know­ing when some­thing might hap­pen was the scari­est as­pect.

He said: “The ship went down like a stone. That’s when I thought that this was se­ri­ous stuff.

“It was very sad and shook us all up a fair bit. It was a real eye opener, and on­board you al­ways had to do ev­ery­thing by your­self, so we all grew up quickly.

“The loss also made me think what I am go­ing to do with my life.”

Af­ter the end of the war, Pa­trick worked for Trans­port for Lon­don as an ac­coun­tant, be­fore retiring and be­com­ing a vol­un­teer in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Now, his sights are set firmly on help­ing the na­tion’s wounded, in­jured and sick ser­vice­men and women on their re­cov­ery jour­neys, and it is a mis­sion that the vet­eran is keen to per­form in any pos­si­ble method.

He said: “It is a great thing to vol­un­teer and is the least we can do to help them.

“I have got such ad­mi­ra­tion and re­spect for all who have served, and we (Pa­trick and son Paul) will do ev­ery­thing we can in sup­port of Help for He­roes and those in need.”

For more in­for­ma­tion about Vol­un­teer­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, visit: help­forheroes.org.uk/ give-sup­port/vol­un­teer/

Pa­trick Man­ion will vol­un­teer for Help for He­roes

Pa­trick Man­ion re­ceived the Le­gion d’hon­neur in 2016

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