Offering help to fellow heroes
91-YEAR-OLD ICKENHAM VETERAN SIGNS UP FOR CHARITY CAMPAIGN
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