90-year-old Portsmouth veteran says Remembrance 'means everything to me'

FOR Peter Hackett, the armed forces has played a pivotal role in most of his life.

By David George
Monday, 11th November 2019, 6:00 am
Veteran Peter Hackett. Picture: Habibur Rahman
Veteran Peter Hackett. Picture: Habibur Rahman

He spent 25 years in the Royal Marines, was paralysed during active service and met his wife Nancy through injury.

Every year, without fail, the 90-year-old makes his way to Guildhall Square for Portsmouth’s Remembrance Sunday service.

With a front row seat, he watched as the armed forces paraded through the streets on Sunday, before laying a wreath at the Cenotaph.

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Peter Hackett rose to the rank of Corporal during his time in the Royal Marines. Picture: Habibur Rahman

‘When Remembrance Sunday comes around I have an awful lot to remember,’ he said.

‘I lost a lot of good friends during my time in the Royal Marines – they gave their lives so that everybody in front of me today could be here.

‘Remembrance means everything to me, I wouldn’t miss it for anything.’

While fighting in the ill-fated Suez Canal conflict, Corporal Hackett was shot in the back, leaving him paralysed for the rest of his life.

Peter Hackett laid a wreath at the Cenotaph after the Remembrance service in Portsmouth. Picture: Habibur Rahman

But while receiving treatment in Cyprus he met the love of his life, Nancy, who was part of the Queen Alexandra Royal Army Nursing service at the time.

He said: ‘I was her patient when we first met and immediately took to her.

‘We ended up being married for 60 years – I loved her dearly and still do.’

As a youngster, Peter recalls seeing the Remembrance services after the First World War, and even remembers the Guildhall burning down during the Blitz of the Second World War.

Portsmouth born and bred, Corporal Hackett takes a great deal of pride in how the city goes about remembering the fallen.

‘Remembrance is so important to Portsmouth,’ he said.

‘When I was shot I thought that would be it for me – this brings back so many memories for veterans like myself.

‘I think it’s wonderful to see so many people here, especially the young people; they’re the ones who will carry on our memories.’

‘I’ve had a lovely life; if God decided to take me tomorrow I wouldn’t change a thing, and would have no regrets.’