Letter to the Web Site from Patrick Macnee

(Oct 31, 2002)

WAR IS DEATH – A letter from Patrick Macnee

I have recently completed the narration on a fine TV series which aired in Britain this summer, entitled “AMERICA’S WAR – World War II in Colour” and is now available on video. I’m proud of the work I did on this video – but it also brought back many sad memories.

My last line in Episode 4 is “Thirty Eight million people were killed worldwide in the Second World War.”

In 1939, having just left school at the age of 17, I was told I had to go to war. So I joined the Navy. I was an officer in the First Torpedo Boat flotilla from March 1942 to the end of the war. We operated in the English Channel. On the morning of July 12th, 1944 my boat went to sea and I was not aboard, actually I had pneumonia and was in hospital. That day our boat was hit by German aircraft injuring a number of crew members and the boat sank. Shortly afterwards I joined a new boat which served in the North Sea and English Channel. I had the horrible experience of witnessing – and causing – death for many Germans.

In the ensuing years, I have devoted a lot of time and energy to bringing attention to the horrors of guns and war. In “The Avengers” I never carried a gun. My “weapon” of choice was an umbrella which I wielded in place of a weapon of destruction.

I am 80 years old now and I’m about to see many young people go to war – many of them will not return.

It pains me to see so many young men preparing to go to war – again.

Do they have to?