History triggers keen interest

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Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser
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Wilfred Hatton has been a volunteer at Princess royal Fortress for 30 years.
Camera IconWilfred Hatton has been a volunteer at Princess royal Fortress for 30 years. Credit: Picture: Laurie Benson, Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

Guns, forts and Albany’s military history — Wilfred Hatton knows it all.

This year is his 30th volunteering at the Albany Heritage Park.

Now aged 93, the World War II veteran is the park’s longest-standing volunteer.

His knowledge of Albany’s involvement in the world wars makes him a valuable asset in sharing history.

He obtained first-hand knowledge while serving in the British Army from 1943-1947.

Mr Hatton was present at the Normandy landings in 1944, often referred to as D-Day.

Tomorrow, he will receive a Volunteer Service Award from WA Volunteering Minister Mick Murray.

He said he cherished being able to speak about the town’s history with visitors, from local schoolchildren to international tour groups.

“I talk mostly about the guns because I dealt with them a lot in the army,” he said.

“I helped to make them and repair them, so I know a fair bit about them.

“I also teach about the 10th Light Horse Regiment and why the forts were built.

“I like meeting people and telling them about the history and I have always liked history.

“It will surprise you what many people don’t know about their home country.”

Mr Hatton once engaged with more than 2000 school students during a single week.

He has also helped in the training of other volunteers. A highlight of his time as a volunteer was meeting the Prince of Wales.

Mr Hatton intends to continue volunteering at the park for as long as he can.

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