Dunkirk film sparks first cinema visit since 70s for Hemel Hempstead war veteran

Sergeant Ted Adcook celebrated his 99th birthday by going to see Dunkirk at the cinema in Hemel Hempstead. It was the first time had been to the cinema since 1970
Sergeant Ted Adcook celebrated his 99th birthday by going to see Dunkirk at the cinema in Hemel Hempstead. It was the first time had been to the cinema since 1970

A Second World War veteran visited the cinema for the first time in nearly 50 years to pay tribute to the fallen men of Dunkirk.

Sergeant Ted Adcook visited Cineworld in Jarman Square just a few days after celebrating his 99th birthday on July 27, so that he could remember the troops and his comrades who were on the beaches.

The events are depicted in Christopher Nolan’s film Dunkirk, which stars Fionn Whitehead, Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance and Harry Styles.

Although Ted was not involved in the evacuations himself, he suffered horrors of his own during the war after being captured by German forces in Italy in the Salerno landings, and spending three years as a prisoner of war.

Ted, who has lived in Hemel Hempstead for most of his life, told the Gazette: “I thought the film was terrific, it draws you in so you’re a part of the action.

“But I think it was the noise that I could relate to. There was a scene with a sniper that really startled me.

“It reminded me of when I was in Tunisia and the Italians were firing machine guns at us. I have never been so terrified in my life.”

Ted tries to keep his days varied now he is without his wife of 53 years Elizabeth, who sadly passed away in 2009.

But despite enjoying music and television, a trip to the cinema had not been on the cards until his friend Peter Dear said he might like to see Dunkirk.

The last time Ted went to the big screen was when the Academy Award winning war film Patton, starring George C. Scott, was released in 1970.

Although commenting on the fact that the seats were not as ‘luxurious’ as they once were, Ted, accompanied by Peter Dear, enjoyed his first visit to the cinema in nearly half a century.

It was fitting that Ted attended the cinema in the week of the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele in the First World War. To mark this anniversary Ted wore his father’s First World War medal, as well as his own and his brother’s medals from the Second World War.

Ted added: “The noise of the bullets in the film were exactly as I experienced. The effects, especially the air battles were fantastic – out of this world.”