Interviewees for History Documentary

15 July 2017

Academic experts required to participate in a documentary telling the incredible true story of the discovery of a lost soldier’s grave in Shanghai.

Independent production company Squeaky Pedal productions are seeking academic experts who are willing to be interviewed as part of a documentary seeking to tell the heart-warming story of one elderly Ulsterwoman’s 20 year battle to honour her long-dead uncle.

The producers are looking for academics who are experts within the following fields:

  • British involvement in the Second Sino-Japanese War
  • The history of British involvement in the International Settlement in Shanghai
  • The Battle for Shanghai during the Second Sino-Japanese War
  • The international impact of the Battle for Shanghai• British Foreign Policy in China during the interwar period
  • British-Japanese relations during the interwar period• Shanghai during the cultural revolution of the early 1950’s

The film tells the story of Sarah Moran and her one-woman battle to locate the final resting place of her uncle, Rifleman Patrick ‘Wee Paddy’ McGowan, who was killed in action whilst serving with the Royal Ulster Rifles in China.

On the 24th October 1937, 25-year-old Rifleman Patrick McGowan of Londonderry was killed by fire from a Japanese aircraft whilst out on patrol with the Royal Ulster Rifles in Shanghai. His death sent shockwaves around the globe, causing a political outcry as the world teetered on the brink of international conflict.

Such was the high profile nature of the incident that Private McGowan’s funeral, held a week later, was one of the largest Shanghai had ever seen. McGowan was buried with full military honours in a service attended by military personnel including senior officers from around the world.

Tragically, in the chaos that followed Chairman Mao’s brutal Cultural Revolution of the 1950s and the ensuing efforts to remove all symbols of colonial rule in China, Paddy’s resting place, along with those of thousands of foreign nationals, was lost.

Almost 60 years later, a monumental two-decade-long quest was undertaken by his niece Sara Moran. Having listened to her parents telling the tragic story of Paddy when she was a little girl, in later life she became determined to uncover what had happened. Fighting for information from the Chinese government, sending reams of letters to the foreign office, and finally learning from the authorities in China that his body was ‘under a carpark’, she decided to enlist the help of her local paper, The Derry News, and to write a letter to then-Prime Minister David Cameron. This pushed the government to enlist the help of a military historian based in Shanghai, Dr Mark Felton, to try to complete the seemingly impossible task.

Through Dr Felton’s incredible detective work, after being lost for 75 years, the final resting place of Paddy McGowan was found in the Song Qing Ling Cemetery in Shanghai. McGowan was subsequently honoured on a visit to Shanghai by Rear Admiral Matthew Parr and Captain Rupert Hollins of HMS Daring, accompanied by Consul General Brian Davidson.

If you are interested in becoming involved in the project please contact the producers via the following:

Jason Davidson/ Pete Roch – Directors

+44 (0) 7900653282 (Jason) (0) 7876263249 (Pete)