A FILM by a promising young director about the extraordinary exploits of his great grandfather serving the Hampshire Regiment during the Second World War will be screened at Southampton’s Harbour Lights.

Seventeen-year-old Elliott Hasler’s film Charlie’s Letters retells the story of his great-grandfather Charlie Standing, a member of the Hampshire Regiment who was captured during the battle of Sidi Nsir in Tunisia and subsequently escaped from a POW camp in Italy, evading capture to return to England to see his wife and son.

This week marks the 75th anniversary of the battle in which the Hampshires, nicknamed the Tigers, defended the Tunisian town against a major offensive from the Germans to buy time for reinforcements to be mustered at Hunts Gap.

The long and bloody battle saw the 5th Hampshires come under attack from tanks, mortars and dive-bombing Messerschmitts as half of the enemy forces’ total strength was put into the offensive, in hope of breaking through the Allies’ encircling positions.

However, despite taking heavy losses the Hampshires held on long enough for reinforcements to arrive.

It was an important battle in the campaign that saw the defeat in 1943 of the Afrika Corps, commanded by Rommel. The British forces were led by Montgomery.

Elliott Hasler who wrote the film with the help of a veteran of Sidi Nsir said: “Not only would I like to get anyone interested in true war movies, or who served in the Hampshires, to come to see it but I would love to share my family history with many others with similar family stories.”

Charlie’s Letters will be screened at the Harbour Lights cinema Southampton on Saturday, March 3, 10.30 am.

A Q&A with the director will follow after the performance.

The Hampshire Regiment got its royal title in 1946. It was amalgamated into the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment in 1992.