The oldest of three children, August Hatakka grew up in a farming family in the village of Hatakkala, Metsäpirtti.
Due to the increased tensions between Finland and the Soviet Union, many men along the border regions were called up for service in covering units. These groups would screen the mobilsation of the main field army, as well as delay the advance of the Soviets by any means necessary. Some of these units were formed from Border Guards, others of the local Civic Guard and the rest were Reservists.
In the Metsäpirtti region, the 8th and 9th Border Guard Companies were formed on the 7th Ocotber 1939. They were grouped together as the Metsäpirtti Detachment under Group Rautu and were responsible for the area along the Ladoga section.
In the first days of the war, the 8th Border Guard Company found itself under heavy attack and by the 6th December had been forced to retreat across the Taipale river and take up defences at Karnajoki. They would support Infantry Regiment 28 in keeping the Soviet forces at bay.
By the second half of December the heavy fighting on the Taipale section had quietened down but this didn’t mean the Finns were out of danger. Constant artillery bombardments and occasional reconnaissance in force meant that the defenders had to be on constant alert. On the 27th December the men of the 8th Border Company suffered heavy artillery fire from early morning till the afternoon. During this strike, August Hatakka was mortally wounded, dying soon afterwards.