GRANDAD – what did you do in the war?
In years to come this will be a question not many people will be able to ask as the number of veterans dwindles.
But young people at the D-Day Museum in Southsea recreated precisely this kind of inter-generational storytelling with the help of a Normandy beach landing veteran.
Former Sergeant Major John Jenkins MBE, of Eastern Road, in Milton, Portsmouth, starred in the Grandad show last night.
Along with the cast the 94-year-old took the audience around the museum as he told the story of D-Day through the play, which was based on a girl asking her grandad about the war for a school project. The younger cast members acted out wartime days.
John, who landed at Normandy just after D-Day, said: ‘It’s wonderful to think that these young people are that much interested that they want to do this kind of thing.
‘To me that was the best thing of all was to know that they wanted to do it and so I was very willing to help them out. The whole thing seemed to go off very well.’
Audiences were shown landing craft, ration packs, and all aspects of wartime life in the play, which was not based on John’s life.
Clare Martin, chief executive at Pompey in the Community brought her seven-year-old son Patrick Scarborough to the first performance of the evening.
She said: ‘I thought it was phenomenal. It was almost as if the scenes were made for the play, rather than the play was made around the scenes.’
Patrick added: ‘I walked around the place and saw what happened in World War One. It was nice. It was cool to come here.’
Cast member Grant Radmore, 17, who played the wartime ‘grandad’ said: ‘It has been a lot of fun.’