Grieving Portsmouth residents pay tribute to D-Day hero and 'national treasure' John Jenkins
HEARTBROKEN city residents have paid tribute to D-Day hero John Jenkins, lovingly labelling the 100-year-old a ‘national treasure’.
Mr Jenkins, who fought on Gold Beach during the pivotal 1944 invasion of Normandy, died in the early hours of this morning, surrounded by his family.
Outpourings of sympathy and grief flooded social media as news of the ‘legendary’ Portsmouth veteran’s death was broken.
Many of those offering their condolences spoke warmly of their time meeting John, who was a well-known guide at Southsea’s D-Day Story museum and a regular at the Good Companion pub, in Milton.
Writing from Canada on The News’s Facebook page, Paul Trevellick said: ‘I had the great privilege to chat with John, and sad to lose such a nation treasure. Our thoughts go out to the family,’
Robin Lipsham said: ‘A gigantic man in many ways and will be remembered as such – not only for how he fought for us but how he conducted himself in later years.’
Mike Scutt had sat and spoken to Mr Jenkins during a trip to the D-Day museum ‘a couple of years back’ and said: ‘What a humble and interesting man he was. The world is a sadder place without this hero.’
Sheila Tarrant described Mr Jenkins as a ‘true gentleman’ and added: ’He used to come into our launderette and I remember how proud he was to carry the Olympic torch and how Portsmouth Football Club treated him on his 90th – I’m honoured to have known him RIP.’
Many said they knew him as a beloved Pompey supporter, with some calling on the club set up a tribute in Mr Jenkins’ honour.
Paul Ellis wrote: ‘A proper Portsmouth hero – I do hope the football club names one of the stands after [this] Pompey stalwart.’
Mr Jenkins moved the nation as he addressed world leaders during the D-Day 75 commemorations in Southsea.
His speech during the spectacle received a standing ovation from guest, which included the Queen and American presidents Donald Trump.
Victoria Anne McCorkindale watched the event and remembers Mr Jenkins fondly. Reacting to his death on Facebook, she said: ‘Oh, how sad. We were very moved by his words at the D Day memorial. RIP John.’
Meg Davies added: ‘I met him last week in Good Companion shook his hand and had a chat about Pompey. He looked so smart and dapper. Very sad, what a life he had.’
While Michelle Michalski Phillips said: ‘He was incredible, I am so happy I had an opportunity to talk with him last year and listen to everything he done for the country, RIP.’