D-Day 75: Portsmouth veteran John Jenkins says city's commemorations are 'marvellous'

VETERAN John Jenkins has said he is 'overwhelmed' by major commemorations for D-Day 75 taking place today.

Wednesday, 5th June 2019, 11:36 am
Updated Wednesday, 5th June 2019, 5:02 pm
Portsmouth D-Day veteran John Jenkins on the common today

The 99-year-old, of Eastern Road, Portsmouth, took part in the D-Day+2 in the Normandy Landings.

Speaking to The News he said he was 'overwhelmed' and 'couldn't believe I'm 99'. 

The Portsmouth legend - well known for his volunteer work at the D-Day Story and stewarding at Fratton Park - is in a wheelchair today ahead of the commemorations.

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Portsmouth D-Day veteran John Jenkins on the common today

'It's a bit overwhelming - I'm enjoying it,' Mr Jenkins said.

'It's a long time 75 years, I can't believe that I'm 99 - let's say I don't feel 99, that's the main thing.'

He said the commemorations were set to be 'marvellous'.

Defence secretary Penny Mordaunt met Mr Jenkins on Southsea Common as she arrived at the event, set to be attended by the Queen, US president Donald Trump and other world leaders.

Meeting with the veterans is due to be a 'highlight,' the Portsmouth North MP said.

She said: 'I think it's fantastic, so many heads of government are here, Her Majesty is here and it's probably our last chance to say thank you to these guys.

'I can understand people's frustration - there's been lots of worries about traffic and congestion as well as people being able to see the show and get in. 

'We do this kind of event so well in Portsmouth, I think the eyes of the world are going to be on the city today, many nations, and I think it is very important that the President of the United States is going to be here.

'I think most people in the city understand, but of course people want to see the veterans - they want to be able to celebrate all their achievements.

'We can do that in many ways, and I hope that as well as me waving them off on the Boudica there will be many people.'On the major security operation she said she had a 'huge thank you' to police, other emergency services and authorities to create a 'fantastic day'.

She added: 'I'm going to be watching the show - I'm  hoping to be able to mingle with the veterans, meet their families, and hear their stories and that's going to be a highlight for me.'

Asked about any leadership ambition she said: 'Today is not about me or the Conservative party, it's about the veterans and I'm not going to take the limelight off them at all.'