D-Day veterans tell Donald Trump protesters in Portsmouth to ditch plans to demonstrate and focus on heroes’ Normandy landings sacrifices

NORMANDY landings veterans have said protesters set to demonstrate against Donald Trump at D-Day commemorations must halt their plans and focus on members of the armed forces who sacrificed their lives to fight for freedom.

Friday, 26th April 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Friday, 26th April 2019, 8:39 am
Veteran John Jenkins when he collected France's highest military honour, the Legion d'Honneur for his heroism during the D-Day landings in Normandy. Picture: Allan Hutchings

Heroic 99-year-old John Jenkins, who worked the ammunition at Gold Beach in Arromanches, Normandy, said President Trump ‘should be welcome’ but said anyone looking to protest should ‘forget all that’.

Hundreds of people are expected to make a stand against the president when he comes to Portsmouth on June 5 to take part in the ceremony at Southsea Common.

Organisers have called on people to take part - but there will be a separate area for protesters on the common.

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Donald Trump Picture: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump’s attendance has already prompted Portsmouth City Council to make plans for a double-layered steel fence inner security cordon on the common near Clarence Pier - with another fence stretching around the perimeter of the common.

Heads of state of the 14 nations involved in D-Day, as well as the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, have been invited. Around 4,000 armed forces personnel are salute veterans across the national event.

D-Day Story volunteer Mr Jenkins, of Eastern Road, Milton, said: ‘These protesters will all protest against anything but on that particular day, especially with D-Day, they want to forget all that and just remember if we didn’t fight the people that were there they wouldn’t be here doing their protests.’

He added: ‘Obviously he is a very important person - president of America. I get the way that he may not be popular with other people.

Ron Cross from Gosport Picture: Sarah Standing (160518-7576)

‘The fact that he’s coming is one of the things that we should be thankful that we’ve got the friendship with America. I don’t mind at all that he’s coming.’

Veteran Ron Cross MBE, from Gosport, was also among the thousands of troops who landed at Normandy on June 6, 1944.

The 98-year-old, from St Valerie Road, Alverstoke, said: ‘I am not a lover of Trump, but the Yanks did help a bit during the war, so we have to put up with him.

‘I hate to have any trouble, I would like to see things go along as peacefully as possible.’

President Trump will join the ceremony on Southsea Common as Portsmouth hosts Britain’s national commemorations for D-Day 75.

At least 300 veterans will board the Royal British Legion’s chartered ship heading to Normandy for events in France.

Former councillor Richard Dickson, who is vice president at the Gosport and Alverstoke branch of the Royal British Legion, said: ‘President Trump has been democratically-elected by the American people – he’s basically the leader of the free world and I think it’s absolutely tragic his visit should be looked in anything other than a positive way.’