The Queen, May, Merkel, Trudeau and other world leaders gather for 75th anniversary
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- ‘I count myself lucky’: D-day remembered on the 75th anniversary
Amid the pop and ceremony it was the stories of the real people who took part in D-Day that shone out during the commemoration in Portsmouth.
Theresa May read a letter from Captain Norman Skinner of the Royal Army Service Corps, written to his wife Gladys on 3 June 1944. The letter was still in his pocket when he landed on Sword Beach on 6 June. Skinner was killed the day after, leaving his wife and two young daughters. The letter read:
My thoughts at this moment, in this lovely Saturday afternoon, are with you all now. I can imagine you in the garden having tea with Janey and Anne getting ready to put them to bed. Although I would give anything to be back with you, I have not yet had any wish at all to back down from the job we have to do.
There is so much that I would like to be able to tell you. Nearly all of which you’ve heard many, many times. But just to say that I mean it even more today. I’m sure that I will be with you again soon and for good. Please give my fondest love to my Anne and my Janey. God bless and keep you all safe for me.
Dear Mrs Skinner, it is with the upmost difficulty that I write to offer you my most profound sympathies on the untimely death of your husband. All the time he had been under my command, he had done a grand job of work.
I jumped off the ramp as quickly as possible holding the bagpipes above my head, and landed in the water up to my waist … I placed the bagpipes on my shoulder, blew them up, and started to play Highland Laddie as I waded the few yards to the beach.