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tv   BBC News  BBC News  June 5, 2019 6:50pm-7:00pm BST

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and on-board queen past, and on—board queen elizabeth is the defence secretary, penny mordaunt, and prime minister theresa may, and earlier theresa may had the opportunity to read out a letter written by one of those he was preparing to go off and fight, let's hear that letter again, because it isa hear that letter again, because it is a reminder of some of the emotions as far as they were able to express them. my darling, this is a very difficult letter for me to write. as you know, something may happen at any moment, and i cannot tell when you will receive this. i had hoped to be able to see you during last weekend, but it was impossible to get away, and all the things i intended to say must be written. i am sure that anyone with imagination must dislike the thought of what's coming, but my fears will
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be more of being afraid and of what can happen to me. you and i have had some lovely years, which now seem to have passed at lightning speed. that was theresa may reading a letter from captain norman skinner, which he sent home to his wife gladys, and sadly he was not able to see her and his children again. with me is admiral lord west, former first sea lord and government minister. this is the slow progress, a lot of other things have been happening simultaneously. can you give me a sense of what you think the atmosphere would have been like in terms of being at the site, being one of those commanders who was anxiously preparing for this landing on the beaches? how nerve—wracking would that have been? at the high level, there was a real worry that it might not succeed, you know, we
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had had the dieppe raid which had been a disaster, although we learned many lessons. the prime minister, her husband philip, the defence secretary, penny mordaunt, waving as boudicca goes past. there was real concern that it could be a failure, eisenhower and montgomery all wrote out a report assuming there had been afailure, out a report assuming there had been a failure, that is how worried they were. when you go lower down in the ranks, i think at an operational command level, people are concerned about how it will go, at a junior level, you are concerned about, will idomy level, you are concerned about, will i do my duty? will i look after my men? and the men themselves, will i fight for the chap alongside me, and if you haven't fought before, that isa if you haven't fought before, that is a real worry, and i know from having been involved in fighting, you have real, you know, butterflies in your stomach. you would be slightly worried if people weren't afraid. absolutely, willl do my
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duty and perform properly? these are the worries people had. so many were seasick, they were obviously scared as well, but when they got out, at least they won't seasick. but you have these unknown ahead of you, you don't know what is going to happen when you step off the landing craft. iam when you step off the landing craft. i am struck, speaking to veterans, first world war veterans who have passed, saying there is a terrible mix of emotions at events like this. obviously huge pride, humbleness as well, slight embarrassment that eve ryo ne well, slight embarrassment that everyone is paying attention to you in this way, because very few people seek this out. but also a residual sense of guilt, that you have had a life, and the people you remember who never had that opportunity. that is absolutely right, my ship was sunkin is absolutely right, my ship was sunk in the falklands, and all the time you feel guilty about those who... i know the other chaps, who got through it, the chairman next door to them died, and even though they have got nothing to feel guilty about, there is that residual
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feeling of guilt, that is another emotion that is definitely there. sorry, looking at the picture again, talking about continuity, just to the right of the qe, you see hms victory, and that is what i mean about the continuity of the navy, and it is the same in all the services, there is this continuum, and that is where ceremony and remembrance are so and that is where ceremony and remembrance are so important. and he was struck by how the people in portsmouth, and doubtless a lot wider beyond, the people of the city in particular have wanted to be part of this commemoration. absolutely, portsmouth is a naval town, i know the people in southampton, i was chancellor of the university there, they feel a bit, why was it all in portsmouth? we were important as well, and all these other places as well, and all these other places as well, but it had to be somewhere, and there is a d—day museum in portsmouth, it is the home of the navy in a sense, so it made sense to do that. and just a final thought on why we should still be commemorating
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d—day. why we should still be commemorating d-day. well, i think it did actually mark the end for hitler and what was an absolutely loathsome regime. you know, if you think of the holocaust and the horrors that he caused in europe. and it marked as well, you know, the pulling together of so many nations. i guess the big nations, america, the uk, canada, the big invasion force, but in amongst them were pole, czech, the free french fighting there, all the nations were there, and you can see that from all the heads of state to have come to this thing, and that pulling together in the face of a really common, ghastly threat is an important thing, and we have got to do things like that in peacetime if we are going to have a globe that is stable, and there are a lot of problems to resolve, and we need to do those things. one of those rare moments worth remembering where eve ryo ne moments worth remembering where everyone feels they are on the same side, nations big and small, the world over, looking to portsmouth,
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looking to boudicca as she sails out of the harbour there on her way to recreate that remarkable invasion of europe that began on d—day, 75 years ago tomorrow, the 6th ofjunei941i. and we will be backjust after seven with beyond 100 days, and we will leave you with images of today's commemorations. i was terrified. i think everyone was. you don't show it, but it's there. i look back on it as a big part of my life. it changed me, in a way. the tide has turned. the free men of the world are marching together to victory. we shall fight on the beaches. we shall fight on the landing grounds. we shall fight in the fields
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and in the streets. that morning, they said, we're going to give you live ammunition, and this is the real thing. i was just over 17, on that day. but we were in trouble, and like every other service, we were just doing ourjob. it is with humility and pleasure, on behalf of the entire country, indeed the whole free world, that i say to you all thank you.
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you're watching beyond 100 days — a day of commemorations to mark the 75th anniversary of d—day. the events ofjune 19114 where the largest combined land, air and naval operation to liberate europe from nazi occupation. the queen wasjoined in portsmouth by theresa may, donald trump, and other world leaders to remember the allied invasion of nazi—occupied france. it is with humility and pleasure, on behalf of the entire country —


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