This content is not available in your region

Watch: UK PM May reads WWII soldier's moving letter to family ahead of D-Day

Access to the comments Comments
By Alice Tidey
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May in Portsmouth on June 5, 2019.
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May in Portsmouth on June 5, 2019.   -   Copyright  REUTERS/Toby Melville

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday paid tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice on D-Day by reading a soldier's emotional letter to his family as he was readying for the crossing to Normandy.

Captain Norman William George Skinner, from Britain's Royal Army Service Corps, was among the 156,000 allied troops who set sail from England for Normandy, France, on June 5, 1944, to take part in D-Day, World War II's defining moment. He died two days later.

May recited a moving letter he wrote to his wife on June 3, 1944, during a commemorative ceremony in Portsmouth, in the south of England, to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

"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 last weekend, but it was impossible to get away and all the things I intended to say must be written.

"I'm sure that anyone with imagination must dislike the thought of what's coming, but my fears will be more of being afraid than of what can happen to me. You and I have had some lovely years, which now seem to have passed at lightning speed.

"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 Jamie 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 Jamie. God bless and keep you all safe for me," Captain Skinner wrote.

May's reading — which you can watch in the video player above — was one of several moving tributes world leaders made on Wednesday.

US President Donald Trump recited an extract from a prayer written by the then-President, FD Roosevelt, while his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, read out a letter written by a Resistance fighter.