British Royal Marines Veteran Recounts Experience in Second World War
As the 79th anniversary of the Normandy Landings is commemorated, Jack Quinn, a 99-year-old British Royal Marines veteran, spoke about his service in the conflict in a Tuesday Sky News profile. Quinn had the opportunity to meet with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and King George VI before the operation that brought about the liberation of Europe from Nazi tyranny.
“You’re the leader, don’t f*** it up,” the legendary wartime leader urged Quinn.
Quinn was responsible for a team of divers tasked with disabling undersea German defenses before the main invasion force stormed five beaches the next morning. He lost every member of his Royal Marine unit that day, the Express reported last year. He received the Croix de Guerre for his actions but regretted that he was not able to share the glory with his fallen comrades.
“We were told to do a job and we did it,” he told the Express. “It fills me with great sadness.”
Remembering the Sacrifice
Quinn said he hopes the younger generations will remember the sacrifice that the Allied service members made for liberty and democracy.
“I still think of these days and I’m glad to go back but I think the Normandy Spirit is for the younger generation — to never, ever forget it.”
Quinn said he still remembers his comrades who gave their lives in the operation that was crucial to the downfall of Adolf Hitler’s empire.
He recalled seeing “dead bodies floating upside down because the Germans were waiting for them,” SkyNews reported.
He said he always sheds tears in remembrance of them in Normandy.
Quinn serves as a Memorial Ambassador for the British Normandy Memorial.
We are proud to announce that D-Day Veteran Jack Quinn has today been appointed Memorial Ambassador by the Trust’s Chairman, Lord Richard Dannatt. Jack joins fellow Veterans, Ken Hay and Stan Ford.
— British Normandy Memorial (@britishmemorial) June 6, 2023
The ranks of D-Day veterans have diminished through the passage of time, with less than 50 British survivors of the operations still alive, according to the Express. Quinn was also the first Allied service member to set foot on the island of Guernsey during its liberation.
Quinn said he plans to return to Normandy to celebrate the operation’s 80th anniversary next year if he’s still able, according to Sky News.
“If I’m still here, then I’ll be here.”
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