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Pompey Mourn John Jenkins MBE

Club stalwart and D-Day veteran passes away

17 December 2019

John Jenkins MBE
Photo: Joe Pepler/PinPep

Portsmouth Football Club are mourning the death of John Jenkins, who has passed away at the age of 100.

The D-Day veteran had worked as a boardroom steward for many years and continued to be a familiar face at Fratton Park after stepping down from the role.

He started supporting the club in 1928 and is one of the few fans to watch Pompey lift the FA Cup at Wembley in both 1939 and 2008.

Chief executive Mark Catlin said: "On behalf of Portsmouth FC, our directors and the Eisner family, we wish to offer our sincere condolences to John’s family.

“John was a well loved and welcome member of the Pompey family and as recently as the last home game, was in the boardroom celebrating with others the stories of his life.

"John was a well loved and welcome member of the Pompey family and as recently as the last home game, was in the boardroom celebrating with others the stories of his life."

Mark Catlin

“He impacted on the lives of so many and I am sure that the sadness felt at John’s passing by all of us at the club today, is being replicated in many places where he had such a positive effect on those he connected with.”

Growing up in Southsea, John worked as a Cunard bellboy as a teenager, later becoming a sergeant in the Royal Pioneer Corps.

He took part in the Normandy landings in 1944 and landed on Gold Beach on June 6, as British troops joined Allied forces to begin the liberation of Nazi-occupied France.

John worked as a trolley bus driver after the war, then joined the naval services, where he remained for 35 years.

He played a key role in the commemorations for the 75th anniversary of D-Day last summer, taking to the stage to address the Queen, world leaders and other dignitaries.

John told them: “I was 23 when I landed on Gold Beach. 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, although I was just a small part of what was a very big machine.

“I’m honoured to be stood here in front of so many other veterans. You never forget your comrades because we were all in it together.

“It’s right that the courage and sacrifice of so many is being honoured 75 years on. We must never forget.”

John celebrated his 100th birthday with a party at Fratton Park last month, with guests including former Pompey chairman Milan Mandaric.

He was played a video showing a compilation of messages from current and former Blues players, managers and staff.

As well as being awarded an MBE and the Legion d’Honneur, John was named Portsmouth Volunteer of the Year in 2016 for his work with the city’s ‘D-Day Story’.

He also carried the Olympic torch from Fratton Park in 2012 and, three years later, became the oldest person to abseil the Spinnaker Tower.

John will be sadly missed by everyone at the club and our thoughts are with his family and many friends.


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