As International Men's Day celebrations continue, Pompey pay tribute to John Jenkins – a remarkable man whose life was defined by a profound commitment to service, especially during the tumultuous years of the Second World War.
The D-Day veteran contributed to his community and country in various ways throughout his life.
Serving as a boardroom steward for many years, he remained a cherished presence at Fratton Park.
John's association with the club began in 1928 and he stands among the privileged few who witnessed Pompey lift the FA Cup at Wembley in both 1939 and 2008.
Growing up in Southsea, his early years included working as a Cunard bellboy before later becoming a sergeant in the Royal Pioneer Corps.
However, his most significant contribution came during the Normandy landings in 1944, where he landed on Gold Beach on June 6.
Alongside British troops and Allied forces, John played a vital role in initiating the liberation of Nazi-occupied France.
Post-war, his dedication to service continued as he worked as a trolley bus driver before joining the naval services, where he remained for an impressive 35 years.
His commitment and sacrifice were further highlighted during the 75th-anniversary commemorations of D-Day, where he took the stage to address the Queen, world leaders and other dignitaries.
Reflecting on his experiences, John said: "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."
He emphasised the importance of never forgetting the courage and sacrifice of those who served alongside him, stating: "It’s right that the courage and sacrifice of so many is being honoured 75 years on. We must never forget."
In addition to the numerous accolades bestowed upon him, including an MBE and the Legion d’Honneur, John was named Portsmouth Volunteer of the Year in 2016 for his dedicated work with the city’s 'D-Day Story'.
His commitment extended beyond the historical realm as he carried the Olympic torch from Fratton Park in 2012 and, three years later, achieved the remarkable feat of being the oldest person to abseil the Spinnaker Tower.
John Jenkins' life is a testament to the power of service, sacrifice and dedication to a cause greater than oneself.
As we honour International Men's Day, let us reflect on the legacy of individuals like John who exemplify service and the Pompey spirit, which inspires us to contribute meaningfully to our local community and the world at large.
And his legacy continues to live on, with Pompey in the Community’s ‘John Jenkins Stadium’ edging ever closer to completion.
The state-of-the-art sports complex will house two 3G all-weather pitches, a boxing gym, social club and much more.
It will cater for more than 36,000 children and adults throughout the local community each year.