Today the PST salutes Victory in Europe, VE Day the end of the Second World War in Europe, when Germany surrendered to the Allied armies.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of VE Day, at 11 am we pause for 2 minutes to remember all who made the ultimate sacrifice for our great nation, fallen warriors who never came home to their family and friends. Many Pompey fans will remember Alan Ball’s famous words "People went to war from this city” Never a truer word has been spoken. Portsmouth is a city shaped by hard work, built, rebuilt, bruised, and blitzed but never broken. It’s an island, navy, and football city.
Portsmouth played a very important part in making VE day a reality. Preparations for Operation Overlord started in August 1943 and, by April 1944 Portsmouth was 10 miles deep in boats getting ready to launch D-day. Over 150,000 soldiers and 190,000 navy personal left our city to invade France, and it has become known, as the most important day in the war. Sadly over 10,000 lives were taken on that day alone. On VE day we shall remember them and all who lost their lives during WW2.
Portsmouth Football Club had always played a special role during the war, with the club taking part in the Football League War Cup, with military personal living in our city becoming fans. During his wartime visits to Portsmouth, Field Marshal Montgomery became interested in Portsmouth Football Club and eventually was made honorary President of Portsmouth F.C
When World War 2 started in 1939, it resulted in Portsmouth gaining the distinction of holding the FA Cup trophy for the longest uninterrupted period - seven years - as the trophy was not presented again until the 1946 FA Cup Final. Manager Jack Tinn was rumoured to have kept the FA Cup trophy 'safe under his bed' during a part of the war. Because the naval city of Portsmouth was a primary strategic military target for German Luftwaffe bombing, the FA Cup trophy was routinely moved around the City for its safety and protection, moving from Fratton Park's boardroom, into bank vaults, back to Fratton Park and around local pubs. During the worst of the bombing on Portsmouth, the FA Cup trophy was also taken ten miles north of Portsmouth, to the nearby Hampshire village of Lovedean, where it was kept and displayed in a quaint thatched roof country pub called The Bird in Hand. In 1945, the FA Cup trophy was taken around the streets of Portsmouth and proudly shown off at the first VE street celebrations.
On the 75th anniversary of VE Day, we once again call on the city of Portsmouth to help celebrate the life of Portsmouth's very own D-day hero John Jenkins MBE. A sergeant in the Royal Pioneer Corps he landed on Gold Beach in 1944, John was a massive Pompey fan and loved by both Club and City.