VE Day 75
1368. Mervyn Kersh
Mervyn Kersh, from London, is a 95-year-old veteran who has educated thousands of school children by sharing his powerful personal stories of World War II, such as landing on Gold Beach in Normandy and meeting the newly-liberated prisoners of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
Mervyn, who received the Légion d’Honneur in 2015, acts as an ambassador for multiple remembrance charities and up until last year travelled frequently to Normandy with school groups to bring the history of war to life. Mervyn is taking part in educational zoom events to help the nation commemorate VE Day while continuing to save lives and defeat Coronavirus.
In a personal letter to Mervyn, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“Every day I take a moment to thank someone in our country for their remarkable service to others by recognising them as a Point of Light in our lives. So today, as our nation comes together to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day, allow me to thank you for your extraordinary service in the Second World War and your remarkable dedication to educating young people about this defining chapter of our national story.
“You landed on Gold Beach in 1944 at the spearhead of the Allied army that would liberate Europe. Your own journey made you a witness to the aftermath of the Holocaust, where you did everything possible to tend the survivors of Bergen-Belsen. You went through all these searing experiences at a very early age – and since then you have shared your story with thousands of teenagers, helping them to understand that they live in a free country not by happy chance or accident, but because of the struggle and sacrifice of your generation.
“I am lost in admiration for your tireless efforts and delighted to hear that new technology has allowed you to continue your mission despite the coronavirus restrictions.
“So thank you, once again, and congratulations on becoming the UK’s 1368th Point of Light!”
“It is more important to give than to take. That is a family tradition that has lasted 90 years so far – helping victory in any way I could was a natural sequence.”
Watch Mervyn discuss his experiences from the Second World War: