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'I'm no dashing hero - but please don't worry more than you must': Poignant letter of D-Day casualty Capt Norman Skinner

Captain Norman Skinner died the day after the D-Day landings. Credit: ITV

A poignant illustration of the brutality and heartbreaking sacrifice so many made during the Second World War has been read out during commemorations of the D-Day landings.

The words of Captain Norman Skinner were relayed by Prime Minister Theresa May to veterans and dignitaries gathered in Portsmouth to mark the 75th anniversary of the Allied assault launched on the beaches of northern France.

Capt Skinner, an insurance salesman before the war, died the day after landing at Sword Beach on June 6.

In his pocket was a letter he had written to his wife, Gladys, in which he talks of his sadness at not being able to see her and their daughters - Janey and Anne - before he set off.

Royal Marine commandos move off Sword beach in Normandy after the D-Day landing. Credit: PA

He writes: “My darling this is a very difficult letter for me to write.

"As you know something may happen at any moment and I cannot tell when you will receive this.

"I had hoped to be able to see you during last weekend but it was impossible to get away and all the things I intended to say must be written.”

Sword beach, on the left, and Juno, right, on the north coast of France. Credit: AP

Capt Skinner carried a picture of his wife and two daughters ashore with him during the landings.

The 38-year-old, from Hillingdon, London, appears hopeful he will return: “I'm not a dashing hero by any means but the influence of everyone around me, and the confidence of all troops has made me lose any early fears, which I expected.

"Whether it will last until the vital moment I can’t tell.

"I am sure that anyone with imagination must dislike the thought of what is coming but my fears will be more of being afraid than of what can happen to me.”

Wounded British troops are being helped ashore at Sword Beach on D-Day. Credit: AP

Capt Skinner touches on the enormity of what was being asked of so many people ahead of the landing - but does not shirk from it, despite his obvious yearning to see his family one more time.

“I can imagine you in the garden having tea with Janey and Anne getting ready to put them to bed,” he wrote.

“Although I would give anything to be back with you, I have not yet had any wish at all to back down from the job we have to do.”

Services are being held to mark the 75th anniversary of the landings. Credit: PA

As part of the Royal Army Service Corps, his job was to support the second wave of landings.

It's been estimated almost 4,500 men died on June 6 - Captain Skinner was one of thousands more to perish over the next 24 hours.

In his letter, he tells his wife: “Please don’t worry about me more than you must.

"I cannot write any more just now so for the present my darling, good bye. I love you with all my heart.”

His wife was later informed by telegram Capt Skinner had died when an enemy fire hit the foxhole in which he was sheltering.