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You don’t have to tell me, Queen reminds veteran recounting horrors of war

The Queen was only too happy to swap tales with veterans. Credit: PA

The Queen jokingly told a D-Day veteran he did not have to remind her about the horrors of the liberation of Europe – as she was from his generation.

After attending the poignant and moving commemorations marking the 75th anniversary of the Allied campaign, the mood lightened when the Queen, joined by US President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump and the Prince of Wales, met a small group of elderly ex-servicemen and women who were all involved with Normandy landings.

She chatted to former Royal Marine Jack Smith, 94, a landing craft coxswain who was part of the first wave during D-Day.

He spent almost three months at the Normandy beaches ferrying the injured, munitions and other cargo, sleeping on his vessel under a tarpaulin sheet and was regularly strafed with bullets by Nazi planes.

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When the veteran told the Queen how bad things were on D-Day she replied: “You don’t have to tell me – I’m from the same generation,” his son-in-law Stanley Marlow told reporters.

The ex-servicemen, from Barwell, Leicestershire, then teased the Queen, who is 93, by saying: “I’m older than you.”

The Queen had earlier told the special commemoration service that that wartime generation was a "resilient" one, whose "heroism, courage and sacrifice" would never be forgotten.

After chatting with the monarch, Mr Smith said: “It was a thrill meeting the Queen, she’s marvellous and a real good egg.”

The former Royal Marine and his 74-year-old son-in-law, who is from Hinckley, Leicestershire, also chatted to Mr Trump and his wife.

Melania and Donald Trump meets veteran Thomas Cuthbert after the ceremony. Credit: Jeff J Mitchell/PA

Mr Marlow said: “He was a very nice chap. We had a little joke, he said ‘I couldn’t win that’ pointing to Jack’s medals and I said to him about his wife ‘well, you won this one’.

“He laughed and she said ‘thank you very much’.

A veteran jokingly told the US president that if “only he was 20 years younger” while pointing to the First Lady.

In the light-hearted moment following the D-Day 75 national commemoration, Mr Trump replied to 93-year-old Thomas Cuthbert: “You could handle it no question.”

Saying it was nice to meet him, the president added: “It’s my honour, believe me, thank you very much.”

After the reception, also attended by the Queen and the Prince of Wales, Mr Cuthbert, from Elmstead Market, Essex, said that Mr Trump “came across very well”.

He added: “He surprised me, when you see someone on the TV but he seemed different, he seemed one of the boys. His wife was very pleasant as well.”

Mr Cuthbert was awarded the Legion D’Honneur in May 2017 for his role in the D-Day landings during which he served on a landing barge oiler anchored off shore from Utah and Omaha beaches.

Prince Charles also met veterans after the commemorations. Credit: PA

Prince Charles was also on hand to spend time with the veterans.

Charles served in the Royal Navy in the 1970s, ending his career commanding the minesweeper HMS Bronington and joked with Mr Cuthbert about suffering from sea sickness.

Referring to a segment of the commemorations that highlighted the conditions the men had to endure on the vessels heading to Normandy, the prince told Mr Cuthbert: “As they were saying the smell of the fuel and people being sick must have been terrible.

“I remember being in the navy and always being sick, and there was always someone who was never sick and would always appear with a mug of steaming soup.”