King George VI

D-Day: King George VI's 1944 Speech To The Nation In Full

King George VI

This is the stirring speech made by King George VI on D-Day, 1944, in an effort to inspire, comfort and rally the nation not only to survive but to 'win the final victory for the good cause' as troops went to war.

The speech was broadcast as tens of thousands of Allied forces steeled themselves for the Battle of Normandy as Operation Overlord launched in the early hours of 6 June 1944.

His words have once again been delivered to the nation by the King's great-grandson, Prince William.

William echoed his great-grandfather's address, as he and Prince Harry paid tribute to the heroes of D-Day as part of the 75th anniversary commemorations in Britain and Normandy.

Harry met Chelsea Pensions and D-Day veterans at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London, at the annual Founder's Day parade where he acknowledged the sacrifice of those who fought for their country.

Meanwhile, William in his speech at the National Memorial Arboretum, Staffordshire, marked the poignant commemoration on D-Day 75 by revisiting King George VI's inspiring broadcast in recognition of the sacrifice made by those who fought for their country.

The speech spoke of how the "supreme test has to be faced" and William made reference to the poignant lines of the message, saying: "At this historic moment surely not one of us is too busy, too young, or too old to play a part in a nationwide, perchance a worldwide vigil of prayer as the great crusade sets forth."  

D-DAY 75 graphic

Here, we revisit the stirring speech delivered by King George VI, the Queen's father, on D-Day. Here it is in full:

"Four years ago, our Nation and Empire stood alone against an overwhelming enemy, with our backs to the wall. Tested as never before in our history, in God's providence we survived that test; the spirit of the people, resolute, dedicated, burned like a bright flame, lit surely from those unseen fires which nothing can quench.

Now once more a supreme test has to be faced. This time, the challenge is not to fight to survive but to fight to win the final victory for the good cause. Once again what is demanded from us all is something more than courage and endurance; we need a revival of spirit, a new unconquerable resolve. After nearly five years of toil and suffering, we must renew that crusading impulse on which we entered the war and met its darkest hour. We and our Allies are sure that our fight is against evil and for a world in which goodness and honour may be the foundation of the life of men in every land.

That we may be worthily matched with this new summons of destiny, I desire solemnly to call my people to prayer and dedication. We are not unmindful of our own shortcomings, past and present. We shall ask not that God may do our will, but that we may be enabled to do the will of God: and we dare to believe that God has used our Nation and Empire as an instrument for fulfilling his high purpose.

I hope that throughout the present crisis of the liberation of Europe there may be offered up earnest, continuous and widespread prayer. We who remain in this land can most effectively enter into the sufferings of subjugated Europe by prayer, whereby we can fortify the determination of our sailors, soldiers and airmen who go forth to set the captives free.

The Queen joins with me in sending you this message. She well understands the anxieties and cares of our womenfolk at this time and she knows that many of them will find, as she does herself, fresh strength and comfort in such waiting upon God. She feels that many women will be glad in this way to keep vigil with their menfolk as they man the ships, storm the beaches and fill the skies.

At this historic moment, surely not one of us is too busy, too young or too old to play a part in a nationwide, perchance a worldwide, vigil of prayer as the great crusade sets forth. If from every place of worship, from home and factory, from men and women of all ages and many races and occupations, our intercessions rise, then, please God, both now and in a future not remote, the predictions of an ancient Psalm may be fulfilled: "The Lord will give strength unto his people: the Lord will give his people the blessing of peace."

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