WWII

'We Shall Prevail': Military Recreates King George VI's 1939 Speech

Members of the Defence Stammering Network have recreated the speech delivered to the nation when Britain declared war on Nazi Germany.

Members of the Defence Stammering Network have recreated the speech King George VI delivered to the nation on the day Britain declared war on Nazi Germany.

King George VI had a severe stammer from childhood, he struggled to pronounce particular words and dreaded public speaking.

However, with the help of an Australian speech-therapist, he was able to overcome his stammer on the biggest of all stages.

In a live radio broadcast to the nation in 1939, he announced Britain was going to war with Nazi Germany and entering World War Two. 

To mark 80 years since the speech, members of the Defence Stammering Network decided to recite it.

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth tour bombed districts of north-west London during the Blitz 030919 CREDIT PA.
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth inspect a bombed district of north-west London during the Blitz in September 1940 (Picture: PA).

Captain Jimmy Lang told Forces News: "As a stammerer, we look up to His Majesty as an absolute role model for people with stammers.

"He had so much courage and conviction when he was executing his duties and I think this is the least we can do in honour of his memory."

King George was afraid of public speaking because of his stammer, something fellow stammerer Major Martin Boyd understands.

"Public speaking is one of those things which those who stammer, I suppose, struggle with and likely fear the most," he said.

"So, knowing that he was able to prepare himself in such a way to make a speech of such magnitude, it is a notable achievement."

Video: Members of the Defence Stammering Network speak to Forces News about the impact of King George's speech.

King George started the speech in 1939 by describing the time as the "most fateful in our history".

He closed the speech by saying: "The task will be hard.

"There may be dark days ahead, and war can no longer be confined to the battlefield, but we can only do the right as we see the right and reverently commit our cause to God.

"If one and all we keep resolutely faithful to it, ready for whatever service or sacrifice it may demand, then with God's help, we shall prevail. May He bless and keep us all."

King George delivered the speech impeccably and his journey was portrayed in the Oscar award-winning film, The King's Speech, starring Colin Firth.

Jane Powell, CEO of the British Stammering Association, said: "For people who stammer, it can be hugely shameful and embarrassing and too often people feel the need to hide and pretend they can speak properly. 

"I think that people talking about their stammer and doing so openly creates huge step change and a signal for anyone who stammers, that they can stammer and they can talk about it."

Watch the Defence Stammering Network's rendition of King George VI's speech at the top of this page.