Interviews as powerful as this are rarely forgotten.
What is your morning ritual?
Are you straight in with the coffee? Or are you someone who can get on with preparing for the day right away? Whatever your morning routine consists of, we imagine there’s some music, TV or radio involved…
It’s nice to have some voices gradually usher us into the day, and for most, BBC Breakfast is the best way to wake up and keep up to date with current affairs.
Both entertaining and educational, it’s hard to knock it really. However, some moments feel far more special than others. On Friday, November 8th 2019, audiences were particularly captivated by the warm presence of Harry Billinge; better proof than any that it’s not all doom and gloom.
Who is Harry Billinge?
Harry Billinge is a 93-year-old World War II veteran, whose accounts are compelling, fascinating and essential in understanding the horrors and importance of the war effort.
He actually spoke to the BBC’s Naga Munchetty back in June 2019, sharing his first-hand experiences of the Normandy landings. As highlighted by Metro, a then 18-year-old Sapper for the Royal Engineer was actually one of the first to emerge on the Gold Beach those many years ago.
In that previous interview, Harry described that he “landed in hell”. However, when Naga offered her thoughts – “We are grateful to you” – he simply said: “Don’t thank me and don’t say I’m a hero…”
He continued: “I’m no hero, I was lucky. I’m here. All the heroes are dead and I’ll never forget them as long as I live.”
War veteran Harry Billinge wins BBC Breakfast!
On Friday, November 8th 2019, BBC Breakfast was once again graced by Harry’s presence.
Interviewed again, this time the veteran was aiming to raise £22,000 for a memorial in remembrance of more than 22,000 troops who died under British command.
It’s beautiful to hear him describe how passionate he is about his cause, and the range of interviews with the public offer a great accompaniment for this emotional story.
We then cut to Harry back in the studio, with Naga praising him for campaigning tirelessly in honour of those who will never be forgotten. “I’m doing something for the boys who never came back,” he explains, talking about the work he has been doing recently.
In a particularly notable moment, he says: “Nobody can ever describe D-Day. I’ve heard a lot of what they call bulls**t, and that’s true…”
The moment on #BBCBreakfast that WWII veteran Harry Billinge saw footage for the first time of a #DDay memorial being built with funds he’s raised through #PoppyAppeal sales pic.twitter.com/lcUUY85dot— BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) November 8, 2019
Audiences react to Harry Billinge on Twitter
One viewer wrote: “What an amazing man veteran Harry Billinge is. Wonderful to hear him talking to @BBCNaga & Charlie on #BBCBreakfast. Love the fact that he says whatever he wants but… he’s earned it. Some #FridayWisdom for us all.”
A number of famous personalities have praised him, with comedian Russell Howard also tweeting: “Just watching the Harry Billinge interview on BBC Breakfast. If you get the chance I really recommend it. A beautiful soul and inspiration to us all.”
Sharron Davies also tweeted: “Thank you @BBCBreakfast @BBCNaga for the Harry Billinge interview & not cutting him off… what a truly wonderful man who’s seen so much. Less we forget all the sacrifices for our freedom… we must remember.”
In other news, has For All Mankind been renewed?