MERVYN Kersh was one of only nine D-Day veterans fit enough to join the march at the Cenotaph.
In 1944, at the age of 19, he survived the beaches of Normandy and fought through Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.
The Jewish father-of-three, 98, a soldier in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, also witnessed the hell of Belsen concentration camp and was sent to help survivors of Hitler’s death camp.
Today, almost 80 years later, he was close to tears as he said: “It was a waste of time. We’re going through the same thing again.”
He wonders whether his generation’s sacrifice was worth it – as events since the murder of 1,200 Israelis by Hamas terrorists on October 7 have left him in despair.
Mervyn, from Cockfosters, north London, said of the Second World War: “It had a goal which we achieved but we seem to be losing it again and that is extremely worrying.”
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With his daughter Lynne, 70, by his side, Mervyn added: “The events of the last few weeks make clear what this was about, what we were all for.”
“If we are not strong and ready for war, we will end up in another war.”
He describes Hamas’ attacks on the Jewish nation as “cowardly and despicable.”
Next Sunday, Mervyn will attend the annual Cenotaph commemoration, hosted by the Jewish Ex-Servicemen’s Association since 1921.
At 100, Joe Randall from Teignmouth, Devon, was the oldest of the 9,618 veterans and military representatives who marched past the cenotaph to lay wreaths.
Normandy veteran Joe, an RAF corporal, remembered his friend Dick McCrystal, who was killed on New Year’s Day 1945 when the Luftwaffe shelled an airfield in Holland.
Joe said: “I’ll never forget him. It is an honor to be at the Cenotaph and to remember it with respect and dignity.”
Eight-year-old Isabelle Bovington was the youngest protester.
She was with 45 other children of parents who died in military service and is supported by the Scotty’s Little Soldiers charity.
Her father, chief naval nurse Tom Bovington, died in 2016 of an undiagnosed heart condition.
Widow Vicky, 36, from Lancaster, said: “Scotty’s made me realize that memory is for everyone, including my daughters.”