WWII Vet Celebrates 100th Birthday By Sharing Secret Message He Decoded Two Days Before VE Day.

WWII Message

To celebrate his 100th birthday on February 8, 2024, Sergeant Bernard Morgan shared a top-secret message he unintentionally intercepted two days before the official surrender of German forces.

At 20 years old, Bernard was the youngest Royal Air Force member to land in Normandy on June 6, 1944. He entered combat as part of an elite team of codebreakers.

Sergeant Bernard Morgan

For nearly a year, he used a then-classified Type X machine to encrypt messages that told the RAF and British officials where aircraft were needed. But on May 6, 1945, while he was stationed in Schneverdingen, Germany, he and his team saw a message come through that wasn’t meant for their eyes. Bernard was the first person to see it.

“The German War is now over,” it read. “At Rheims last night the instrument of surrender was signed which in effect is a surrender of all personnel of the German forces – all equipment and shipping and all machinery in Germany.”

“Nothing will be destroyed anywhere. The surrender is effective some time tomorrow. This news will not be communicated to anyone outside the service nor to members of the press,” the message concluded.

WWII Message

The internal announcement was the prelude to VE Day on May 8, which was when the rest of the world heard the news.

“It was a surprise,” Berard said, via The Mirror. “We couldn’t tell anybody until we got the final message to say the war in Germany was now over.”

WWII Vet Will Keep the Decoded Message With His Family

While Bernard and his team couldn’t scream the news from the mountaintop like they wanted, they still had a private celebration.

“It was nice to see that no more soldiers, sailors, or airmen were giving their lives, he continued.”… And also to thank the civilians who gave their lives for the same reason.

Because of a contract he signed prior to becoming a codebreaker, it was 50 years before Bernard was allowed to tell anyone that he was the first Allied service member to learn that the Third Reich was surrendering.

Bernard did share that he had the decoded WWII message in his possession before his 100th birthday. But for his special milestone, he dressed in the same uniform he wore on D-Day. And he read the words out loud to the interviewers.

Sergeant Bernard Morgan

“I am always keen for the younger generation to know exactly what went on during the War and to appreciate the sacrifice that our lads made so that we can enjoy the freedoms we have today,” he said.

While museums have asked to add the original copy to their collections, Bernard declined.

“The Imperial War Museum in London and in Manchester both wanted the original copy. They weren’t interested in a photocopy – but I’m keeping it for my family,” Bernard said.

The Nazis officially surrendered on May 8, 1945, nine days after Adolf Hitler committed suicide. But the day only marked the end of the war in Europe. The Empire of Japan didn’t surrender until September 2, 1945.

You can find the source of this story’s featured image here.

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