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Tuesday, Jun 10, 2014

World

WWII veteran sneaks out of nursing home to attend D-Day commemoration

The New Paper | Tuesday, Jun 10, 2014

People look at paratroopers parachuting from a plane on June 8, 2014 in Sainte-Mere-Eglise, northern France, during a D-Day commemoration event marking the 70th anniversary of the World War II Allied landings in Normandy.

A World War Two veteran reported missing from a nursing home in Britain has been found in France marking the anniversary of the D Day landings.

Mr Bernard Jordan, who turns 90 next week, was on a Royal Navy ship involved in Operation Overlord - the momentous Allied landings in France on June 6, 1944.

The resident of a nursing home in the southern British town of Hove wanted to join fellow participants of the operation in commemorating its 70th anniversary on Friday.

On Thursday morning, Mr Jordan left The Pines home with his war medals hidden under a raincoat.

He told the home that he was going for a walk, the Daily Mail reported.

The home's spokesman denied that Mr Jordan had been banned from attending the D-Day events, as reported by some media outlets, although they did admit that his trip to France was unplanned.

The spokesman said: "Mr Jordan was reported missing to the police (on Thursday evening) as a matter of caution because he did not return from his normal trip to town and, when he left, had not told us he was still intent on trying to get to Normandy."

"At no stage was he banned from going to the commemorations."

By the time his disappearance was discovered, Mr Jordan had checked into a hotel in Normandy.

This sparked a frantic missing persons search on Thursday evening and police began searching the area around The Pines home, checking with hospitals, and bus and taxi companies.

But the nursing home breathed a sigh of relief when another veteran called, telling staff he had met Mr Jordan.

He said that Mr Jordan would be home when he was ready.

On the D-Day commemorations, Mr Jordan said: "Being a veteran myself, this was important to me and it meant the world to be there. I met some great characters - from old veterans to dancing girls - and I loved every minute."

His wife Irene is also at The Pines home and said she knew about his adventure in advance.

Mr Jordan said: 'My wife knew I was going and she supported me.

"I'm really pleased I did it and I'll do it again next year if I'm still here."

He returned to Britain yesterday morning to a hero's welcome.

Hove Councillor Garry Dunn said of Mr Jordan, his friend of more than 40 years: "He is such a wonderful chap. He was always very modest about the war. I know he was involved in D-Day, but he would never talk about it.

"I think he is the perfect example of a generation who did their duty, but didn't feel they had to tell people what they had done."


This article was first published on June 8, 2014.
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