An 89-year-old British Royal Navy vet was so determined to get to D-Day commemorations in Normandy Friday that he snuck away from his nursing home without warning and boarded a bus for France.
Staff members at The Pines nursing home in the town of Hove in Sussex, England called police Thursday when they discovered Bernard Jordan didn’t return from his morning walk to town.
Jordan left the home wearing his war medals under a jacket and secretly boarded a bus to France, Sky News reported.
After searching for 12 hours, the home received a call from a younger veteran who had met Jordan on the bus and said he was safe. The two vets were at a hotel in Ouistreham, Normandy, where world leaders and veterans from all over the world were marking the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
"We have spoken to the veteran who called the home today and are satisfied that the pensioner is fine and that his friends are going to ensure he gets back to Hove safely over the next couple of days, after the D-Day celebrations finish," a Sussex Police spokesman said in the Sky report.
Jordan was the former mayor of Hove and when local authorities discovered his sneaky escape, they hailed the vet as a hero again.
Hove police posted its support on Twitter Friday. “90 year old veteran reported missing from care home. Turns out they'd said no to him going to #DDay70 but he went anyway #fightingspirit"’ read the tweet.
Initial reports suggested the home would not allow Jordan to attend the festivities. But a spokesman for the home said it was "definitely not the case" that Jordan was banned from attending D-Day commemorations.
"Mr. Jordan has full capacity, which means that he can come and go from the home as he pleases, which he does on most days” Peter Curtis, chief executive of Gracewell Healthcare told the BBC.
"At no stage was he banned from going to the commemorations," Curtis added.
Staff members at the home had actually tried to get Jordan on an accredited tour with the Royal British Legion but he made his request too late so it wasn’t possible.
Les Hamilton, another former mayor of Hove who knows Jordan, told the BBC the vet had attended the 50th and 60th memorial services in Normandy.
"The memorial services meant a lot to him. He clearly didn't want to miss what might be his last one," Hamilton said.