Bernard Jordan wanted to travel to Normandy this week to commemorate the D-Day landing he took part in 70 years ago, but administrators at a nursing home in East Sussex, England, said he couldn’t.
So Bernard took matters into his own hands.
The 91-year-old told the nursing home staff that he was going for a walk, but what they didn’t know was that underneath his grey jacket Bernard had on his war medals. When Bernard got out of sight of the nursing home he hopped into a car with a friend and made his getaway.
As they two were making their way to France to commemorate the day Allied forced stormed the beaches and broke the Nazi stronghold, officials at the nursing home were calling police to report Bernard missing.
It took a few hours, but Bernard Jordan was eventually found safe — in Ouistreham, France. Jordan and his veteran friend had crossed the English channel and made their way to the commemorations.
Once the police figured out where Bernard Jordan had gone, they called off the search.
“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 police spokesman said. “Once the pensioner is home, we will go and have a chat with him to check he is OK.”
Police even offered a bit of support for the decorated veteran. Nev Kemp, the police commander for the city of Brighton and Hove, tweeted: “Love this: 89yr old veteran reported missing by care home who said he can’t go to Normandy for #DDay70 remembrance. We’ve found him there!”
Not all D-Day veterans were as fortunate as Bernard Jordan. One veteran, who drove one of the first armored cars to enter German-occupied territory, was all set to join his surviving veterans in France but was stopped at the airport — for a spelling error on his passport.
Jim Peaks, 91, was turned away after officials found this his middle name was misspelled on his initial passport application.
Peaks was able to keep perspective about the incident.
“These things happen,” he said. “I was hoping to perhaps see somebody I knew, an old mate. But I wasn’t counting on it. I wanted to see the beach again. But you take these things as they come.”
Bernard Jordan reportedly found his controversy to be funny. A BBC reporter caught up with the WWII veteran in France, saying the 89-year-old “can’t believe the fuss” over his disappearance.