Ben Farmer, The Telegraph
Jun. 6, 2014, 1:08 PM
Bernard Jordan, former mayor of Hove, was identified as the veteran who absconded from his care home and made his way to Normandy
An 89-year-old Second World War veteran told he could not attend today’s D-Day events in France went AWOL from his care home and was found 12 hours later in Normandy with comrades police have confirmed.
The unnamed veteran decided to disregard his carers’ orders, put on his medals under his raincoat and set off to join events on the beaches of Northern France for the 70th anniversary of the landings.
After the alarm was raised at the care home in Hove, Sussex, police searched the area and checked hospitals and bus and taxi companies.
But the extent of the veteran’s resolve became clear on Thursday evening when police were informed by another veteran that the missing man had joined a coach party and made his way to Ouistreham.
Ch Supt Nev Kemp, police commander for Brighton and Hove, said the man was “reported missing to us by a care home who said he can't go to Normandy for D-day remembrance. We've found him there!”
A spokesman for Sussex police said: “We were called at 7.15pm yesterday (Thursday 5 June) by staff at a nursing home in Hove who said an 89-year-old who lived there had gone out at 10.30am that morning and had not been seen since.
“The nursing home received a phone call from a younger veteran from Brighton at 10.30pm who said he had met the pensioner on a coach on the way to France and that they were safe and well in a hotel in Ouistreham.
“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.”