British World War II veteran Bernard Jordan returned to his nursing home to applause on Saturday after sneaking away unannounced to attend the D-Day commemorations in Normandy, France. After he didn’t return from a walk on Thursday, Jordan’s disappearance was reported to the police by the home, which today said he is in “sparkling form.”
"I am delighted to be back at home with my wife and the wonderful staff here at The Pines,” Jordan said in a statement obtained by the BBC. “I was never banned from going to commemorations - I just decided to make my own way there.”
Early reports said that Jordan hadn’t been allowed to attend the remembrances but the chief executive of The Pines Care Home said they had reached out to the British Legion to secure Jordan a spot on an official trip but were told it was full.
“We got him a new blazer for his medals and a new shirt, and he had that on, and I think being Bernie, come the morning he just he thought, 'ah, it’s D-Day now, and I’m off, I’m going,' so he just took himself,” said Gracewell Care Homes Chief Executive Peter Curtis.
Without telling even his wife, Jordan boarded a bus and then a ferry to make the crossing to France.
“I knew he was a game old boy, he certainly has his wits about him,” said a spokeswoman for the ferry company.
Brittany Ferries released a photo of Jordan with members of the "Candy Girls," a female singing group hired to sing songs from the 1940s to veterans riding the ferry.
On that same ride, Jordan met a group of veterans from the city of Brighton, Curtis told the BBC, who took Jordan under their wing and alerted The Pines that Jordan was with them.
Asked how Jordan’s wife responded to his disappearance, Curtis responded: “She said, ‘Oh, I’m not in the least bit surprised.’”
“I don’t think she was worried for a minute because she knows he’s been in a lot worse scrapes than that, that’s for sure,” he added.
Jordan waved to onlookers as he got off the ferry back in England on Saturday and told reporters the trip was “quite exciting” and that it’s “marvelous” to be home.
“This is a smashing country and I'm proud to have served it,” he said.
Jordan was a Royal Navy officer who from 1995-1996 served as mayor of the town of Hove, where The Pines nursing home is located.
As for whether he’ll go back to Normandy again, Jordan told ITV News: “I have been here last year and I have been here obviously this time ... but if I am still about I shall try next year's as well."