89-year-old UK veteran missing from nursing home turns up at Normandy ceremony

posted at 7:21 pm on June 6, 2014 by Mary Katharine Ham

Bernard Jordan, a veteran of the Royal Navy during World War II, left his nursing home in a small British town Thursday morning for what everyone assumed was his normal trip to town. He wore a raincoat, with his medals affixed to his chest underneath. When he didn’t return that evening, he was reported missing. It turns out, Jordan hadn’t been able to get on an organized trip to Normandy with other veterans, so he made his own way there:

Staff later discovered he had joined other veterans in France and was safe and well at a hotel in Ouistreham.

Later it emerged that the former Royal Navy officer was on a ferry home.

Brittany Ferries confirmed he was on his way back to the UK and had been given a cabin, meals and a transfer back to his nursing home.

Prior to embarking, Mr 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.”

Asked if he would be in trouble when he returned home, he added: “I might be, but I hope not.”

Ship’s liaison officer Sonia Pittam, who met Mr Jordan on his way to France, said: “I knew he was a game old boy.

“He certainly has his wits about him, he didn’t say much about the landings, just how pleased he was to be on board and couldn’t believe how everyone was looking after them [veterans] and all the people waving on the route to the harbour entrance.

“He kept saying, ‘All this for us’.”

Thank you, Mr. Jordan. I’m so glad you got to be there, and I’m praying you’ll be there next year, too.

Another living World War II veteran spoke with “Morning Joe” today about his harrowing jump into enemy territory. He lied about his age to enlist and was 16 when he hit the ground in occupied Europe. Thank you Mr. Colwel:

Watch to the end of this clip, when Colwel stymies an attempt by the Mike Barnicle to get a little Oprah on him. Colwel is remembering the first enemy soldier he had to kill, and the admonition of his Christian mother that he should never murder. “And, you carry that with you still,” Barnicle asks knowingly. Colwel almost says yes, but takes a quick turn into a very matter-of-fact, “No, not really now.” Something about that feels so appropriate and endearing, and indicative of the kind of men it took to win that war.

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…they don’t make them like that anymore!

KOOLAID2 on June 6, 2014 at 7:35 PM

This and the solider who turned down Obama’s invitation – best stories of the day.

Thank you Greatest Generation.

gophergirl on June 6, 2014 at 7:36 PM

REAL BAD ASSES. No fakers in that crowd…

Doc Holliday on June 6, 2014 at 7:36 PM

How very awesome!

Key West Reader on June 6, 2014 at 7:39 PM

Real men, they will be dead soon.

It’s a devoid world.

Yesterday it was 10 years since Ronald Reagan died.

We remember

Schadenfreude on June 6, 2014 at 7:39 PM

Great palate cleanser

rbj on June 6, 2014 at 7:41 PM

obama has Susan Rice “Bergdahl served with honor and distinction; he enrolled”. She has no clue what the first part means.

She is the obama admin. Jeantel on TV, and a national embarrassment for the entire cabal.

Schadenfreude on June 6, 2014 at 7:41 PM

when Colwel stymies an attempt by the Mike the Barnicle to get a little Oprah on him.

I moved the “the”, for clarity :)

Schadenfreude on June 6, 2014 at 7:43 PM

Yield but to St George

vinman on June 6, 2014 at 7:43 PM

“All this for us?”

Yes sir. Now please excuse me, I’ve got something in my eye…

battalion on June 6, 2014 at 7:46 PM

…they don’t make them like that anymore!

KOOLAID2 on June 6, 2014 at 7:35 PM

^^

bazil9 on June 6, 2014 at 7:46 PM

Thanks MK.

My father was there, 70 years ago. 82nd AA.

obama has Susan Rice “Bergdahl served with honor and distinction; he enrolled”. She has no clue what the first part means.

Schadenfreude on June 6, 2014 at 7:41 PM

Yes, so true. These people, this admin, these “progressives” – no clue.

Chuck Ef on June 6, 2014 at 7:48 PM

If he was in the VA, they wouldn’t miss him for 115 more days.

faraway on June 6, 2014 at 12:39 PM

faraway on June 6, 2014 at 7:52 PM

I bet he thought he made a wrong turn when he saw the dancing fairies

faraway on June 6, 2014 at 7:54 PM

“It didn’t (compare),” Martin said, “because there wasn’t anybody shooting at me today.”

http://legalinsurrection.com/2014/06/feel-good-story-of-the-d-day/

davidk on June 6, 2014 at 7:55 PM

These guys make Attila the Hun look like Gandhi. True Warriors!! You are the Greatest Generation. There will NEVER be another.

rick_blaines_forehead on June 6, 2014 at 7:56 PM

This brave man had to endure that frigin ballet too as if everything he has endured so far was not enough :(

burrata on June 6, 2014 at 7:56 PM

Awesome

Chuck Schick on June 6, 2014 at 7:57 PM

All this for a damn flag?

rogerb on June 6, 2014 at 7:57 PM

Brittany Ferries confirmed he was on his way back to the UK and had been given a cabin, meals and a transfer back to his nursing home.

Fitting. His first crossing was all-expenses-paid as well.

(Though I do think he “paid” his way.)

Lolo on June 6, 2014 at 7:59 PM

My father was there 70 years ago; served in the British army. He is still with us today, same age as the chap in the story. He still mows the damn lawn. He blows me away…

yubley on June 6, 2014 at 8:01 PM

Obama: You didn’t build this

faraway on June 6, 2014 at 8:03 PM

Sniff, stupid allergies, sniff.

My 90 year old grandfather served in WW2. When his big brother died a few years ago, it was allegedly with shrapnel from Normandy still in his neck.

Special and heroic men who never thought of themselves as such.

hollygolightly on June 6, 2014 at 8:13 PM

What makes me weep is that these brave men were just boys on That Day. 17,18,20 years old… the same age as the 2013 pajama boys who drink cocoa and talk about Obamacare with their betters on Christmas.

What with TV and the internet, That Day can never be repeated; the instant view of the carnage would render us too weak to continue.

Can we only rely on the hope that bad men won’t be so bad in future? We certainly can’t muster the stones to see our sons die in a good cause as our forebears did…

Dolce Far Niente on June 6, 2014 at 8:16 PM

Thank you all for lighting our way, gentlemen.

EvilMonk on June 6, 2014 at 8:18 PM

This is both a melancholy and a proud time for me. Dad flew paratroopers during the DDay invasion and in various theaters of the European was. He passed away eight years ago yesterday, and I am sure that he would be disgusted to see what has become of our country’s leadership.

Dad never talked about his time in the service during the war until much, much later when I told him about my travels to various places in Europe.

This was a generation of manly men, a great generation indeed.

onlineanalyst on June 6, 2014 at 8:20 PM

Storms the Normandy beach twice in a lifetime. That’s a story. Obama ignores Putin? Boring

BobMbx on June 6, 2014 at 8:23 PM

Real men. There are some like that now but not many. And don’t forget the women.

crankyoldlady on June 6, 2014 at 8:29 PM

My Uncle is 89 and was in the Pacific. Piloted a Higgins boat. Said he had a Zero dive right at him after unloading troops. Which caused him to jump overboard. But says he wasn’t that brave because he wasn’t in the big landings such as Guadalcanal. Still cuts wood to heat with but does use a splitter these days.

CW20 on June 6, 2014 at 8:34 PM

This guy didn’t sit around waiting for someone to take him there and whine about it when they didn’t.

All you have to do is look at the headlines to see the difference between then and now.

crankyoldlady on June 6, 2014 at 8:41 PM

Not sure if WWII counts as a victory anymore as I watch what western civilization is being turned into.

KMC1 on June 6, 2014 at 8:44 PM

Awesome.

wolly4321 on June 6, 2014 at 8:45 PM

My Uncle is 89 and was in the Pacific . . . . . . Still cuts wood to heat with but does use a splitter these days.

CW20 on June 6, 2014 at 8:34 PM

.
Powered splitter, or not … that’s quite a feat. God bless your uncle . . . wow

listens2glenn on June 6, 2014 at 8:49 PM

Not sure if WWII counts as a victory anymore as I watch what western civilization is being turned into.

KMC1 on June 6, 2014 at 8:44 PM

.
I totally understand your sentiment, but both World Wars were about the re-establishing of the state of Israel, and that makes them totally successful, in the most positive sense.

listens2glenn on June 6, 2014 at 8:55 PM

I hope it’s not disrespectful to say “adorable.” What a guy!

Fallon on June 6, 2014 at 8:56 PM

Like I said in the headline thread on this:

Still swinging a pair after all these years.

Give ‘em hell, Pop!

CurtZHP on June 6, 2014 at 9:03 PM

God Bless Our WWII Vets!

Salute!

*sniff*

Newtie and the Beauty on June 6, 2014 at 9:06 PM

Bernard Jordan?

Disobeyed orders in order to join his Band of Brothers during a time of war.

Bowe Bergdahl?

Disobeyed orders in order to desert and take off looking for the enemy during a time of war.

Pretty much says. it. all.

It also tells us a lot about contrasts Obama:

American-hating military deserters?

Obama bails him out and makes the worst trade in American history.

The Greatest Generation?

Obama closes down their open-air memorials and sends the Nationalsozialismus Park Service to harass and intimidate them.

Resist We Much on June 6, 2014 at 9:23 PM

Heart of oak :) God bless you, Mr. Jordan!

c4 on June 6, 2014 at 9:47 PM

How I yearn for more real men like the ones who were part of the greatest generation. Not the phony nancy-boys and metro nerds.

HiJack on June 6, 2014 at 9:48 PM

True Warrior stares Death in the face, doesn’t blink; storms The Beach. Seventy years later, goes back and does it again. Wants no recognition and wonders why we are making a big deal out of it.

Zero gives a sideways glance to Putin; is immediately sodomized (dry) and runs away with a bleeding anus; wonders why people can be so mean, says “oh, fuch it”; goes out and plays nine.

To The Greatest Generation: There will never be another like you, and the world can never even begin to repay you for what you have done. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.

I am sorry we are not worthy of your suffering and sacrifices.

rick_blaines_forehead on June 6, 2014 at 9:49 PM

My dad was a Merchant Marine, and they had the worst casualty rate of the war. They took men as young as 16 and as old as 78. The War Department wouldn’t give casualty rates the first 3 years of the war because of how it would suppress volunteers.

When he was 16 off the coast of Oran a German plane bombed his ship and a piece of shrapnel tore a hole in his head and lodged in his brain. He was put in an old truck and driven 23 miles to the hospital. One of his shipmates saved his life from the bumping of the truck by cradling him in his arms like a baby. When he got there the British doctor said “Good Lord we’re fighting the war with children!”

Fast forward, last year dad was at the doctors prepping for eye surgery. The doctor had given him a quizzical look. The doctor said “let me put this plain and simple, we don’t understand how you’re still alive. You have a piece of shrapnel in your brain and any other man would be dead.”

God bless all our veterans and all they do for us.

itsspideyman on June 6, 2014 at 9:57 PM

He didn’t take any crap from the Nazis and he won’t take any from the nanny state either!

PattyJ on June 6, 2014 at 10:08 PM

He had his mind made up. I just moved my grandmother into a “home” so this gives me goosebumps and tears.

Jackalope on June 6, 2014 at 11:06 PM

Real men. There are some like that now but not many. And don’t forget the women.

crankyoldlady on June 6, 2014 at 8:29 PM

My step father (who passed about a fourteen years ago) was such a typical WWII vet in that he rarely talked at all about the war. It was only when I expressed a deep and sincere interest shortly before he passed that he shared with me his experiences. It is stunning what he went through…along with his fellows. I can’t get over the price they paid for me and for our country.

My mom passed this week at the good old age of 89. As part of the (very nice) family gathering I had the great pleasure of catching up with my nephew who came to town to be with us. He was with the 173rd Airborne and among the first to jump into northern Iraq at the beginning of the war. He went on to become a Ranger…and then became a helicopter pilot and flew many missions in Afghanistan. He flies the Kiowa. His wife…flies the Apache. His only heartache he expressed to me this week was that she has had more opportunities to get the bad guys!! They are both truly bad-ass…and also just wonderful people.

I’m very grateful for our military…past and present. Thanks!

dont taze me bro on June 6, 2014 at 11:12 PM

The Greatest Generation: Intestinal Fortitude.
The Millennial Generation: Intestinal Leakage.

To all the heroes that are too humble to accept the title, Thank You!

AppraisHer on June 6, 2014 at 11:14 PM

Classy guy on the world stage

Schadenfreude on June 6, 2014 at 11:24 PM

I love each and every one of those WWII veterans. A couple of years ago I was flying a ride in a PT-19 with a guy who had learned to fly in them and flew P-47′s in Italy. He jumped onto the wing and in the back cockpit like he’d done it yesterday. Sometime during his training, he took his girlfriend (married to her for 70) flying against Army regulations. Spry and ornery as all get out. They are living history and I’m so honored to get to meet them.

TulsAmerican on June 6, 2014 at 11:32 PM

I feel like a big wimp compared to a man 32 years my senior…. Because I AM!

Tard on June 7, 2014 at 12:14 AM

Men like this are rarer and rarer. I really do despair for the future of our world. At the current trajectory, things CANNOT end well.

Paperclips on June 7, 2014 at 3:05 AM

It is precisely that kind of ‘pluck’ that made them the Greatest Generation!

rmkdbq on June 7, 2014 at 5:32 AM

AWESOME!!!

hawkdriver on June 7, 2014 at 7:49 AM

itsspideyman on June 6, 2014 at 9:57 PM

Thanks for sharing, there are so many great untold stories of WWII.

gator70 on June 7, 2014 at 8:04 AM

With all the metro wusses we have today, we would be hard pressed to fight like those warriors did…

crosshugger on June 7, 2014 at 8:41 AM

Thanks for your service, Bernard, now stay away from the NHS if you want to be there next year.

Kissmygrits on June 7, 2014 at 9:56 AM

My father and Grandfather were there in the 1 Infantry Division, and my mother and uncle was in the Dutch underground. They served with distinction, valour and a sense of extreme duty. Thank you.

leader4hru on June 7, 2014 at 12:12 PM

May God bless Veteran Jordan and his colleagues from that war.

Kevin K. on June 7, 2014 at 4:27 PM

Ham’s deluded and confused and confusing babbling about his Christian mother and about murder are the usual Biblically illiterate ravings of those who are sadly worse than clueless when it comes to even PRETENDING to understand God and the Bible, not that they WOULD considering the humility that would require intolerably quenching their incessant penchant for “Ham”-handed pontificating.

russedav on June 8, 2014 at 4:35 AM