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.