Sussex

D-Day veteran 'escapee' Bernard Jordan dies aged 90

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Media captionDuncan Kennedy reports on the death of Bernard Jordan, whose cross Channel expedition in his 90th year drew world media attention

A World War Two veteran who disappeared from his nursing home to attend the 70th anniversary D-Day commemorations in France has died.

Bernard Jordan sparked a police search when he left the care home in Hove to join fellow veterans last June.

The 90-year-old former navy officer died in hospital.

A statement from Gracewell Healthcare said he would be "much missed by his beloved wife and all his friends at The Pines Care Home in Hove".

'No nonsense attitude'

Managing director Amanda Scott said: "Bernie caught the world's imagination last year when he made his 'surprise' trip to France and brought a huge amount of joy to a lot of people.

Image copyright Gracewell Healthcare
Image caption Bernard Jordan served in the Royal Navy

"He will be much missed by everyone here and our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife.

"Bernie was always insistent that what he did during the war was nothing unusual, and only what many thousands of others did for their country.

"That may well be true, but the little bit of excitement he gave everyone last June was typical of his no nonsense attitude to life and is how he will be remembered by thousands of people."

Mr Jordan left the care home unannounced on 5 June 2014, and was reported missing to Sussex Police later that day.

Staff later discovered he had joined hundreds of other veterans in France at events on the beaches of Normandy.

'Pay respects'

The D-Day landings were the first stage of the invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe.

Asked why he travelled across to Normandy, Mr Jordan, said: "My thoughts were with my mates who had been killed.

"I was going across to pay my respects. I was a bit off course but I got there."

Mr Jordan, a former mayor of Hove, was honoured "in recognition of eminent past services" to Hove Borough Council in July.

He was made an honorary alderman of Brighton and Hove and called "a living legend" by the mayor, Brian Fitch.

Councillor Fitch said: "I will remember Bernie as a hard-working politician, as a great mayor of the city, and as someone who helped people."

He said his escape from his care home showed "a determination to achieve one of the things he believed in".

"He was a very lovely guy who cared about people."

Mr Jordan was made an honorary life member of the Veterans Association UK following his trip to Normandy.

Tony Hayes, chief executive, said he was very sad to hear of the death of the "great escapist", and he would be remembered as "a real character".

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