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British pensioner flees care home to join D-Day ceremonies
Alpha jets, part of the Patrouille Acrobatique de France, leave trails of smoke in the colors of the French flag during an international D-Day commemoration ceremony on the beach of Ouistreham, Normandy, on June 6, 2014, marking the 70th anniversary of the World War II Allied landings in Normandy. AFP PHOTO / DAMIEN MEYER.
LONDON (AFP).- An 89-year-old British World War II veteran who went missing from his retirement home was found in France enjoying a D-Day anniversary get-together with former comrades, police said Friday.

Bernard Jordan slipped out of The Pines care home in the seaside town of Hove in southern England on Thursday wearing his medals under his raincoat.

The former Royal Navy officer then joined a coach party heading for events marking the 70th anniversary of the landings at Ouistreham in Normandy, northern France.

"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," Jordan told broadcaster ITV.

Asked if he could be in trouble when he returned to the care home, he added: "I might be, but I hope not."

His retirement home insisted Jordan was not banned from joining the commemorations, as was initially reported.

"Staff at the home tried to get Mr Jordan on to an accredited tour with the Royal British Legion but, due to the last minute nature of the request, this was not possible," said Peter Curtis, chief executive of Gracewell Healthcare, which runs The Pines.

"Mr Jordan was reported missing to the police yesterday evening as a matter of caution because he did not return form his normal trip to town and when he left had not told us he was still intent on trying to get to Normandy."

Jordan is a former mayor of Hove whose proudest moments include meeting former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, according to a recent Gracewell Healthcare blog posting about him.

A spokesman for Sussex Police confirmed Jordan had been unaccounted for for about 12 hours before another, younger veteran contacted the nursing home to say he was safe but in France.

"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," the spokesman added.


© 1994-2014 Agence France-Presse



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