Farewell for D-Day Great Escaper

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Published: Friday 30th January 2015 by The News Editor

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The funeral service will take place today of a war veteran who left his care home to attend last year’s 70th anniversary D-Day events in France.

It will be a joint service for Bernard Jordan and his wife Irene who died seven days apart following more than 50 years of marriage.

Mourners are expected to pack St Michael and All Angels Church in Brighton, East Sussex, this morning to bid farewell to the couple.

Mr Jordan died aged 90 on December 30 – six months after he earned the nickname the Great Escaper following his cross-Channel adventure last summer.

His wife died a week later, aged 88, prompting tributes to the couple who it emerged this week left their entire £600,000 estate to the RNLI.

Mr Jordan, known as Bernie, sprang to prominence when he left his care home in Hove to go to D-Day events in Normandy wearing his war medals and grey mac.

His disappearance sparked a police search last June 5 and his whereabouts emerged only when a younger veteran phoned later that night to say he had met Mr Jordan and he was safe.

Royal Navy veteran Mr Jordan, an ex-mayor of Hove, told reporters on his return that his aim was to remember his fallen “mates”.

He had decided to join British veterans, most making their final pilgrimage to revisit the scene of their momentous invasion, to remember the heroes of the liberation of Europe.

Some 156,000 Allied troops landed on the five invasion beaches on June 6 1944, sparking an 80-day campaign to liberate Normandy involving three million troops and costing 250,000 lives.

Mr Jordan had hoped to return to Normandy this June. Brittany Ferries, which carried him across the Channel last summer, offered him free crossings to D-Day events for the rest of his life.

Following his death, the Royal British Legion said Mr Jordan’s decision to go to France highlighted “the spirit that epitomises the Second World War generation”.

On his 90th birthday, days after he returned from his escapade, he was inundated with more than 2,500 birthday cards from around the world.

Mr Jordan was later made an honorary alderman of Brighton and Hove in a special ceremony at Brighton Town Hall.

He joined an elite list to receive the honour, including Burmese democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi, former Olympic champion Steve Ovett, and First World War hero Henry Allingham, who became the world’s oldest man before his death aged 113 in 2009.

Published: Friday 30th January 2015 by The News Editor

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