The great escape to see band of brothers
Seventy years after he endured the bloody carnage of D-Day, one Normandy veteran summed up just how much it meant to Britain's wartime heroes to honour their fallen comrades yesterday for what might be the last time.
Bernard Jordan, an 89-year-old Royal Navy veteran, had been told by staff at the care home where he lives in Hove that he would not be able to travel to France for the 70th anniversary because they could not organise transport for him.
Mr Jordan, however, was not prepared to take no for an answer. Showing all the determination that got him through the Normandy invasion, he pinned his medals to his chest, grabbed his raincoat and set off under his own steam, catching a coach to France.
Yesterday, after prompting an international missing persons and a police inquiry alert, he joined hundreds of his friends to commemorate the heroism and sacrifice of those who did not survive the largest seaborne invasion in history.
Ceremonies at Sword Beach, in Arromanches and Bayeux were attended by 650 British veterans, but for many of them it was a last farewell to the land they liberated.
The Normandy Veterans Association will be disbanded later this year, after its members decided too few will be alive in five years' time to make the 75th anniversary a major event.
Councillor Garry Dunn, a friend of Mr Jordan for almost 40 years, said: "It makes me proud to be British because he is a proud Briton. He is such a wonderful chap." (© Daily Telegraph, London)