Hero's Welcome For 'Great Escape' D-Day Veteran

A D-Day veteran who went "AWOL" from his care home to see Friday's commemorations in France has returned to a hero's welcome.

Bernard Jordan, 90, was cheered and hugged by staff waving Union Flags at his nursing home in Hove, Sussex.

The former Royal Navy officer was asked if he was ready to face the music from family and staff at the nursing home.

"Yeah, I'm going to have to face that but it's just one of those things."

Mr Jordan said his wife had known about his trip.

Quizzed on whether he would go back next year, he replied: "Yes, I expect so. If I am still here, definitely!"

Brittany Ferries said Mr Jordan enjoyed a breakfast of bacon, two fried eggs, sausage, orange juice and coffee during the seven-hour crossing.

The pensioner would be given free crossings to the D-Day commemorations for the rest of his life, the company confirmed.

Police were called on Thursday night when staff realised the veteran had gone out at 10.30am and had not been seen since.

Mr Jordan, 89, has said he'll 'face the music'. (PA)Mr Jordan, 89, has said he'll 'face the music'. (PA)

Mr Jordan was wearing his medals when he left but covered them up with a grey jacket and secretly boarded a coach to France.

At 10.30pm on Thursday - 12 hours after he was last seen - a younger veteran called to say he had met the pensioner on a coach on the journey to the commemorations.

He said the pair were sitting in a hotel in Ouistreham, Normandy, where world leaders have been mingling with veterans to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

Mr Jordan, a former mayor of Hove, was pictured with "Candy Girl" ferry staff on the way back to England.

Staff member Sonia Pittam told Sky News the 90-year-old was "a game old boy".

She said: "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 and all the people waving on the route to the harbour entrance."

His niece Susan Knowles said she was "very proud" of her uncle.

She told Sky News: "The last time I saw him would be at a family funeral that he made his way down to again, and we were all quite amazed that he'd made his way to Bournemouth to this family funeral, on the train, on his own.

"He sort of just came walking up and we were quite surprised to see him there, because of his age and that, we didn't expect him to be there.

"If he's determined to do something he will."

Care home boss Peter Curtis said staff at the home had tried to get Mr Jordan onto an accredited tour with the Royal British Legion but the request ended up being too last-minute.