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D-Day veteran Bernard Jordan dies after lifetime of duty and adventure

January 7th, 2015

Such was the respect in which he was held following his headline-generating adventures across the Channel that on his 90th birthday, a few days after his return, he received more than 2,500 cards from well-wishers around the world.

Mr Jordan died peacefully in hospital. In a statement by Gracewell Healthcare, which runs The Pines care home in Hove, East Sussex, where Mr Jordan lived, said he would be “much missed” by his wife Irene and many friends.

Amanda Scott, managing director of Gracewell Healthcare, said: “Bernie caught the world’s imagination last year when he made his ‘surprise’ trip to France and bought a huge amount of joy to a lot of people.


Bernard Jordan on the ferry with The Candy Girls

“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.”

A month after his escapade in France, Mr Jordan was made an honorary alderman of Brighton and Hove during a reception at Brighton Town Hall.

Asked at the reception why he travelled to Normandy, Mr Jordan, former mayor of Hove who served as a councillor for 34 years, 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.”

He added: “Britain is a smashing country and the people are smashing, and if you have to do something a bit special, then they are worth every effort.”

Bernard with his medals (GRACEWELL HEALTHCARE)

Mr Jordan did indeed do something special for his country, as his campaign medals testified.

As a 19-year-old junior officer in the Royal Navy he had been plunged into the thick of it on June 6, 1944.

His ship was one of a flotilla of 6,939 vessels assembled by commanders as part of the Allied plan to create a bridgehead to get thousands of troops and equipment into northern France, as the first step of pushing the Nazis all the way back to Berlin.

Men like Mr Jordan played a key role in that plan, providing covering fire for the thousands of troops and tanks wading ashore in the face a hail of machine gun and shell fire from the Germans dug into concrete bunkers on the cliffs above.

Mr Jordan had already taken part in the Battle of the Atlantic, which saw British ships engaged in a cat and mouse game with German U-boats in the struggle to keep vital supply routes from the United States.


Bernard Jordan surrounded by cards and gifts received for his 90th birthday (PA)

On one occasion Mr Jordan was part of a boarding party which captured one of the Enigma coding machines used by the Germans after his forced a U-boat submarine to the surface.

Mr Jordan also served in the Italian campaign, which saw British naval ships transporting and supplying the troops fighting their way up the spine of the Peninsula, as part of the Allied effort to drive the Nazis out of occupied Europe.

Brian Fitch, the mayor of Brighton and Hove, said: “He made a major contribution, but he was also just an ordinary hard-working bloke, an electrician by trade, and a lovely character. We will really miss him.”


World War Two

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