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Operation Overlord. D-Day

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Operation Overlord. D-Day

Post by PeterMac on 04.06.14 8:33

The 70th anniversary of the beginning of the liberation of Europe is upon us.
Let us remember.
It was 6 o’clock.

They knew it would not be easy.   Down the ramp and through the surf but by the time they were halfway up the beach Brian was already aware that something was badly wrong over to his left.

There were six landing craft in line on that narrow stretch of beach.   From each came a flail tank, Shermans with the long arms and the revolving chains at the front, the ones the boys called ‘crabs’.  They  were to flail six parallel tracks through the minefields hidden under the sand, and then the battle tanks, the smaller Churchills, and more DD Shermans would follow and overtake once they reached the road that ran along the back of the dunes.
Then they were to turn inward left and right and grind up the long road to the battery at the top, and put it out of action before the infantry landed.  ‘The poor bloody infantry’, as they have been called all through history.
Two of the ‘crabs’ on Brian’s left, to the west back towards La Riviere, had got bogged down in the bue clay patches which lurked treacherously under the sand. The wet clay was as slippery as axle grease, and it would take the sappers the rest of that day to get them out.
The dunes here were fairly flat, and there was only token resistance from small machine gun posts. No match for his gunner.  They avoided the ‘hedgehogs’, lurched and thrashed their way to the end of the sand, up and over, through the marram grass holding the dunes together, got to the road, turned left a bit to avoid the swamp, and then flailed a track directly south to the abandoned road with the battery.  Another crab flogged a path exactly to Brian’s right, making a wide safe lane for the Dragoon Guards ‘DD swimming’ tanks, and the others who would pour in over the next weeks.

They were all strangely pleased that there had been no resistance from ‘Lavatory Pan Villa’.  They had grown to love it during their briefings.   It was, and is, an old country house, clad in white clapper board, in its own grounds behind a proper gate with white painted stone posts, and with a circular drive, a sweep - in the language of that time - of white gravel.  On the aerial photos the reconnaissance boys had taken over the last months it looked exactly like a white porcelain toilet.  There were no other houses round, and it had been chosen as a significant landmark and orientation point.  
They were pleased they did not have to destroy it.  That would not have felt right.

The battery was, in the scale of things, relatively easy to take.  A vast concrete bunker, with reinforced walls and roof six or eight feet thick. Part of Rommell’s impenetrable Atlantic Wall.  It housed a two huge guns, but like others had the fatal flaw of not being able to defend itself so well at very close range.  It continued to fire shells out to sea, but a DD Sherman ”posted a letter” very accurately through the embrasure and a long close-up squirt or two from a ‘crocodile’ made sure.  There was an eerie and terrible silence.

It was twenty past seven on 6th June 1944.

Behind them the MPs were marking out the lanes up the beach, and painfully slowly as it seemed to those who had been “first”, men and materiel were beginning to appear.
And then they all started to move south and east.  The main objectives were Bayeux, Caen, and that bridge on the Orne - Pegasus.  Tanks would lead and infantry follow, but that was not always how it went.  Low fuel meant that tanks had to be careful.  Sometime that day or the next, or the one after, or even that week - in war it’s not important - they were refuelling and a shell landed close.  A piece of shrapnel tore into Brian’s neck and he went down. He sailed home, and his crew went on without him.

Two months later, mended and healthy, he applied to re-join his crew. He was in time for the September breakout, and they fought through Belgium and into Holland.
It ended near the Maas.  The bridges on Maas and Rhine were crucial to the big strategic plan.  Churchills and Shermans with their 75mm. armament, outgunned by Mk IVs Panzers with their 88mm, but fighting bravely, and for the more noble cause.  The enemy were retreating now, and were fighting for their lives.

One of Brian’s troop was hit whilst flailing a lane through a minefield for the 15th Scottish. The crew struggled to escape but came under fire.  Brian immediately put his tank between the guns and his friends, but within minutes they too were hit.  
And it is recorded in the regimental history, on page 186, line 28, almost at the bottom, ‘Lieutenant Pear did not return from this encounter.”

And that is it.  Eight words in the history of the regiment on which so much had depended.  On which the success of the landings depended.  On which the freedom of the western world depended.  On which . . .

Lieutenant Pear did not return from this encounter.  And the men ?  The troopers ?  We may suppose that they too - did not return from this encounter.

Except that they all very nearly did.  
Somehow all of them got out, somehow they were taken to the local hospital, somehow Brian and the crew were nursed by a local girl whose fiancé in the Dutch resistance had simply disappeared, and somehow they lived for another three terrible days.
Somehow they were buried together in a row in the little churchyard in the village.  Somehow that local girl adopted the graves in place of that of her boyfriend.  Somehow the families were one day made aware of where their sons lay, and somehow they persuaded the War Graves people to leave them there, as a crew, together, in peace.
And somehow Brian’s young sister became one of the closest friends of that young Dutch girl, and visited her every year in Baarlo.  She died this year, aged 97.

Brian was my uncle; his young sister -my mother;  the local girl - Liesje Janssen.

The Lav-pan Villa was bought by a German POW after the war, and is a major attraction for military historians and the last few remaining D-Day veterans.

The battery is used for housing sheep.  
It stinks.

Brian Hatherley Pear 1918 - 1944,
Manchester Grammar ( Captain of School )  and St John’s College Cambridge
Twice capped for England for Lacrosse
Winner of Sandhurst “Belt”.
Lieutenant, Westminster Dragoons
Twice Mentioned in Dispatches
Died of wounds, aged 26.


Thank you.  And Requiescant in Pace.  All of you.

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Market Garden

Post by PeterMac on 04.06.14 10:32

The Silence
About six miles from Maastricht, in the Netherlands lie buried 8,301 American soldiers who died in "Operation Market Garden" in the battles
to liberate Holland in the autumn and winter of 1944-5.  Everyone of the men buried in the cemetery, as well as those in the Canadian and
British military cemeteries has been adopted by a Dutch family who mind the grave, decorate, and keep alive the memory of the soldier they
have adopted. It is even the custom to keep a portrait of "their" American soldier in a place of honor in their home.    Annually on
"Liberation Day" Memorial Services are held for "the men who died to liberate Holland." The day concludes with a concert.  The final piece
is always  "Il Silenzio", a memorial piece commissioned by the Dutch and first played in 1965 on the 20th anniversary of Holland's
liberation. It has been the concluding piece of the memorial concert ever since.
 
This year the soloist was a 13 year old Dutch girl, Melissa Venema, backed by André Rieu and his orchestra (the Royal Orchestra of the
Netherlands). This beautiful concert piece is based upon the original version of taps and was composed by Italian composer Nino Rossi.
 
Watch at this site and go full screen.
http://www.flixxy.com/trumpet-solo-melissa-venema.htm

or here

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Re: Operation Overlord. D-Day

Post by Woofer on 04.06.14 10:49

Thanks PM.

Wet eyes and goosepimples.

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Re: Operation Overlord. D-Day

Post by bobbin on 04.06.14 11:09

Thank you PeterMac.
At the behest and the hands of the 'elite' who monger wars, such a futile loss.
From the hearts of the 'people', we shall remember and honour those who fought, and still fight, to save freedom.

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Re: Operation Overlord. D-Day

Post by tigger on 04.06.14 11:35

The 5th of May is liberation day in the Netherlands. It used to be a yearly public holiday but now it's every five years.

All those who died in WWII are remembered by two minutes silence on the 4th May. in London there's always a short ceremony on that date at Mill Hill cemetery when the last post is played.

The two minute silence used to be observed by everyone, this is no longer the case.

Operation Market Garden was a tragedy.

Thank you PeterMac for reminding us of this hard won victory and your brave uncle.


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The internet is unstoppable

Post by PeterMac on 04.06.14 14:12

Just mousing around I have come across this
" />

The caption reads
BHC 006018 British Troops head inland from King Green towards Lavatory Pan Villa
Ref: BHC 006018
British Troops head inland from King Green towards Lavatory Pan Villa. Note the Sherman Crab and AVRE on the left. Mont Fleury Battery was to the right of the house and 200 metres further inland. The significance of the house as a landmark is obvious.
Vehicles just off the beach on KING Sector of GOLD Area. 6 June 1944.

The Sherman Mk.V Crab Mk.I Flail tank on the left belongs to 'C' Squadron, Westminster Dragoons, 30 Armoured Brigade, 79 Armoured Division and the Churchill AVRE to 81 Assault Squadron, 6 Assault Regiment RE, 1 Assault Brigade RE, also of 79 Armoured Division.

The road starts from the beach as Exit 3 and marked the boundary between KING RED (to the left or east) and KING GREEN Beaches in GOLD Area, and was easily identified for offshore by LAV PAN (Lavatory Pan) Villa, thus nicknamed for the circular drive in front of it.

C squadron had 6 flail tanks which all tried to flog separate paths up the beach

1 was my uncle. He got through
2 was commanded by Major Sutton, who also got through
3 "brewed up" !
4 bogged
5 bogged
6 got through and then turned East to La Riviere

So that tank MUST be either Brian's’ or Maj. Sutton’s. And if so, that is very likely to be my uncle standing on top.

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Re: Operation Overlord. D-Day

Post by lj on 04.06.14 15:56

Thank you for making a thread for that PM. 

IMO there cannot be enough remembrance of the wars. I have deep gratitude towards our liberators, always.

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Re: Operation Overlord. D-Day

Post by ultimaThule on 04.06.14 18:34

When you go home tell them of us and say
"For your tomorrow, we gave our today".

In my family were two courageous Desert Rats http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/7th_Armoured_Division_%28United_Kingdom%29 who survived countless battles without injury and one equally courageous young soldier, newly married and with a son born after he was sent overseas, who lies in Kanchanaburi War Cemetery having been killed by the Japanese while building their infamous bridge over the Kwai.  

I'm not given to overt displays of emotion but I tear up at the thought of what they, and countless others, endured and I feel truly humbled by, and overwhelmingly grateful for, their bravery. .

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Re: Operation Overlord. D-Day

Post by PeterMac on 04.06.14 19:17

It is astonishing what some of them did.
The 6th Batallion, the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders  
A name to savour.  What proud traditions lie behind that title.  

They were technically a Territorial Batallion, but war came and, as it seems to us now so long after, within weeks they were off.   To stop all the nonsense in Belgium and Holland.   He was put in charge of the regimental beagle pack.  They were going to France, so there was bound to be some good sport for the officers.
Bagpipes, marching, flag waving, and we’ll be back by Christmas.  Dress uniforms and mess kit for the officers, all neatly packed for the Victory parades and dinners.  It was going to be such fun.  Probably strike a medal.
But then they got there, and found they couldn’t help the French, couldn’t even help the British.  The whole BEF was pushed back to the coast.  To Dunkirk.
And in a tradition dating back hundreds of years the unit detailed to hold the line to the last was - the 51st.  It is always the 51st.  No one remembers why, but there are rumours that it goes as far back as Culloden.  The 51st was raised from the Highlanders after that famous victory - or cruel massacre, depending on your surname - and it may even be taught at Sandhurst.  
Page 246, paragraph 4, line 12, “If in doubt, sacrifice the 51st Highland Division”

So the 51st, the Argylls and the rest, dug in along the line of villages outside Dunquerque, as we probably must now spell it.  In the port and all along the beach troops were scrambling to get onto the little ships.  But the 51st waited.  And suddenly they came.  They ignored the villages, and rushed between and past.  As Charles said, “they just came so quickly”.  Dunkirk was over.
And so was the 51st.  They were now the wrong side of the lines, and spent the rest of the six long years farming in Bavaria, and writing the Reel of the 51st.  Danced only by men.  Hundreds of them.  A full set takes hours, but if you have six years ...

Except Charles.  He had taken a bad wound and was in an ambulance.  The driver drove east, the wrong way through the German lines, and on to St Nazaire, where he boarded the hospital ship - the one that wasn’t sunk - and made it home.
They re-raised the regiment and Charles again took command of his platoon.  This time they steamed through the Straits of Gibraltar and on - to Tunisia and Egypt.  The decisive battle is now called Alamein, and it was a famous victory.  Before Alamein the allies never won a battle. After, they never lost one. Then on again, to Sicily and Italy and north.  Onward and upwards.   Victory on victory.
But now Rommel had gone home and Monty was called back too.  They were planning Overlord, and needed battle-hardened troops to help and guide the young Canadians.  So they looked in the book and it said - choose the 51st.  It always says that.  So the 51st came back via Gib, and started planning and training.

This time it was serious.  This time the planning had to be perfect.  This time there were no beagles, and no mess kit.   This time there was the Regimental Scotch.  It was a serious as that.  

Charles, our hero, was put on the overnight sleeper to Inverness, and on the next night train brought south a year’s supply of scotch for the Argylls and the year’s supply for the Black Watch.   The sergeant was ordered out of his bunk and spent the night sitting in the guard’s van on the pile of wooden cases, with a loaded Sten across his lap.  This was war.  It was as serious as that.
Kings Cross at 0530 is a tricky place to get the GOC London Division on the phone, but it was important.  There was a war on.  The export certificate had to be properly authorised so that excise duty did not have to be paid at the higher rate. And properly signed. In triplicate.   His Aide was reluctant to wake him, but the GOC understood perfectly.  It was very important. There was a war on.

Charles and the sergeant called up the transport, and nursed the crates down to the docks at Chatham, where the Black Watch took their share. And signed for it. In triplicate.  It was important.  There was a war on.
And then he split it all up between vehicles, and lorries, and jeeps, and companies and platoons, and sections, and made sure that it travelled on as many different ships as possible.   Just in case.  That was extremely important.  
D-Day plus 1.  Charles and the Argylls landed.  Their duty - advance to Berlin, defeat the enemy, and win the War.  

But first things first.  As they mached up that beach into France, his first duty in France was  - to collect up all the scotch he had just distributed.   The thought of the officers’ mess year’s supply being downed in a single afternoon by the ever faithful and courageous Jocks did not bear thinking about, though it might well have ended the war an awful lot sooner.  HIstory does not relate whether absolutely every case or absolutely every bottle was accounted for.  Argylls are resourceful men with very large sporrans.  But it took the whole of that first afternoon.

Then they got hung up round Ranville and he got a shattered knee, and that was the end of his war.  

And, as he once ruefully remarked fifty years later to his family, over a Sunday roast, like so many in the Argylls and the 51st, he never did get to drink any of it.

A warm tribute to Charles  Mackie, DL,  MC,       1914 - 2006
Inadvertent war hero, and reluctant raconteur.
And to the officers and men of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, and the 51st.


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Everyone who served had a story to tell

Post by PeterMac on 05.06.14 11:12

Another very good, sadly now deceased, friend of mine, Wing Commander Raymond George Lofting  AFC,
age 19, was piloting a Wellington, then he was sent to Canada to re-train so that
age 21 he was piloting a Lancaster, on long range missions into Germany.
In those days you got a special clasp on your se the GSM for surviving for 60 DAYS
WIKI
A Tour of Duty
Once on an operational Squadron, a tour of duty was 40 completed operations. An "op" was a successfully completed flight or sortie, where the primary or secondary target had been attacked. Crews turning back early through technical problems did not count as having successfully operated. The loss rate was around the 4 to 5 percent mark, so mathematically it was impossible to survive. Yet about 35 percent of crews survived a first tour, after which they were classed as "tour expired" or "screened", then usually trained as instructors and sent to HCUs (Heavy Conversion Units) and OTUs (Operational Training Units) to train more crews. After a six month rest, they came back for another tour of 20 operations. If they survived this, they could volunteer for more but if they chose not to they remained as instructors unless promoted to higher things.
During the first five operations a new crew was ten times more likely to not return from an operation due to lack of experience. Once a crew survived 20 ops, the odds were thought to be about even.
His crew did 2 full Tours, and then the war ended
After the war he devoted himself to the next generation, i/c cadet training, and on retirement, because he was still fit and healthy, volunteered to become a "Human Guinea pig".
Once a year checked into a hospital annex / laboratory for two weeks, and had drugs tested on him, as the last stage of testing before they go "live" on sick people.

RIP Ray. A good mate and a good man.

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Re: Operation Overlord. D-Day

Post by Angelique on 05.06.14 11:50

I too would like to say thank you PM.

It is very emotional to read about. It must be a strange feeling if that is your Uncle standing on the top and that the picture actually was taken.

My Father was in the Royal Navy on the MTB's and I felt so for him. He would not speak about his experiences. He said because he saw so many of his crews blown to bits. I am tearful now as I watched him when he told me. He never accepted his medals either - he didn't want remember what had happened and tried to let it go. Bless him! He must have seen such awful things.

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Re: Operation Overlord. D-Day

Post by PeterMac on 05.06.14 17:26

Thank you. I am sure these events are bringing back memories of the stories our friends and relatives told, as well as allowing us to contemplate the horror what they saw.
Outside war-time only the emergency services have to deal with horrors like that, plane crashes, Train disasters, Flixborough, drownings and so on, and theoretically we are "trained" to cope with it.

But to lighten the mood, another story, again involving a long since retired colleague

Chief Superintendent Jack Lilley  DFC, and Bar  (!)
Same career path as most of the young lads,  trained on smaller bombers and graduated to Lancasters, doing raids on the Ruhrgebiet.

He was involved in the big early morning raid on Cologne in 1944. They took off, but one engine packed in early on
Standing instructions were to turn back, but he decided to go on. Visibility was good, and they were half way there anyway.
They got there, late. Cologne was in flames, but the main target had been missed.
So he took advantage of being able to move around in the air and to get a proper run.
They hit the target smack on and it exploded satisfactorily.
They turned for home, and started trundling back, still on three engines.

Dawn broke and visibility was good.
Suddenly his rear gunner reported a fighter coming in extremely fast from dead astern.
So fast that they could not identify the plane, nor get a good shot at it.

So Jack did something probably no one had ever done, before or since.
He "stopped' the plane in mid air.
Throttle right back, nose right up , and opened the bomb doors.
The Lanc 'stopped' and dropped like a stone.
The fighter whizzed overhead, and fell prey to the mid-upper turret and front gunner.

They got back and submitted their report, describing the unknown fighter in great detail, and with all the performance details estimated as accurately as they could.
The report was "whooshed" and they were instructed not to speak about it again.  So they didn't.
A long time later it came out.
It was confirmed that they had been attacked by, and had made the first 'kill' of the Messerschmitt (Me) 262,
the first operational jet fighter in the world and the plane which might have tipped the balance had it been introduced earlier.

He got his second Distinguished Flying Cross for that.
But was also told not to do it again !

He then did a full 35 years in Nottingham Police, retiring as head of the Traffic Division.
He never told this story, and a local journalist only managed to winkle it out of him several years after he retired.

Good men, and women, all.
Many thanks

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Re: Operation Overlord. D-Day

Post by tigger on 06.06.14 7:06

This morning listening to radio 5 ( by lucky accident as I generally have bad reception on UK radio, this is perfect for once)

Very good reporting, interview with a man who was 18 when they landed.

Is this ever taught in schools in this way? It's so important. Because people without a history can more easily be manipulated. Pride in one's country is now often seen as undesirable.

To all who fought and died and to all who fought and lived. My respects.


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Re: Operation Overlord. D-Day

Post by russiandoll on 06.06.14 8:41

Saw an 89 year old  veteran doing a skydive yesterday in their memory, and it struck me apart from the courage he had, how very young a lot of them were, lads I feel I should really call them. It will not be long until the time when all of these courageous men have passed on and it will be up to the next generations to keep the flame alive.

   Thank you to them all and RIP those who died.

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Re: Operation Overlord. D-Day

Post by tigger on 06.06.14 17:14

Just heard the a 79 year old veteran who was missing from a home in Sussex has been found- in Normandy - they'd said he couldn't go but he got there all the same!
 roses 

Lovely!

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Re: Operation Overlord. D-Day

Post by russiandoll on 06.06.14 17:30

Is that the same man mentioned on twitter, he grabbed his medals and ran?

 Good on him I say !! clapping

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Re: Operation Overlord. D-Day

Post by PeterMac on 06.06.14 17:58


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Re: Operation Overlord. D-Day

Post by lj on 07.06.14 5:08

@tigger wrote:Just heard the a 79 year old veteran who was missing from a home in Sussex has been found- in Normandy - they'd said he couldn't go but  he got there  all the same!
 roses 

Lovely!
 clapping

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Re: Operation Overlord. D-Day

Post by tigger on 07.06.14 7:03

@lj wrote:
@tigger wrote:Just heard the a 79 year old veteran who was missing from a home in Sussex has been found- in Normandy - they'd said he couldn't go but  he got there  all the same!
 roses 

Lovely!
 clapping

Not a health and safety expert in sight either. i'm just wondering why the powers that be decided he couldn't manage the journey.

D-day - no health and safety measures, no trauma councillors - a near impossible task. ( no emoticon comes close)

The long and slow advance, the fights in the Bocage, the hold up in the Ardennes, the bridge at Remagen, Market Garden - All in living memory and thanks to New Labour in particular, not generally taught in state schools.


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Re: Operation Overlord. D-Day

Post by PeterMac on 07.06.14 8:05

So pleased the guy is now a National and International hero.
He is all over the Dutch radio. They think he's great.

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Re: Operation Overlord. D-Day

Post by russiandoll on 07.06.14 8:54

Varying reports on why this man was not going..... one last night was about an overbooked coach and there wasn't a seat for him... whatever, the determined old guy got over there and it is that kind of spirit for which these brave men are rightly revered.


 I love how he was treated on his way home. What a man ! A celebrity who has earned his fame and quite a character!

 Some people can be quite patronising to the elderly, treating them like children. Hope he is not sitting on the naughty step this morning big grin

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Re: Operation Overlord. D-Day

Post by russiandoll on 07.06.14 9:17

For the record  [ described in another report as having " absconded " which made me laugh!  He is on the front page of some papers as the GREAT ESCAPER.]


  
D-Day Veteran's Great Escape From Care Home

Police are called after a 90-year-old is reported missing by carers - only to learn he had found his way to Normandy.
5:26am UK, Saturday 07 June 2014

Mr Jordan has been named as the 'AWOL veteran' (Pic: Gracewell Healthcare)



Bernard Jordan's niece Susan Knowles tells Sky News of her pride after it is revealed the veteran left his care home and went to the D-Day anniversary commemorations.

Video: Veteran's Niece: 'We're Very Proud Of Him'
Enlarge

A 90-year-old Royal Navy veteran is on his way back from Normandy after "going AWOL" from his care home to see the D-Day commemorations.
Police were called to the man's nursing home in Hove, Sussex, on Thursday night when staff realised he had gone out at 10.30am and had not been seen since.
Bernard Jordan, a former mayor of Hove, took part in the commemorations and has since been pictured with "Candy Girl" ferry staff on the way back to England.
Mr Jordan's care home denied reports it had banned him from making the trip.
Mr Jordan pictured on board the ferry home (Pic: Stephen Tuckwell)
The pensioner was wearing his war medals when he left the Sussex town, but covered them up with a grey jacket and secretly boarded a coach to France.
Police initially searched the Hove area, speaking to bus and taxi companies and checking local hospitals in case something had happened to him.
Mr Jordan with a picture of when he was mayor (Pic: Gracewell Healthcare)
Then, 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 way to France.
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 was heading home on Friday night and ferry 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.
"He kept saying 'all this for us?' I said 'that's as it should be', and he said he felt as though he was on a luxury cruise."
Mr Jordan's 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.


 Latest pictures on Sky of Mr J arriving back at the care home where he apparently has " form" for going AWOL !


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russiandoll

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Re: Operation Overlord. D-Day

Post by PeterMac on 07.06.14 10:33

And now on Sky, as a hero.
Just for the record he was a Navy man, so did not actually land, but took potentially an even more dangerous part, hanging around in the Channel, waiting to be blown out of the water,
and then going back to the UK and doing it all over again, many times.

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Re: Operation Overlord. D-Day

Post by tigger on 07.06.14 10:55

@PeterMac wrote:And now on Sky, as a hero.
Just for the record he was a Navy man, so did not actually land, but took potentially an even more dangerous part, hanging around in the Channel, waiting to be blown out of the water,
and then going back to the UK and doing it all over again, many times.

Just read an excellent piece by Neil Tweedy in the Telegraph on page four. Brilliant. The whole show sounded to me rather tacky and Tweedy describes it as such. Also that the veterans were kept waiting for an hour - finally being made comfortable and given umbrellas against the hot sun after a while.

I must say that - going by Tweedy, the speech was in French, the commentary was in French, considering the English speaking nations who suffered the greatest losses, I find that tactless at best. Bi-lingual would be the least one could expect.
Neither was Angela Merckel best pleased at seeing a show of black jack-booted actors, kicking hapless grey suited civilians. Vichy is forgotten it seems. De Gaulle negotiated a triumphant entry of the Free French troops marching down the Champs Elysees with himself out in front although he was never in a combat situation in his life, I've been told.

But the whole of Europe loves the veteran who got away - now I read it was because they couldn't work out how to get him transport?  splat 

Marvellous!

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The old ones are the best

Post by PeterMac on 07.06.14 11:44

A Little Humor

An elderly gentleman of 89 arrived in Paris by plane.
At the French Customs desk, the man took a few minutes to locate his passport in his carry-on bag.
"You have been to France before, monsieur?" the customs officer asked, sarcastically.
The elderly gentleman admitted he had been to France previously.
"Then you should know enough to have your passport ready."
The Canadian said, "The last time I was here, I didn't have to show it."
"Impossible. Canadians always have to show their passports on arrival in France!"

The Canadian senior gave the Frenchman a long hard Look.
Then he quietly explained. "Well, when I came ashore on D-Day in 1944 to help liberate this country, I couldn't find any * * * Frenchmen to show it to !"

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