Former Hove mayor Bernard Jordan has returned home after attending the D-Day commemorations in Normandy.
The 89-year-old was reported missing on Thursday (5 June) after deciding to make his own way to France for the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
He went AWOL – absent without leave – when told that it hadn’t been possible to arrange for him to join an organised trip to join his fellow Normandy veterans.
He has been welcomed back to The Pines nursing home in Furze Hill, Hove, where he lives with his wife Irene.
His “great escape” attracted widespread media attention and epitomised the spirit of a generation who made enormous sacrifices during and after the Second World War.
Mr Jordan, who served in the Royal Navy and later on Hove Borough Council, took a train to Portsmouth and sailed to Caen.
He was taken under the wing of a retired teacher on the ferry who contacted Mr Jordan’s nursing home.
The search was called off and Brighton and Hove’s police commander Chief Superintendent Nev Kemp tweeted the news with obvious delight.
Love this:89yr old veteran reported missing to us by care home who said he can’t go to Normandy for D-day remembrance.We’ve found him there!
— Nev Kemp (@ChSuptNevKemp) June 6, 2014
Even yesterday (Sunday 8 June) his story filled newspapers and made the radio and television news bulletins.
He said that he had had a lovely time and was glad to be home – and that he hoped that he hadn’t caused too much worry.
The nursing home pointed out that he was free to come and go as he pleased but when he didn’t returned home when expected they had had to report him missing.
Having charmed so many people with his Normandy adventure, it is little surprise that he has an invitation to return next year when everything is likely to be much more low key.