A war veteran who turned up in Normandy after he was reported missing from his care home in England said he was overwhelmed by the number of cards and gifts he had received for his 90th birthday.
Bernard Jordan, whose birthday was yesterday, made headline news around the world with his ‘great escape’ from The Pines care home in Hove, East Sussex, embarking on a cross-channel trip for the 70th anniversary of D-Day wearing his war medals underneath his grey mac.
But the former Royal Navy officer decided his birthday should be more low-key and celebrated it quietly with friends and his wife Irene, a spokesman for the veteran said.
The Candy Girls, who met Mr Jordan on his way to France, sang to him, the spokesman said.
The former mayor of Hove said he wanted to thank everyone for their good wishes after being inundated with at least 2,500 birthday cards from around the world following his Normandy adventure.
Mr Jordan said: “I just can’t believe it. It’s quite overwhelming to be honest.
“I want to thank everyone who sent me a card or a gift. Sadly I can’t thank everyone in person so I hope they get this message.
“I’m just one man and I’m nothing special. Anyone would think I’d defeated Hitler on my own.
“There were a lot of other people on the beaches of Normandy that day, this lovely attention is for them really, not me.”
Mr Jordan also said he welcomed the news that Chancellor George Osborne would be setting aside money allowing D-Day veterans to continue making their annual pilgrimage to Normandy.
The money will come from fines levied on banks involved in the Libor scandal, according to the Treasury.
The scandal saw banks falsely fixing interest rates while lending money to each other in order to make a profit or to appear more creditworthy.
Mr Jordan’s disappearance on June 5 sparked a police search and his whereabouts was only uncovered when a younger veteran from Brighton phoned later that night to say he had met the veteran on a coach on the way to France, and that they were safe and well in a hotel in Ouistreham.
Following Mr Jordan’s return, Mayor of Brighton and Hove Brian Fitch said the war veteran should be honoured with the freedom of his home city – which has previously been given to a select few including First World War hero Henry Allingham, Olympic champion Steve Ovett and Burmese democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi.
Mr Fitch said he would be writing to the local authority’s chief executive Penny Thompson and a special council meeting could be held next month to agree the proposal.