Hove: Bernard Jordan's Medals Sold To Collector

17 March 2015, 11:58 | Updated: 17 March 2015, 12:01

Items, including medals, belonging to the late war veteran Bernard Jordan - who sprang to prominence when he made a cross-Channel dash to last year's 70th anniversary D-Day events - have sold at auction for £1,650.

The collection was bought by military collector Andrew Butler, from Ramsgate, Kent, who will put it on display in his shop in Normandy.

Mr Jordan died aged 90 on December 30 - six months after being nicknamed the Great Escaper for slipping out of his care home and travelling to Normandy for the D-Day commemorations.

Seven days after Mr Jordan's death, his wife of 59 years, Irene, also died, aged 88, prompting tributes to the couple who left their entire £600,000 estate to the RNLI.

Today, his medals - including a 1939-1945 Star, an Atlantic star, an Italy star, and a Second World War Defence and War medal - sold at Wallis and Wallis auctioneers in Lewes, East Sussex.

The lot also included a portrait of Mr Jordan on canvas and a coloured print of a Bob cartoon published in the Sunday Telegraph last June, following his D-Day anniversary escapade.

Other reminders of his trip across the Channel were also sold as part of the lot, including printouts confirming his Brittany Ferries return ticket last June. Proceeds from the sale will go to the RNLI.

Mr Butler, 55, said afterwards: ``I'm very proud. It's something that will be displayed in the shop for tourists and collectors to see. I'm very pleased.

``I was fairly determined. Having the shop in Normandy, I saw (Mr Jordan's) story on the internet and in the papers. When I saw them come up, it was something I had to have for the display in the window.''

Mr Jordan's disappearance to Normandy last June 5 sparked a police search that led to him being catapulted to international attention.

His whereabouts emerged only when a younger veteran phoned later that night to say he had met Mr Jordan and he was safe.

Royal Navy veteran Mr Jordan, a former mayor of Hove, told reporters on his return that his aim was to remember his fallen ``mates''.

He had decided to join British veterans, most making their final pilgrimage to revisit the scene of their momentous invasion, to remember the heroes of the liberation of Europe.

Some 156,000 Allied troops landed on the five invasion beaches on June 6 1944, sparking an 80-day campaign to liberate Normandy involving three million troops and costing 250,000 lives.

Mr Jordan had hoped to return to Normandy this June. Brittany Ferries had offered him free crossings to D-Day events for the rest of his life.

Following his death, the Royal British Legion said Mr Jordan's decision to go to France highlighted "the spirit that epitomises the Second World War generation''.

On his 90th birthday, days after he returned from his escapade, he was inundated with more than 2,500 birthday cards from around the world.

Mr Jordan was later made an honorary alderman of Brighton and Hove in a special ceremony at Brighton Town Hall.

He joined an elite list to receive the honour, including Burmese democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi, former Olympic champion Steve Ovett, and First World War hero Henry Allingham - who became the world's oldest man before his death aged 113 in 2009.