Irene Jordan, wife of 'Great Escaper' veteran who ran away to attend Remembrance events in Normandy, dies days after husband

Local mayor says she may have given up the will to carry on after her husband's death

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The Independent Online

The wife of a war veteran who slipped out of his care home to attend D-Day Remembrance events in northern France had died days after her partner.

Irene Joran, 88, died on Tuesday evening, only seven days after her husband Bernard Jordan.

Mr Jordan was nicknamed “the Great Escaper” by the press after he left his carers and took a ferry to Normandy. He smuggled his war medals inside his grey raincoat.

The veteran had hoped to return once again to France in June 2015. Brittany Ferries, the ferry line he took last summer, had offered him free crossings to D-Day events for the rest of his life.

He ultimately passed away age 90.

A statement from Gracewell Healthcare, which runs The Pines care home in Hove, where the couple lived, confirmed Ms Jordan's death.

Ms Jordan's husband boards the ferry on his way home from Normandy in June 2014

“Irene and Bernie will both be much missed by everyone at the home and our thoughts and prayers go out to their friends and family at this sad time,” the company’s managing director Amanda Scott said.

Brighton and Hove mayor Brian Fitch paid tribute to the couple and said he believed Ms Jordan had given up the will.

“They were a very close couple who will both be sadly missed,” he said. “Irene went into the care home first after Bernie had looked after her at home, so it came as a bit of a shock that he died first.

“They had been married for more than 50 years and were a devoted couple. After he had gone, she probably gave up the will. They were religious people who are now reunited together.”

Brighton and Hove city council will hold a minutes silence to remember the couple, and a remembrance service to celebrate the couple’s lives will be held at All Saints Church in Hove on 30 January.

Mr Jordan was made an honourary alderman of Brighton after his story came to light.