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Old soldier who was famous for a post-war mission...

A war hero's funeral was held today. He was an old soldier who became famous for a daring post-war mission...

Bernard Jordan sparked a police operation last year when - aged 90 - he slipped out of his Sussex care home to attend D-Day commemorations in France. He died in December - and his wife Irene passed away a few days later.

Today they were laid to rest at a funeral service in Brighton.

Andy Dickenson reports.

Memories of Sir Winston Churchill on 50th anniversary of death

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Sir Winston Churchill, the man who saw Great Britain through her darkest hour and led the country to victory.

350 million around the world tuned in to watch Sir Winston Churchill’s funeral when it took place in 1965.

In the second of ITV Meridian's anniversary reports, you will hear memories of the monumental statesman from his grandson, the MP for mid-Sussex Sir Nicholas Soames.

There will also be reflections from his great-grandson Randolph Churchill who still lives near the family home of Chartwell.

Sarah Saunders has more:


Wife of D-Day veteran dies, days after her husband

Bernard Jordan made his own way to the services in France Credit: PA

The wife of the D-Day veteran who went missing from his care home to attend last year's 70th anniversary commemorations in France has died - just days after her husband.

Irene Jordan, 88, passed away on Tuesday evening, seven days after the death of her 90-year-old husband Bernard Jordan, who was was known as the Normandy 'great escapee'. He secretly left his East Sussex care home, wearing his war medals, to journey across the Channel.

The couple, who were married for more than 50 years and lived their final days together in the same home, were described by Brighton and Hove mayor Brian Fitch as a devoted couple.

Dove of Peace brings port and community together

The iconic sculpture Credit: Port of Dover

The iconic sculpture, the Dove of Peace, by Anthony Heywood, has been unveiled at a spectacular public event at the Port of Dover. Taking place in the presence of The Viscount De L’Isle MBE, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Kent, the Dove was dramatically revealed amidst singing, smoke and searchlights.

Attended by around 300 people, the occasion started in virtual darkness with a reading of The Night Before Christmas 1914, an adaptation of the original poem by Richard J Davis. This was followed by readings of letters from the trenches describing the memorable events of Christmas Day 1914. These were interspersed with carols, performed in both English and German, that are known to have been sung during the 1914 Christmas Day truce.

Then, after a minute’s silence, the sculpture, a full size white spitfire made from a special type of paper developed at the former Buckland Paper Mill in Dover, was revealed as red light filled the building, smoke swirled around the Dove.

  1. Derek Johnson @derekjohnsonitv

Gravesend statue honours wartime pilot

A statue of wartime fighter pilot Mahinder Singh Pujji has been unveiled in his adopted hometown, Gravesend. Mr Pujji was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for valour while flying in World War Two.

Mr Pujji died in 2010, aged 92.

We speak to: Satinder Pujji, son; Douglas Jennings, sculptor; Air Vice-Marshal Edward Stringer, Royal Air Force; Air Cdre Gurcharan Singh Bedi, Indian Air Force; Gurjit Bains, Gravesend Gurdwara.

VIDEO: Statue of RAF pilot unveiled in Gravesend

He was among the first Indian airmen to fight for Britain during World War Two, was shot down twice and saw many of his friends die in combat. But Mahinder Singh Pujji went on to become one of the RAF's most distinguished fighter pilots, flew all over the world and was honoured for his bravery.

Four years after his death, there is a permanent reminder of his exploits in his home town of Gravesend. A bronze statue of Squadron Leader Pujji now graces the riverfront, celebrating his exploits and the contribution of millions of Indian servicemen and women.

Watch the unveiling of the statue below.

Mr Pujji's son, Satinder, speaks to ITV Meridian about his father.


Arctic Convoy veterans recognised for bravery

It was one of the most dangerous wartime missions, with British troops facing attack from their enemies as well as the elements, as they had to put up with extreme weather conditions. The arctic convoys of World War Two saw British sailors travel 2.000 miles over dangerous waters, to deliver supplies to Soviet forces. Now veterans have been recognised for their efforts by the Russian Embassy, including several from the Meridian region. Lauren Hall reports.

Memorial unveiling to commemorate Battle of the River

Survivors of the first major naval battle of the Second World War will gather at the National Memorial Arboretum to unveil a memorial commemorating the event.

The Battle of the River Plate took place 75 years ago and less than a dozen veterans are still alive from this, the only episode of the war to take place in South America.

The remaining River Plate veterans will come together today to unveil the Battle of the River Plate Memorial.

Battle of the River plate Credit: Royal Navy
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