Green Flag’s 941mile D-Day rescue for Chesterfield driver

Green Flag travelled 941miles to rescue Anthony Radcliffe, of Chesterfield, who locked himself out of his car in France.
Green Flag travelled 941miles to rescue Anthony Radcliffe, of Chesterfield, who locked himself out of his car in France.

As D-Day commemorations took place on both sides of the Channel, thousands flooded to Normandy to pay tribute to those who lost their lives 70 years ago.

One of those who went to show respect was 78-year-old Anthony Radcliffe, who found himself the star of one of the most heartwarming rescue missions of the summer.

Mr Radcliffe, from Chesterfield, was in Normandy paying tribute to his father Lieutenant Edward Radcliffe, who served in the Royal Navy during WWII.

As a day of ceremonies drew to a close on Friday, June6, Mr Radcliffe realised he had lost his car keys, locking his wallet and passport in his Citreon Xsara.

Stranded at his campsite Camping Des Capucines with no means of getting home, the ex-school teacher used a phone at the camp to call national breakdown provider Green Flag with the hope of finding a solution to the situation.

Green Flag stepped up to the platform and promised to get the 78-year-old home to his wife Cecilia, and, in a move that invoked the spirit of Dunkirk, embarked on a 941-mile round-trip from Chesterfield to Normandy to deliver the keys.

Leaving the base in Derby at 1.30pm, Russell George of the Green Flag Patrol travelled to Mr Radcliffe’s home in Chesterfield to collect his set of spare keys from home and ferry them across the Channel.

Travelling via Portsmouth Port, Russell boarded the 11pm ferry to Caen, Arriving in France at 6.30am.

He then headed straight to Mr Radcliffe in Normandy, finally reuniting him with his keys at 7.30am.

After being handed back his keys, Mr Radcliffe prepared to embark on the journey back to Derbyshire, but not before Green Flag technician Russell ensured the vehicle was road-safe.

The Citroen failed to start at first, but Russell quickly fixed the fault and proceeded to carry out a full car health check so Mr Radcliffe avoided any other hiccups.

With everything declared in working order, he departed the site and headed back to the UK shore, leaving Mr Radcliffe to enjoy the trip back home.

He was reunited with his wife on Saturday, June 7, after four nights away from home.

Mr Radcliffe added: “It was a week for heroic actions and, while not quite in the same league as the D-Day landings. I can’t thank Green Flag enough for coming to my rescue.

“Misplacing keys happens to the best of us, and I’m glad that all was sorted in the end.”