Veterans' Stories

D-Day 80th Anniversary - Remembering David Teacher

June 04 2024

David Teacher was one of the first to land on Juno Beach on D-Day and he dedicated much of his life to preserving the memory of the impact of war. 

Having been recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours List of 2012 with an M.B.E, David shared his experiences with younger generations to ensure the sacrifices of his comrades were not forgotten.

Like many young men who signed up to defend their country during WW2, he had little idea of what was to follow in the coming years. His dedication to defending his country and protecting future generations' freedoms was a testament to his resilience and bravery.

“I said every day when I got up; ‘I am going to survive.’ I said it every morning,” he said.

As a child David got a taste of military life, living in the British Mandate of Palestine with his grandparents in the 1930s, he would visit the local British Army base to take part in patrols and translate Hebrew and Arabic between the soldiers and locals.

After moving back to England in 1938 and living through the Blitz of 1940 his sense of duty only grew and he signed up for the cadets, eventually being assigned to the RAF. 

He served in Coastal Command as a Motor Mechanic later volunteering for Combined Operations - a unit that existed specifically for the Allied invasion of Europe.

On June 6th David was among the first to arrive on Juno Beach, preparing the vehicles, ammunition and food for the D-Day troops.

In a heart-stopping moment, David saw a bomb land six metres away from him. Luckily it didn’t explode. David remained in these hostile conditions for three months, servicing the vehicles and sending his wounded comrades home on landing craft.

“It was cold, wet and miserable. We had no food or heat,” David said. 

"The snow was six-feet deep and I had lived on the beach in a trench which sometimes filled with water when there was a higher-than-average tide. 

"We had to contend with sand lice, flies and working very long hours.”

One corporal from David’s unit died during the landings and another had to return home, as he was scarred from seeing the horrors of war.

Following his own demobilisation in 1946, David’s commitment to military service didn’t falter. 

He was actively involved in armed forces charities, contributing significantly to the community.

David travelled the country speaking at schools and public forums about the profound impacts of WW2 and the importance of remembering the sacrifices made for freedom.

David Teacher passed away on the 24th of May 2024 aged 100. Previous plans to honour him during the anniversary of D-Day at the Salford Civic Centre will go ahead in the form of a remembrance ceremony.

For more on David Teacher's incredible story, check out his interview on the Veterans’ Foundation YouTube channel.

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