David Teacher MBE

Born: Hastings, East Sussex, 1923
Age at signing up: 18
Division: Royal Navy
Rank: Mechanic
David Teacher MBE, showcasing his impressive medal collection
David in RAF Uniform. David is supported by the RAFBF grant
Born in Hastings, 1923, David moved to what was then the British Mandate of Palestine to live with his Grandparents in 1934. It was here that David first interacted with the British Army. He spent time at their base nearly every day of the week, going out on patrols and drinking beer with them. Even at this young age, David proved to be an asset for the army as he was used to translate Hebrew and Arabic for them, when communicating with the locals.
David moved back to England in 1938, by the time that war broke out, he was working as a Mechanic in Manchester. Having lived through the Blitz of 1940, David signed up for the air cadets. However, it wasn’t until 1942 that he was assigned to the RAF.
While in the RAF, David trained as a Motor Mechanic. By 1943, he was serving in Devon as a part of Coastal Command before he volunteered for Combined Operations, a unit specifically designed for the allied invasion of Europe.
David would be in the No. 2 RAF Beach Squadron. Their role was to come ashore and establish themselves in designated areas to help with the large quantities of fuel, ammunition, equipment and vehicles needed to sustain the RAF in the weeks after D-Day.
Here, David became their main mechanic and serviced all types of Vehicles for his comrades, including his beloved Bedford QL, which David says never failed him once during his time serving.


By the summer of 1944, all preparations for ‘Operation Overlord’ were complete. However, by June 5th, the eve of D-Day, David still had no idea where his destination would be, in fact he was still unaware when he arrived upon the shores of Juno beach.
Before anyone else was to land, the beach units were to disembark from their boats and establish themselves in position. Once he had landed, he drove his Bedford QL to clearing and returned to the beach. It was the squadrons job to take in and control all of the equipment needed to serve in the army, such as food and ammunition, while ensuring that all troops coming ashore didn’t run amok but went through designated safe areas. As a mechanic, David also fixed broken down vehicles and moved them on as quickly as possible.
While on the beach, David saw landing craft thrown into the air and a bomb land 6 metres away from him, fortunately it didn’t explode. Less than half a mile away there was also close quarter fighting occurring with bayonets.
David would remain on the beach for three months, until September 6th. During this time, he lived in a trench and was shelled by the enemy forces almost every single day. Despite this, he continued to play a vital role as the squadron took in all of the equipment needed for the army to run efficiently and sent the wounded back home on landing craft.

The Battle of the Bulge

After D-Day, David was transferred to the No. 2742 Squadron, RAF regiment. Here, his job was to maintain and drive the Squadron’s vehicles. In December, the unit was assigned to work with the US 8th Corps in Bastogne, by the time they arrived however, the Battle of the Bulge had just began.
Fighting conditions in the battle were notoriously difficult. David said: “it was cold, wet and miserable. We had no food or heat. The snow was 6-feet deep”. During this time, the squad were heavily dependent on the Americans for food and fuel. It was David’s job to bring rations and supplies from the Americans back to the Squadron.
Fires were not permitted during the battle and David had to run the engines of his vehicles every 15 minutes to prevent the fuel from freezing due to temperatures being as low as -18 degrees Celsius.
They emerged from the battle in early January, after weeks of fighting. David described this period as the worst during his years of service.

Life After Service

In December 1946, David was de-mobbed. In the years that followed, he was heavily involved in charity work for which he was awarded an MBE. David was a regular volunteer at the Imperial War Museum where he would often speak on his service experience to schools and all who would listen.
David even went on to write his own book titled ‘Beyond My Wildest Dreams’ which details his life from growing up in Hastings to his volunteering.

It’s something I would do again if I had to – I wouldn’t hesitate