Visit to the Imperial War Museum
On 11th Octover, Year 9 visited the Imperial War Museum in the North as part of their History course, which focuses on the First World War. Back at School in the afternoon, Quantum Theatre gave a presentation called The Battle of the Somme which was extremely enlightening. Pupils certainly learned a lot about the war in one day!
The photographs show Year 9 students with 92-year-old David Teacher, who they met at the Museum. He had been a part of the RAF Beach Unit landing on the Normandy Beaches on D-Day in 1944. He was full of detailed information about his experiences and claimed that he would do it all again.
The girls were very taken by the fact that he had known his wife – who sadly passed away quite recently – for 75 years. They were married for 72! She had been 15 when they met, and he, 16.
For further interest – Here follows an extract from David’s autobiographical writings:
“This is what we had trained for. We were about to make ‘history’. I was not at all panicky. I had too much to think about. I engaged 4 wheel drive and drove the 3 tonner down the ramp into some 6ft of water saying, “Don’t let me down baby!”. Somehow it seemed like ages as I drove slowly onto the beach. I was surprised how quiet it all was. There was very little enemy gun fire.
There were lads already ashore. Their job was to make sure that the exits were made safe, to clear mines and obstacles and to mark the safe areas to the exits with white tape. A most dangerous but necessary job. The safety of thousands of lives depended on their success. I found the white tapes and drove in between, thinking this could be a normal exercise, up to now, no problems. I found the spot for the Drowned Vehicle Park where we would repair damaged vehicles. I left the 3 tonner there and made my way on foot back to the beach, to report to the rest of our unit and update. I had landed on Juno Beach (The Canadian Sector). It was the beginning of a most horrendous day……..
Jerry started to shell the beach at about 9 a.m. Suddenly, all hell let loose. The beach was under fire from shells, mortars and machine guns, we dived for cover. The sea was covered in blood and vomit and flies began to arrive by the thousands, which created another nightmare. At around midday three German aircraft attacked our beach. Three bombs were dropped. The first hit a landing craft causing many casualties. Number two hit an anti-aircraft post where all were killed. The third bomb landed not more than 20 feet away from me. It did not explode. I didn’t know what to think, other than someone was certainly taking care of me that day. The bomb was still there when we left the beach three months later.”
Do also read these articles on the School website about Withington’s experiences in both World Wars.