After his school Wellington College was bombed in an air raid in 1940 David made up his mind to sign up.

“I was shivering in a shelter. Two boys in my house were killed. I turned around and saw they were shot down.”

“After that I decided to join the army. I was fed up looking at Latin and wasn’t much of an academic.”

In 1942 just seven days after leaving school, he walked through the gates of the Royal Marine depot at Lympstone.
Looking back the 90 year old says it was the first time in his life he started to flourish. “I ran out as 'a diamond man' and was one of the top recruits. I was a good shot. Shooting straight has been a very useful thing.”

David was selected for Officer Cadet Training and in January '44 he was dispatched to join Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship `Ennadale' on a convoy from the Clyde. He soon came face to face with the horrors of war.

“The tanker wallowed away in a Force 8 gale. After we were put ashore in North Africa I remember landing craft were sent out to try and help with a Dutch trooper that had been torpedoed and by the time we got there all the live casualties had been rescued but we found the trunk of one poor man. The watch on his left arm was still ticking.”

The Flotilla was next moved up the west coast of Italy to Naples where David ended up half-drowned and in hospital with amnesia after getting caught in the blast of a bomb down a hole on a half sunk ship.

“I was treated in hospital and I had no recollection of the 36 hours I was out cold in hospital. When I woke up I had a clicking jaw and fractured arm but it was good to know I was reasonably intact!”

“Naples was terrible, with the starvation of the civilian population. I remember being so shocked by an Italian Doctor who implied his 19 year old daughter would be available if I gave him a couple of tins of corned beef.”

After convalescent leave his Flotilla was dispatched with his 30 Marines to guard a VIP. “It was King George VI who arrived to visit the troops! I had a sentry outside his bedroom door at night but he didn’t like that. So I put the sentry in a linen cupboard and bored a few holes in the wall so he could keep an eye on things. This was a hugely interesting week in my life, one that I will always remember.”

The British Forces in the Italian campaign were known as the D Day dodgers. By that time David’s flotilla was aboard a British Indian ship to Malta.

After the war ended David celebrated but was still on active duty so it didn’t really hit home. He went onto command two detachments of Royal Marines in Woolworth Aircraft Carriers, 'Battier' and 'Ravager' and was finally de-mobbed in Chatham in late 1946.

“ I had a trilby hat, a sports jacket and £58 in my pocket.”

He spent four years in the oil industry in Iran between and after a stint in jail he rejoined the Lancashire Fusiliers. On promotion to full Colonel as the Commandant of the Cadet Training Centre at Frimley Park he looked after 1300 detachments based in schools all over Britain.
“This was a wonderfully rewarding job as I was able to help young men become better citizens.”

David is fighting cancer and writing a book about his life. He says he will never forget the day he was awarded an OBE.

"It was one of the most memorable days of my life. My wife was with me, dressed up to the nines and two of my three children. HM The Queen presented me with a medal. I practically double saluted her but managed not to fall when I had to step backwards. It was marvelous!”