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D-Day Veterans Celebrate Their 100th Birthdays

Two D-Day veterans who live at Broughton House Veteran Care Village in Salford are celebrating their 100th birthdays this month.

Peter Belcher on his 100th Birthday
Peter Belcher on his 100th Birthday

Peter Belcher marked his milestone with a party attended by his relatives and other residents, and guests including Blackley and Broughton MP Graham Stringer and Coun Gina Reynolds, the ceremonial mayor of Salford. Peter received the traditional 100th birthday greeting from the King.

After a carvery lunch, Peter and his guests were entertained by singer Sarah Dennis, who is known as The Veterans’ Sweetheart.

Peter, who was 100 on December 9, was enlisted as a paratrooper in the Airborne Regiment, 4th Battalion Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. He fought throughout the Second World War and served a total of 12 years before being demobbed in 1949.

He served in 17 countries and was awarded six military medals, including the illustrious Legion d’Honneur.

By D-Day, Peter was part of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire 1st Airborne D Company, whose job was a crucial mission to land Horsa gliders as part of Operation Deadstick, to capture Pegasus Bridge to provide protection for soldiers arriving on the Normandy beaches.

Peter Belcher

He and his comrades succeeded in just 10 minutes, soon after midnight, and six hours before the beach landings. Peter managed to take down two enemy tanks using an anti-tank gun after landing his glider. The tactical advantage of the bridge ensured that the eastern flank of Sword Beach in Normandy was protected.

The capture of Pegasus Bridge was later dramatised in the epic US war film The Longest Day.

After that battle, Peter was deployed to the Belgian town of Bastogne to help with the Battle of the Bulge.

Young David Teacher

The other Broughton House centenarian is David Teacher, whose birthday is on Friday, December 29.

David joined the RAF at the age of 18 and served in World War II from 1942-45.

He was a mechanic in an RAF Beach Unit, which was among the first to land on Juno Beach in Normandy on D-Day in 1944. His job was to repair vehicles.

After living for three months on the beach in a trench, his unit moved to fight in the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium and was involved in relieving US troops besieged in Bastogne in December 1944.

David is a former vice-chairman of the Bolton and District Normandy Veterans Association and a former chairman of the Manchester Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women.

David Teacher

In 2012, David, a double amputee, was awarded an MBE for his charitable work. He is a widower who was married to Nancy for more than 70 years.

Karen Miller, chief executive of Broughton House, said: “It is my absolute privilege to be giving David heartfelt birthday wishes from the whole team at Broughton House as he becomes a centenarian. David really is an inspiration to us all.

“Having served his country so courageously during the war, David has continued to dedicate his life to serve others, not only through his charitable work but also by sharing with the younger generation the values of friendship, duty and service.”