Major David Cleary - Corners 56-63


Roger Friend: "On 3 June "The Daily Telegraph" carried an obituary for Major David Cleary (Corners 56/63), who passed away aged 54. After leaving Woolverstone, David went to Sandhurst before getting a commission in the Lancashire Regiment in 1965. He was awarded the MC while serving with the regiment in Aden in September 1967. David's battalion had been in action against rioters, encountering constant attacks from mortars, rockets and machine guns, as well as small arms fire. David was briefed to carry out a patrol to counter the sniping that was threatening all movements in the area. Spotting a terrorist look-out on the roof of a building, his patrol put a cordon round the area and started a search, which prompted the terrorists to open fire resulting in two soldiers being wounded and the radio being rendered unusable. David used smoke cover to get the wounded men out.


After Aden he served in Malta, where he played rugby for the Army team. In 1969 he was sent to Lybia to instruct King Idris' National Guard in mortaring. One morning he woke up to discover that his students had been arrested and his mortar stores impounded by Colonel Gadaffi, who had staged a coup. On retiring from the Army, David pursued a management career in various Middle Eastern countries.

"The DailyTelegraph" described him as a quiet man socially, a good all-round sportsman and the possessor of a dry sense of humour. His humour was illustrated by the story of him being detailed to command the Colour Party in church. When he pointed out that he was a Roman Catholic his Adjutant asked him whether he would mind performing the duty. David replied that: "God will be equally surprised to see me in an Anglican church as in a Catholic church".