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Tribute to David M Schayek MC, MA (Cantab) - died 1 October 1999

by: Percy Gourgey MBE

Brought by his parents as a young child from Baghdad where he was born on 29 December 1919, David Schayek went to Harrow Public School and later studied law at St Catherine's College in Cambridge University from 1937-40. After the war he became a successful solicitor. He had celebrated his barmitzvah in the house of the renowned Mrs Flora Sassoon, in Bruton Street, Mayfair, London.

He had a distinguished war career, winning the Military Cross while serving as a junior officer in the Royal Inniskillen Fusiliers. He singlehandedly captured a German machine gun emplacement in Italy. The award citation read: "Lieutenant Schayek led his platoon with distinction onto the first objective - a low ridge known as Hill 40 - which he was the first to reach. Single-handed he attacked one of the enemy machine-gun posts and with his tommy-gun killed the crew. Although wounded twice himself, he continued to command and lead his platoon until the objective had been finally cleared. Lieutenant Schayek had previously shown himself as a courageous and inspiring leader, both in the North African and Sicilian campaigns."

He married in 1949 and with his wife, Lillian, celebrated their golden wedding in June 1999. He was a popular and well-liked among the Iraqi Jewish community in London and was knowledgeable about its history and customs. He was devoted to his family and is survived by his wife, daughters Valerie and Deborah and grandchildren. After his retirement he remained active and worked voluntarily for the Third World charity, "War on Want".



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