Annual Ceremony for Jewish SOE Agents
Just as we had started events again, the Covid regulations changed from 9th September 2020. Fortunately, we were still able to stage our annual commemoration at Brookwood Military Cemetery (Memorial to the Missing 1939-45) on Sunday, 6th September for Jewish agents of SOE.
The event was well-supported by AJEX, the Jewish Military Organisation for the UK, and with diplomatic and Defence team attendance from the Israeli Embassy in London. SWW2LN Chair, Louisa Russell introduced proceedings and laid a wreath, Trustee Paul McCue gave a short presentation on the three men particularly remembered– Capt Enzo Sereni (Italy), Capt Alec Rabinovitch (France) and Volunteer Baruch Jacobson (Mandate Palestine) and Friend of The SWW2LN, Ray Windmill, read The Exhortation and Kohima Epitaph at the Last Post
Right-(l to r)-SWW2LN Chair, Louisa Russell; Dana Erlich, Israeli Embassy; SWW2LN Trustee Paul McCue
Reference was made to SOE’s ill-fated OPERATION BOATSWAIN in 1941 and the addition to the memorial of the 23 Jewish names, to join the existing one of the British liaison officer, Major Sir Anthony Palmer of SOE. The names were added in 2016 following work by SWW2LN supporter and AJEX Archivist Martin Sugarman and the formal unveiling and first commemoration, staged by The SWW2LN, took place in 2017.
A highlight of the day was the attendance of Alan Tyler, a 96-year-old former Dartmouth boy and Royal Navy officer who served in WW2 (incl Arctic convoys/HMS Norfolk during the Battle of the North Cape), the post-war Palestine Patrol, and he was on the destroyer that took Britain’s first Atom bomb to be exploded on a deserted Australian island–he witnessed the explosion. A fascinating man, accompanied by his son who, appropriately, is a former Special Forces soldier.
Credits: Paul McCue