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World War II:
Jews with the Chindits & General Orde Wingate – Burma

(1943 - 1944)
by Martin Sugarman


World War II: Table of Contents | Battle of the Bulge | D-Day


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My thanks go to the Chindit OCA and all the veterans who helped me compile this list by contacting me through the various adverts I placed in the Jewish Chronicle, British Legion Journal, “Dekko” (Journal of the Burma Star Association), Wartime News, The AJEX Journal and other publications. Without their help, this work would not have been possible. I am especially grateful to Col. Orde Wingate, the late general’s son, for contacting me with some useful information. I am also grateful to the courageous American veterans of the USAAF Commando who provided names of their comrades who took part in the airlifting in and out of supplies and men.

The list is clearly incomplete and this research would have revealed an astonishingly greater picture of the contribution of Jewish troops to the Chindits had it been completed twenty years ago when more eye-witnesses would have been alive.

 

Sgt Asher – S Staffs – kia attack on Mogaung 23/6/44 – see “March or Die” by P D Chinnery, pp215-6 – probably Jewish; no AJEX card.

Monty (?) Broomkin/Bloomkin, Duke of Wellington’s att Chindits - inform. from B Stupack. 958 3317 - 15 Kingsley Ct, Tayside Ave, Edgware.

3780027 Pte Len/Frank  Berkovitch – 13th King’s Liverpool - POW with Frank in Rangoon jail - info. from Frank – from Manchester, very orthodox and often prayed in the camp.

13091795 Act. Sgt. Pte Sam Berkovitz, 2nd/13th bat. Sherwood Foresters and SEAC Lancs Fus./Border Reg., he served in Calvert’s Chindit column as a bren gunner. Born East End 30.03.1906, tailor son of Rumanian immigrants, died 30.10.1998. Organised and took part in the Battle of Cable Street and recruitment of fighters for Spain against Franco, was an active member of the Communist Party. After Home Guard, volunteered in Darlington aged 36 years in WW2 and was sent to the Pioneer Corps. Husband of Bessie of Canon St Road E1 and 16 Helens Terrace, Bishop Auckland. Father of Barry; AJEX card and photo and personal call. Sam wrote a book on his life and wartime experiences, edited by the famous Jewish writer Simon Blumenthal.

6095498 Sgt. Gabriel “Gaby” Bick - husband of Anna, son of I Bick of 35, Taplow Flats,Calvert St, Shoreditch, E2 - died postwar in Ramat Gan, Israel. 2nd Queens own R W Surrey/Essex Reg./Chindits Signals and Intelligence, friend of Monty Rome. On passing a message to General Wingate himself, Wingate asked Bick if he was Jewish and when he said yes, Wingate said - “You should not be here but in Israel!!”. Photo and AJEX card. Bick is named in “GI Jews” by D Moore 2004, page 114

7369228 Pte Harry Leon Broder, 180/215th Field Ambulance RAMC - served Col. 45 with Chindits - letter from comrade George Bush of Woking.

13043873 Lewis Bresler – RWF – c/o Charlisky, 36 Warwick St, Glasgow

4202412 Fus. Michael Chadwick later aka Freedman - 10th bat. RWF - husband of Mrs S Chadwick, 26, Ruskin Ave., Manchester - later attached 23rd Brigade of the Chindits. Letter and call from M Cohen (below). AJEX Index Card.

6827042 Cpl John Denis Cross - HAC/Royal West Kent/Essex reg. - b.9/1/ 1918, died 1972 - son of Mr H B Cross, 32 Nottingham Place, W1, who himself served in 38th bat RF in  WW1, Jewish Legion - brother of Michael.  Denis is mentioned in the book “Jungle, Jungle, Little Chindit”. Denis was attempting to blow a bridge on a raid with the Chindits whilst RAF Hurricanes were trying to bomb it! Call and letter from brother. AJEX card and photo.

3780118 Pte Sid/Ellis  Caplin/Caplan/Kaplan – 13th King’s Liverpool, from Manchester  - POW with Frank in Rangoon jail - info. from Frank and confirmed by wife of J Milgrom, below, in 2007.

5952706 A.L. Camp - D Coy., 5th Beds and Herts - AJEX card - info. from M Rome.

Alfred Chester – son of Bertha and  Lou, Ellingfort Road Hackney E9 – hus. of Rachel – call from sister Shirley; perhaps he is 14203953 Pte R. Chester of the  Warwicks Reg., lived  200  Evering Rd, E8?

3602186 Pte Mendel/Manny Cohen, 4th Bat. Border Reg.- AJEX Card and personal call - mother Mrs R Cohen of 34 Greenhill Rd., Cheetham, Manchester. 23rd Brigade Chindits under Brig. Fergusson. Served India/Burma 1942-45.

Company Commander Major Joseph George Crowne MBE for meritorious service with the Chindits - Brigade Signals Officer, formerly Beds and Herts Reg.& 7th Nigerian Reg./Gold Coast - WAF GHQ  (AJEX Chaplain’s cards) - was on 2nd expedition (airborne) and at capture of Wagown - info.from  Feldman and JC June 1945 with photo. Son of Mr and Mrs Davis Crowne of 5, Thistlethwaite Rd, Clapton, E5. Memorabilia at AJEX Jewish Military Museum and personal interview.

121576 Capt.  Darnley Peter Lamont  Da Costa – 7th  Leics Reg, kia 14/7/44 b. Taukkyan 6 F 1, Burma, son of Darnley and Mary of Barbados, brother of Patrick in 1st Irish Guards, also kia  30/1/1944 – AJEX card for Peter.

Sgt John  (Julius) Dubora – 6149595  - 6th E Surrey’s att. 6th Nigeria – Jack  Lennard letter. 62 Thistlethwaite Rd, Clapton, London E5 – AJEX card

6022982 Pte Ernest “Dave” Davis, Essex reg. - son of Mrs G Davis, 56 Goodge St, W1 - served with Monty Rome - photo and AJEX card.

14203623 L/Cpl. Shimshon (Samson) /Simon S. Duque - 1st bat Kings Liverpool reg./15th bat. Queens Royal reg. - 81 column, 77th Brigade, Chindits. KIA “Blackpool” stronghold 15.5.44 - aged 21 years, buried Rangoon - Son of Rabbi I.D. Duque of 2, Heneage Lane, Bevis Marks, EC3; AJEX card and letter from comrade Leslie Ball of Virginia, USA. Medals and photo at AJEX Museum donated by his nephew Ian of Ilford, 2007.

 

0-729107 Major Charles L. Englhardt - letter from comrade Major W V Radovitch, 1st Air Commando USAAF/Chindits

1090904 Gnr.David Finestein , RA - batman to Lt Leslie Grove whose widow attested to David being in the Chindits with her husband - 60th Field Reg att. Chindits - 23rd Brigade column, 2nd expedition - info. from Capt T Weiler of Isleworth and Mrs B Grove of Newcastle-u-Lyme. AJEX card says husband of P Finestein, 182, Fieldgate Mansions, Romford St, E1/photo from Mrs Grove.

3780682 Pte Leon Frank - 13th platoon, 13th bat, Kings Regiment, Liverpool - on Operation Longcloth 1943, column 7 -  went in with mules and elephants - POW on 23rd birthday after trying to evade capture with 6 others 21.4.43 - kept in Rangoon (JIW interview) and personal call/AJEX Chaplain’s cards. Born Green Dragon Yard, Whitechapel 21.4.20., then family moved to 131, Grove Rd, Walthamstow E17/photo. Described in “March or Die” by P Chinnery.

Sgt (later Major) 3781685 Ralph Franks, The Kings Reg., hus. of Mrs M Franks, 15, Whalley Rd, Manchester - letter from wife - AJEX Index Card and photo from wife.

6092321/10020606 RSM Leslie S. Franks, of 46 Clapton Common, E5 - Queen’s RW Surry Regt. – info. from nephew  S Rose.

3781622 Pte Hyman Farber - MIA/KIA, 8.5.43-13th Btn. Kings Reg., Liverpool./ Chindits - WWRT/CWGC/AJEX Jewish Chaplains card - commemorated Rangoon memorial ,Myanmar, Taukkyan War Cemetery, north of Rangoon - Face 5 - aged 32 years - son of Jacob and Rachel Farber, Firwood , Manchester. Wife Mrs C Fisher, 81, Gt Jackson St, Manchester

6898926 Sgt Abraham (Alf) Feldman 35 col.Intelligence NCO detatched from 8th btn. Black Watch to 7th Nigerian Reg., son of Mrs A Feldman, 51 Finsbury Terrace, Swansea, and Mortimer St W1. Born 85 Albany St, Camden 17.10.18. Flew in to “White City” strongpoint on Dakotas Apl. 1944. Evacuated sick with typhus, jaundice and malaria to Michina and then India July 1944. Personal talk, photo and AJEX Jewish Chaplains cards.

S/14269034 Sgt Arthur Isidore Freedman, RASC – Chindits Intelligence HQ – 329 Foley St., London, W1

4200940 Pte Joseph Freedman -  2nd KOR Reg, Lancaster, kia 25/5/44 aged 27, Rangoon memorial, face 5, son of Mrs J Freedman, Charlotte St., Salford, Manchester – AJEX card.

5339452 Pte Harry Glassman -  1st Beds and Herts, kia 12/6/44, aged 27, b Gauhati, India,  4 C 11, son of Abraham and Rachel, Stoke Newington

3781716 L/Cpl. Harry Greenberg – 13th King’s Liverpool - son of Solomon and Emmeline of Hightown, Salford, Manchester – died of illness/wounds 20/08/1943, aged 30 years . Buried St Mary’s cemetery, Madras, Chennai

3534963 Pte Hyman Gordon  - 10th Bat. Loyal Reg./Border Regiment aged 29 years – item in JC of 27/4/45 announcing him as WiA with the Border Regiment in Burma. He was son of Mr and Mrs S Gordon of 347 Bury New Rd., Salford, 7- and he had been in the Chindits and had no contact with home for over 14 months. He had attended Southall Street School, the JLB and boxed for his regiment. He was a member of Higher Broughton synagogue and had two brothers serving – Harry in the Queens Reg. and Morris in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. Has AJEX card.

7668275/1523050 Sgt Arthur Green, W Yorks/RA Heavy ack-ack, 296 battery - att. Chindits - AJEX card and photo - hus. of Mrs D Green 33, Marlborough Ave, Leeds 7/14, Kedelston Rd, St Lane, Leeds 8 (?) - letter from wife that he refused to leave his officer, Bruce Day and ordering his men to go on, amputated Day’s leg and then carried him across the Irrawaddy River. This was witnessed by a Ghurka soldier who recommended Green for an MiD. Green and Day lost touch but in 1980 they accidentally met in the dental hospital in Leeds and Day said Green should have been awarded the MM! After this emotional meeting, Green for the first time spoke to his wife of his Chindit ordeal and told the full story. Mrs Phyllis Green was never able to contact Day again. Letter also from son Peter J. Green of Leeds.

140674 Capt. Herbert “Berty” Harris-Taylor OBE - Liverpool Reg/2nd bat. Duke of Wellington’s atttached Chindits 2nd expedition - flew in in Dakotas- inform. from Dr.Capt Stuart Binnie, RAMC of Southport and Major Freeman, and personal call. Son of Sol and Ray Harris of 14 Lance Lane Liverpool 15 - info. from brother’s AJEX card.

11410057 L/Bomb.Peter George Isaacs , RA son of Mr and Mrs E A Isaacs 11, West Park Place, Leeds, 8 - AJEX card - information and photo with Arthur Green from Peter Green (above).

3777022 Pte  G. /James or Josh “Lefty” Levene/Levine, DCM, from 51, Caryl Gdns. tenements, Toxteth, Liverpool, son of a Jewish Liverpool docker - 77th Brigade under Brig Mike Calvert - 1st bat. Kings Liverpool Reg. - won DCM at Battle of Mogaung, Burma 1944, first town to be re-taken from the Japs in Burma. Citation written by Major F C Freeman of Caldy, Wirral - personal interview - mention found in “Liverpool Echo” 27.4.45 and LG 26.4.45 page 2212 - “cool under fire and in very close proximity to the enemy, he cleaned his muddy bren gun and calmly drove off the Japanese, saving the day”. Gazetted 26.4.45, Levene developed cerebal palsy and died in 1948 - Liverpool docks closed in his honour. DCM mentioned in Jewish Year Book 1945/46. Confirmed in War Diary of Kings Reg. page 129, footnote. Letter from eye-witness comrade Jack Lindo, who writes “Jimmy was firing his bren gun from the hip position, blasting the Japs from the tops of the Bashas. A very brave act indeed. He just went about his business quietly, not shouting, just shooting from the hip....he earned his medal that day. The village was holding up the 77th Brigade advance”. He says the name “Lefty” was given him because of his likeness to a famous American boxer of the period.

Citation in “Register of the DCM” by G A Brown, Western Canadian Distributors, 1993, page 289 - “On 3rd June 1944 Pte Levene was Bren gunner on the point section of the King’s Comp. (att. 1st bat. Lancs Fus.) near Loihinche. The column had halted at the base of Point 1094 where the track split into three branches. Pte Levene suddenly spotted the enemy lying in wait on the right of the track some 15 yards away. He fired a full magazine at them inflicting several casualties before they replied. There is no doubt that but for his quick observation and prompt action the enemy would have inflicted heavy casualties upon his platoon. He then crossed a track covered by enemy fire and drove an enemy LMG from our right flank saving further casualties to our troops. On the morning of the 18th June Pte Levene’s platoon was leading  the assault on Naungkaiktaw. During the advance, ignoring heavy fire, he was always in the front. When his platoon was eventually halted owing to the platoon on the left being held up, he ran forward onto a bunker in an exposed position and killed six Japs as they intended to withdraw. He then remained in this position cutting off one of their two lines of withdrawal and killed several more. There is no doubt that his gallant action enabled his platoon to advance.

Later in the morning of the 18th June he and his section were sent to reinforce a platoon that was attacking and clearing Naungkaiktaw and had suffered casualties. He was quite unshaken by earlier experiences and was seen to engage and kill more of the enemy. He set an excellent example by his cool and fearless conduct throughout. He showed complete contempt of danger  and exposed himself freely to enemy fire in order to use his Bren to the best advantage and was invaluable in clearing further strongpoints and eventually putting surviving enemy to flight”. James died in Dec 1948 at Newton hospital near Liverpool after three years in hospital, aged 33 years. He was not married. - obituary in “Liverpool Echo” 22.12.48, buried at Allerton RC cemetery 23.12.48 with full military honours with Major Freeman attending. Photo at AJEX museum.

3779294 Cpl Morris Levene - 13th Kings Liverpool Reg., son of Abraham and Rosa of 59a, Soho Street, Liverpool 3 - AJEX card and letter from son.
 

L Levy (possibly Leslie 6476761) – AJEX card says of Ferndale Rd N16 – 45 Recce Regt. – lived Brampton Grove, NW4.

Jack J. Lindo, Liverpool Reg. – of Jewish origin.

6479057 Pte  Jacob Lempert, Royal Fus./1st Btn. S Staffs/Chindits -  aged 31 years KIA 23.6.44 - WWRT/CWGC /AJEX Jewish Chaplains card- son of Joseph and Sarah of 24 Jenner Rd., Stoke Newington, London – field burial at Mogaung 600 yards north east of railway station, later buried at Taukkyan, Plot Collective Row,  grave 14, Grave E. 1-8. Memorial plaque in the Sandys Row Dutch Synagogue, Whitechapel, E1.

6026356 Pte Basil Michael Luck - formerly 26th Hussars/2nd bat. Yorks & Lancs/Essex reg., from London - 14th HQ Brigade - WIA with bullets in both legs Apl 18th 1944 - wounds dressed by friend Derek Flintoff of OCA (personal call) - then evacuated, discharged 17.1.45. according to Jewish Chaplain’s card - son of H Luck 73, Buxton Rd, Luton.

Brigadier Neville Marks, KIA Special Forces, Chindits -  information from Major Freeman OCA. Marks was on HQ Coy. Staff in Wingate’s column and is mentioned by him on  p.334 of “Wingate” by J Bierman and C. Smith

14517215 Jacob “Jack”  Milgrom , son of Abraham of 101, Claremont Rd, London E7 -  Essex Reg. - info. from cousin H. Pollins of Oxford – and confirmed by his wife in 2007; later he was a paratrooper.

4808743 Pte Morry Pavlotsky – 2nd Yorks and Lancs died 26/4/44 aged 36,  b. Taukkyan, Burma, 14 C 10. AJEX card,  son of Aaron and Rachel of  22, New Rd., Stepney

22224506 John Jacob Pennamacoor - no.9 RAMC, hus. of Fanny Marie of 98 Central Ave., Southend - regular soldier till 1952 - info. from M Rome. AJEX card.

Lt Lionel Rose – Sherwood Foresters – HQ Staff Coy. with Wingate and CO of the Gurkha HQ Defence Platoon. He was MIA April 9th-May1st 1943 after crossing the Irrawaddy on return from 1st Chindit  raid and was believed captured at Chindwin crossing later. POW Rangoon, he is mentioned by Bierman and Smith pp. 302/305/335. Wingate described him in a letter to wife Lorna, as “a splendid boy who was instrumental in saving my own life on one occasion….I felt very badly about his loss, which was perhaps partly my fault. He was missing ….on the Chindwin. I fear the worst but don’t say so to Mrs Rose. If she is in any want now or in the future we must help her. I feel I am responsible to Rose for that….he behaved with the greatest courage and unselfishness. He was devoted to his Gurkhas and owes his absence to that devotion – otherwise he would have come in my boat, as I asked him to. I often lost my temper with him….but he understood” Six weeks later Wingate received  “the glad news that….Rose is a POW in Burma”

Rosenberg from Leeds - 44 or 56 column, 2nd expedition - info. from L W Ellis of Pontefract, OCA.

5260505 Pte Nathan Rosewood  -  1st South Staff, killed 17/3/44 b. Taukkayan, Burma,  6 B 16,  aged 21, son of Morris and Sophia of 14, Pitmaston St., Worcester. AJEX card

 

5953142 L/Cpl Maurice “Monty” Rome - from Calvert St., Shoreditch - Beds/Herts/Essex reg. - served Egypt, Palestine, Ethiopia, Sudan, Iraq, Syria, India and Burma with Chindits under Brig. Perowne (HQ Signals section) - author of “Lest I Forget” privately published and at AJEX Museum; photo.

2035089 Pte M Rodrigues, 1st bat. Essex Reg. - Ex-Norwood boy and boxer - regular soldier - AJEX card and info. from M Rome.

Willy Shaw - cousin of Londoner Hillier Wise - to be confirmed.

Major Harry C Segal - 23rd Brigade HQ - info. from Capt. Harris-Taylor.

6023036 Cpl. Alf Sampson, artist and soldier - Essex Reg/1st Bat. DLI - 2nd Chindit Campaign - recorded memoirs at Army Museum, author of “Bless ‘em All” (ISO Publications, 1990) and appears in the book “The Forgotten War”, among others. Photo at AJEX Museum. Husband of R S Sampson, 106, Lauriston Rd, Hackney, E9 - son of S Sampson, 52, Clifton Bldgs., Bethnal Green, E2 - AJEX Jewish Chaplains card.

1092769 Pte Henry Simmons – 51st Field Reg., RA – son of Eva and Ben, 56, New Rd., E1 – WIA Tobruk, then to Ceylon and India, and went to “White City” by Dakota with Chindits, under Maj. Fergusson, 2nd Chindit expedition. Personal telephone call.

L/Cpl 2347255 Bernard Stupack, Royal Signals born 10/12/19 in Rutland St , Stepney. Called up Prestatyn, then to Egypt (Tobruk evacuation), att. RA to Bardia, then to Ceylon for jungle training, then Jansi and marched into Burma with 51 col. under Mad Mike Calvert. Evacuated by air ,sick. Son of J Stupack, 21, Alvestone Rd, Wembley Pk. Personal talk and AJEX Jewish Chaplains cards. Photo at Museum.

R J Schieferstein of Reading,  Pennsylvania – 1st Air Commando USAAF

222851 Dvr Morris  Summers RASC – AJEX card says brother of Ada, lived Autclif St, E1 and then West Bank, Hackney, N16 - served also North Africa. Father Samuel served 39th bat. RF in WW1.  Lived Osbaldeston Rd N16.

 

1111578 Gnr Bernard Sonnenfield, RA – 1st Expedition with Col. Fergusson

5979048/162342 2nd Lt Neville Nathan Saffer - Killed on Active Service in a mortar training accident whilst training with Chindits, 28/8/1942(?) - B Coy., 14th platoon , 13th bat, Kings Reg, Liverpool, witnessed by Pte Frank - (JIW & personal call). Buried Ramna Forest Pathania, India (WWRT). Son of A Saffer 256, Lidgett Lane, Leeds 7

Alfred Specterman – was with Henry Simmons above, RA at “White City”, from East End – committed suicide soon after war.

Capt. Jessel Samuels – Chindit/Army HQ liaison officer

Lt (later Major) Sir Michael Samuelson MBE, HAC/Leicesters attached Chindits under Col Lockett - landed “White City” - of German Jewish origin - personal call.

1113615 W.Op/AG Basil Taylor, RAF – supply drops to Chindits – from 11, Riversdale Terr., Sunderland – AJEX card

1084159 Morris Tregar Royal Artillery 14th Platoon 11th Army Burma, husband of Rachel (Terry) Tregar of 57 Moresby Road Clapton London E5, died November 2010

14517316 Joseph Werthizer, RE att. Essex Reg. – 2nd expedition on foot with Major Lovelace – 15 Wentworth St. Bldgs., son of Peretz and Esther , born 24/8/22 – aka Velsizer, now Worth – personal telephone interview

7651768 Pte Driv. “Myer” Harry Winston aka Winstein, born London 1911, RAOC/REME, att. Chindits - served N Africa, Madagascar and India aswell - son of F Godfrey, Rumanian immigrants called Weinstein from 23, Whyteville Rd., Forest Gate, E7 - AJEX card and photo.

Col.  C E  Zeigler of  Alexandria, Viriginia – 1st Air Commando USAAF


Sources: Martin Sugarman, reprinted with express permission

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