Hero Brit who saved Argentinian Jew during Falklands

By Marcus Dysch, May 3, 2012

Many of the Falklands War's acts of heroism have entered armed forces folklore, but a newly-revealed story may be one of the most remarkable of them all.

The five-day Battle of San Carlos, 30 years ago this month, saw British forces create a beachhead and land troops on the Falklands as the fight to reclaim the islands began.

Amid the fighting, a Jewish Argentinian soldier found himself pinned down by British bombing. After taking shelter and initially covering his eyes in fear he looked up, only to find a British soldier standing over him pointing a rifle.

Thinking the end was near, the Argentinian began to say the Shema aloud, quickly reciting the first line of the prayer, Hear O Israel.

To his astonishment, the British soldier responded by reciting the next line, lowering his gun and telling his opponent "let's go", before taking him prisoner and arguably saving his life.

The story emerged when the Argentinian veteran was interviewed by Hernan Dobry, author of The Falklands Rabbis - the story of the chaplains sent to Patagonia to support Jewish Argentinian soldiers who were the victims of antisemitic attacks perpetrated by their own officers.

It is now hoped that the British soldier might be identified, and, if he is still alive, come forward for a possible reunion with the man he saved.

Martin Newman, chairman of the Jewish Committee for HM Forces, said his "gut instinct" was that the incident had indeed taken place.

"There is no readily available information about the number of British Jews who fought in the Falklands, but someone may remember family members who were at San Carlos," he said.

"It is absolutely remarkable, although there is a possibility that it is apocryphal. The Argentinian was most likely a conscripted soldier with no experience of battle who did not want to be there. His mind might have played tricks on him, but there is something about it that makes me think there is some truth in the tale.

"It's possible that if we could identify the British soldier then we could have a reunion. That would be a nice end to the story."

Last updated: 2:02pm, May 3 2012