War veteran, 101, honoured by university for lifetime's work


A decorated war veteran from Sunderland has been honoured by his local university.

Mordaunt Cohen, 101, received an honorary fellowship in recognition of his military service and long association with the city and university.

He signed up for service after hearing the stories of girls on the Kindertransport who came to Sunderland.

In Burma, he commanded Nigerian volunteers as part of an anti-aircraft unit defending RAF airstrips, surviving malaria and hepatitis in gruelling conditions.

In 1947, the Territorial Army was reformed and needed people with his experience. He was promoted to major after two years and in 1954 was made a lieutenant colonel. Nothing is more important to him “than seeing the community recognise VJ Day”.

Mr Cohen resumed his legal career after the war and in the 1970s, he and his wife Myrella became the first couple to serve on the judiciary. He was also the university’s inaugural chair of governors.

His wife was the university’s first honorary award recipient in 1992.

Mr Cohen said that when told about his own fellowship, “I didn’t really know why I was deserving of this distinct honour. Then on reflection, I decided that it must be because I am the grandfather of the university.”

He is also a former chairman of the Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women.


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