A day of memories for young and old

As the veterans marched, a new generation helped to remember the heroes


From London to the Tyne, Cardiff to France, dozens of branches and hundreds of Jewish ex-servicemen and women marched past the Cenotaph on Sunday at the 80th annual Ajex remembrance parade.

More than 1,200 veterans attended, an increase on last year's figure of 900.

According to Ajex, new members who had joined over the past 12 months boosted the numbers. And with a large crowd of friends and family watching on, the numbers in Whitehall totalled over 3,000.

After wreaths were laid alongside two poppy posies, the participants joined in rousing renditions of Adon Olam and God Save The Queen.

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis was among the guests, while the reviewing officer, Admiral Lord Boyce, took his place next to Admiral Lord Sterling, the Ajex president, at Horse Guards Parade to accept the salute from the marchers.

It was a great honour to be present, Lord Boyce said. "Jewish servicemen and women have served this country since the 1700s, and that story of service goes on to this day.

"These were people who put their lives on the line for our sovereign and country. Wherever and whenever the armed forces are called into action, I am sure that Jews will play their part in the air, the sea, and on land."

Captain David Arkush, who was held in a Japanese prisoner of war camp during the Second World War, was, at 100 years old, one of the oldest veterans attending. He said: "It's something I try to do every year, to come to the Cenotaph to pay homage to my past comrades. It's important to remember because I survived it."

As he spoke, the tears welled in his eyes, the emotions of his wartime experience still powerful after almost 70 years.

"I remember a lot of my fallen comrades. but there were so many, I can't remember them all. I'm an old man. I can't remember everyone," he said.

At the other end of the age spectrum, 11-year-old Aaron McNeille laid a poppy posy in memory of his great-grandfather Aaron Glickman, who died in the First World War.

He said: "I'm proud. I was named after my great-grandfather. I never met him, but it's an honour to be named after him, because it means the name has a purpose."

Lord Sterling said the parade demonstrated "what the Jewish community has done in both World Wars, playing their part in the defence of the realm, which is something we should all be very proud of".

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