RAF veteran joins tribute to Canadians


The bodies of seven young Canadian Jewish airmen were buried in the Commonwealth war cemetery at Stonefall, near Harrogate, more than 70 years ago. In an annual act of remembrance, a contingent of Leeds Ajex and Harrogate Hebrew Congregation members visit their graves, each marked by a Star of David on the tombstone.

This year's ceremony was part of a memorial service held by the RAF. A wreath was laid by war veteran and Harrogate Hebrew Congregation member Bill Jerome, 102, who moved to Harrogate after retirement.

He joined the RAF as an officer at the outbreak of war and would have been a fighter pilot had his eyesight been better. Instead, he was handed a significant role in fighter control, handling information about enemy aircraft.

"One moment I could be speaking to a pilot; in another moment he could be diving to his death," he recalled. "I would stay up all night worrying whether I could have done anything to save his life."

Two-thirds of Stonefall's 1,000-plus graves are for Royal Canadian Air Force servicemen. Many died in the military wing of Harrogate Hospital.

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