AJEX reunites families with more than 100 lost or overlooked war medals

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AJEX reunites families with more than 100 lost or overlooked war medals

Historical campaign to preserve the legacy of Jewish service launched in June 2023 has discovered a a Cyprus General Service medal and a WWI Military Medal

Jake Goodman wearing his great grandfather's war medals.
Jake Goodman wearing his great grandfather's war medals.

A campaign by AJEX, The Jewish Military Association has reunited more than 100 lost or overlooked war and service medals with Jewish families.

The organisation launched its ‘Family Medals’ campaign in June and to date, has identified and returned 118 medals across 49 sets to grateful families, ensuring the enduring legacy of Jewish service. Eight additional cases are still being investigated.

The ongoing ‘Claim Your Medals’ campaign encourages individuals to delve into their family histories, research and claim their family’s well-deserved medals.

Natasha and Jake Goodman. Jake is wearing the medals of his great grandpa Charles Gershuny who commanded a minesweeper in the Royal Navy. His medals were stolen and replaced by AJEX.

A personal quest by AJEX member Paul Hyams, a retired RAF veteran with an illustrious 31 years of service to uncover his family’s military history, led him to a remarkable discovery.

After finding a photograph of his grandfather, Harold Crozier Hyams, he realised that his grandfather would have been entitled to WWI medals as well as the WWII medals he was photographed with.

Harold Crozier Hyams

Thanks to the AJEX medals campaign, Paul was not only reunited with his grandfather’s WWI medals, but also his Commonwealth War Graves headstone, ensuring that the legacy of his grandfather’s service would continue to be honoured.

Paul said: “I am honoured to have served Queen and Country in the RAF for 31 years, and now my honour is doubled by having my grandfather’s medals.

Paul Hyams with his and his Grandfathers medals. Pic: AJEX

“His WWII medals were sent to my Bubbie posthumously as he died in 1945 and came to me through an aunt. He was commissioned into the Army Pay Corp during WWII. His WWI medals were lost so I had replicas made. He was in the Durham Light Infantry.

Eli with his Dad at the 2022 AJEX Parade where they were first time Paraders to continue their family legacy.

“The main reason I researched his WWI medals was because the only military photo I had of him was from WWII and he was wearing ribbons before WWII ended so they must have been from WWI. I then found his Medal award document in the archives on the internet. I did not know my Grandfather as he passed in 1945.  However, the medals are a blessed memory and I will honour him by wearing them at the AJEX parades”.

Commonwealth War Graves headstone of Harold Crozier Hyams

When Elliot Goodman’s father Bernard Goodman recently visited from Israel, he passed on the medals of great grandfather Mick Goodman, who served as a Batman during WWII.

Elliot will now march for the first time in this year’s AJEX parade with sons Jonah, Aaron and Jake who will be wearing their other great grandfathers medals.

AJEX National Chair, Dan Fox said: “As the number of Second World War and National Service veterans dwindles, their families and direct descendants continue to cherish their legacy through AJEX.

“The organisation hopes that many more first-time Parade goers will proudly march wearing these medals at the Annual Remembrance Parade & Ceremony on November 19th, 2023.

Elliot Goodman and his father Bernard Goodman

“Whether you need new ones or have the originals, let’s showcase the Jewish Community’s medals with pride and clarity. Medals are some of the most personal and iconic artifacts of military service. For individuals and their families, they are markers of commitment and bravery.

“As a community, they are collective badges of honour and pride in the Jewish contribution to our nation. It has been so meaningful to help families reclaim medals and learn more about their family history from newly discovered service records and paperwork too”.

Medals returned to Paul Hyams.

The campaign has unearthed remarkable finds too, including a WWI Military Medal, a BOAR commemorative medal, a Cyprus General Service medal, and a Commemorative Medal of the Czechoslovak Army Abroad with VELKA BRITANIE bar.

There is still time to reclaim medals for November’s Parade. For those interested in acquiring replica medals, AJEX has negotiated discounts with medal minters. Visit www.ajex.org.uk/medals for instructions, including discount codes. For the full list of medals awarded by the UK click here.

To book tickets to Parade on Sunday November 19th visit: www.ajex.org.uk. There is no ticket required to spectate.

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