Commemoration held for victims of ill-fated 1941 British-Palmach mission

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Commemoration held for victims of ill-fated 1941 British-Palmach mission

Representatives from AJEX laid wreaths and said kaddish for those who died in Operation Boatswain and honoured British Jewish Agent Lionel Lee who was killed by the Nazis

Standard Bearers including Brian Bloom representing AJEX with the new AJEX National Standard (Antony McCallum, Wyrdlight Photography.)
Standard Bearers including Brian Bloom representing AJEX with the new AJEX National Standard (Antony McCallum, Wyrdlight Photography.)

Wreaths were laid and kaddish was said last Sunday for 23 victims of an ill-fated British-Palmach mission in 1941.

Representatives from the Association of Jewish ex-Servicemen and Women (AJEX) paid respects to those who died in Operation Boatswain, a failed mission conducted jointly by the elite arm of the Haganah in Mandatory Palestine and the British Army.

The operation unsuccessfully tried to sabotage oil refineries in Tripoli, before a boat containing 23 Palmach commandos was lost at sea.

During a ceremony at Brookwood Military Cemetery, AJEX’s Brian Bloom and Mike Bluestone also honoured British Jewish agent Lionel Lee.

He was captured and likely executed at Gross-Rosen concentration camp in 1944.

Invited by The Secret WW2 Learning Network and the Last Post Association, the names of the 23 victims were added to the Addenda panel of the Memorial to the Missing. Lee, who was awarded the Croix de Guerre by the French government, was also commemorated on the memorial.

AJEX Chairman Mike Bluestone lays the AJEX wreath at Brookwood Military Cemetery and Brian Bloom holds the AJEX National Standard. (Antony McCallum, Wyrdlight Photography.)

During the event, a message was delivered by AJEX archivist Martin Sugarman, who campaigned for the memorials to take place.

Lionel Lee.

National chairman, Mike Bluestone , said: We were honoured to be invited to take part in these meaningful commemorative events.

“It was equally very moving to see the names of Jewish World War 2 heroes added to the memorial, and I felt proud and privileged to recite Kaddish for the fallen.

“Seeing our AJEX National Standard paraded alongside those of other representatives rounded off two very special and memorable ceremonies’.


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