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Hyman Lush "Hymie"

Born:
21 Kislev 5651 (03 December 1890)
Died:
1979

Basic Information

Unique reference:
LUS7701
Other surname:
Lushinsky, Lushinski or Luszynski - the spellings vary
Gender:
Male

Birth

Date of birth:
21 Kislev 5651 (03 December 1890)
Place of birth:
Plotzk, Poland
Date arrived in Britain:
1906

Death

Date of death:
1979
Died in combat?:
No

Places

Addresses

Hyman lived with his grandmother, Fanny Lushinski:
79 Stoke Newington Road London (1913)
Hyman lived with his grandmother, Fanny Lushinski:
141 Newington Green Road London (1911)
Hyman lived with his grandmother, Fanny Lushinski:
Settles Street London (1909)
Hyman lived with his grandmother, Fanny Lushinski:
154 Commercial Road London (1907)

Other Organisations

Name:
St John Ambulance
Significance:
Hyman was a dedicated member of the St John Ambulance before the war. Because of his first aid skills, he volunteered for the Royal Army Medical Corps as soon as the war broke out.
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Personal Journey map
Hyman Lush
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Hyman and German patients at Aldershot

Hyman served as a medical orderly in the RAMC. He served initially at Connaught Hospital, Aldershot, where he worked with wounded German prisoners. A photo (see Gallery) shows Hyman with other RAMC staff and Germans around 1914-1915. Hyman is the central kneeling figure in the front row.

The photo is signed by all, which testifies to the friendly relations between the medical staff and their German patients despite the rising anti-German sentiment in Britain.

In his diary, Hyman recorded how he acted as unofficial interpreter (he was probably mostly using Yiddish), helping the officers and clerks to record the Germans' particulars when they arrived in the hospital hut. He was kind to the Germans, chatting to them and buying them chocolate and cigarettes, and many of them signed his autograph books with friendly messages.

A Polish tailor finds himself serving in the British army in Mesopotamia - questions of Jewish identity

By Dean Lush

My grandfather, Hymie Lush, was born in Plotzk in what is now Poland in 1890 and died in London in 1979. He came to England in 1906. He became an active member of the St John Ambulance and when war broke out in 1914 he volunteered for the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC).

He served as a medical orderly until December 1919 (finally being discharged in 1920), seeing service in Aldershot, Mesopotamia and the North West Frontier.

It is remarkable to consider Grandpa, a recent Jewish immigrant from Poland, serving as a British soldier in these far-away and alien places, and to reflect on all that this would have meant for him. The many documents and photographs that he kept from the period shed a fascinating light on his experiences. They cover, for example, two particular episodes which relate to questions of Jewish identity.

First, during WW1, the Tsarist government strove to track down many of the Jews who had left Russia to recall them for military service. Grandpa secured exemption as he was by this time a naturalized British subject serving in the British Army, but other Jews were in a more difficult position. Grandpa’s brother, who had not become naturalized and was involved with the Jewish trade union movement, met with the then (Jewish) Home Secretary, Herbert Samuel, to discuss the problem.

Secondly, Grandpa made many visits to the Jewish community in Basra, Mesopotamia. There he encountered an “Oriental” Judaism at once strange and familiar. Here are some quotes from his letters home:

16/04/17 “I have been down to Basra on pass… the last day of Passover… although I am only a private one of the richest Jews in Basra sent his private landau to take me back to the hospital…[My host and his brother] showed me round the town. Then [we went] to a coffee shop (Jewish) where they all congregate & play [backgammon?] regardless of it being Yomtof. I was struck with their disregard of religion.”

23-4/04/17 “Then one thinks here I am thousands & thousands of miles away from home, & yet I can find more than one roof to shelter me & food… even sleeping accommodation provided free of charge & feel absolutely at home. I have been told the other day by a Christian friend, that Jews help one another more than gentiles. I now believe it is true (didn’t then) for can a gentile find the same hospitality I doubt it.”

12/12/17 “For New Year we got two days leave… [and went into Basra and participated in] a quaint custom in vogue here. Instead of our custom of going to the synagogue after meals to say Psalms & Mincha, the Jews here congregate in a friend’s (generally better off than his neighbours) house… In the shady part of the courtyard a group of men & boys are sitting singing Psalms. Those of us who could read Hebrew joined in. In a few minutes time I suddenly noticed that I was the only one reading the Psalms, & that all the others had stopped & were listening, evidently curious to hear how a European pronounces the Hebrew. I read on… two pages & still the others made no effort to begin so I told the Persian Jew, as best I could make him understand, that I am not a Chazzan, would he mind reading now.”

Family

Spouse

Bessie Tabor (female)
Other surname / Maiden name:
Tabrisky
Country of marriage:
UK

Children

David Lush (male)

Siblings

Isadore (or Isidore) Lush "Isie" (male)
Benjamin Lushinsky (male)
Jacob Lushinsky (male)
Mendel Lushinsky (male)
Malcia Lushinsky (female)
Shimme Lushinsky (male)

Parents

Mother: Yachethet (i.e. Jocheved?) (female)
Father: Zelig Lushinsky (male)

Homefront

Occupation:
Tailor

Military Record

Military service:
Royal Army Medical Corps
Military record no.:
27367
Date enlisted/conscripted:
13 October 1914
Date discharged/death:
31 March 1920
Rank at discharge/death:
Private
Invalided out of service:
01 January 1914
Returned to service:
01 January 1914
Assignments
Regiment:
Royal Army Medical Corps
Posting:
Connaught Hospital, Aldershot 1914-1916
Mesopotamia - 1916 onwards, incl. B.C.D. Mohammerah, Persia 15.12.17-20.1.19
North-West Frontier, India 1919-1920

Gallery

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London Jews in the First World War - We Were There Too

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