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The British Jewry Book of Honour


British Jewry, before, during and after the War was a diverse community or, more accurately, a collection of communities. Pre-war immigration meant that the Jewish presence in London and across the UK, was made up of a number of nationalities and linguistic cultural identities. 

In 1914, Jewish individuals and families in Britain ranged across the social spectrum, with some completely integrated into British cultural life and others maintaining a distinct Anglo-Jewish identity. All of this meant that when War broke out the Jewish volunteers, and later conscripts, would become part of the British Forces mainly according to their national status and the places they were living in, and not necessarily due to their religious or ethnic status (with the exception of a few battalions of the Royal Fusiliers raised in 1917, known as the Jewish Legion).

Following the War, it was decided to create the British Jewry Book of Honour to bring together information about the British Jews who had served in British and Colonial forces during the First World War.

Reverend Michael Adler, who was the first Jewish chaplain to serve in HM Forces, edited the Book. It was published in 1922 and contains the names of approximately 50,000 Jews. The Book describes Jewish enlistment, casualties, military honours, Jewish Units, the work of Jewish hospitals and where possible, other Jewish institutions and agencies. Using military and public sources, there are alphabetical lists of those killed in action, those who were awarded military honours and the nominal rolls of Jews who served; all listed by service and by regiment. The Book includes some indexed photographs of individuals, if they were supplied at the time by family members. As part of the concept to ‘honour’ those that served, the Book also contains letters of support and acknowledgment from distinguished men of the day, both Jewish and non-Jewish. The Book is a testament to what British Jewry wanted to show to the wider British society as well as a record of its contribution.

Click here to go the Book. Take a few moments to read some of the interesting short articles at the beginning. You can use the search facility to find someone. Do not worry if you cannot find them, the book is not comprehensive.

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

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