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  #1  
Old 21-04-15, 08:52 AM
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Default WW I: Jewish Legion

Did all Battalions of the Jewish Legion wear the Star of David as a formation sign?

http://www.jewisheastend.com/jewishlegion.html

"Sam Geller - brother in law of Joseph Gladstone, 38th Battalion Royal Fusiliers."
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  #2  
Old 21-04-15, 10:33 AM
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I can't remember the details. the RF battalions wore different coloured stars on the sleeves.
There are posts re. these badges. I think. on GMIC and Wehrmact-awards.
This photo of a R Fusilier is dated 1919.
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Last edited by leigh kitchen; 21-04-15 at 11:37 AM.
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  #3  
Old 21-04-15, 11:00 AM
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I just found this photograph.

http://cjhn-andi2.andornot.com/en/Li...+Jewish+Legion.
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  #4  
Old 21-04-15, 11:35 AM
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The link to a thread on Wehrmacht-awards, and some photos from it. The threadention the use of yellow, red and blue stars and that manufacture not just colour can identify.
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File Type: jpg Fusilier & Turk in caps resize.jpg (66.8 KB, 30 views)
File Type: jpg Fusilier no cap resize.jpg (70.3 KB, 27 views)
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  #5  
Old 21-04-15, 12:27 PM
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The three Jewish battalions of the Royal Fusiliers used:
38/Royal Battalion: purple
39/Royal Battalion:red and
40/Royal Battalion: blue.
RW
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  #6  
Old 21-04-15, 12:29 PM
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Just 'cos I have this image, I'll post it (from digger history site) and a link to a short discussion about it:
http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/foru...d.php?t=193436
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  #7  
Old 21-04-15, 12:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rolfi View Post
The three Jewish battalions of the Royal Fusiliers used:
38/Royal Battalion: purple
39/Royal Battalion:red and
40/Royal Battalion: blue.
RW
Ah. I'd been told yellow was one of the colours. although I think that may have been "can't quit remember. think these were the colours" info to me.
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Old 21-04-15, 01:14 PM
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The Jewish Legion in the Great War

Born out of the Balfour Declaration and the stubbornness of a few determined Jews both in the United Kingdom and in Palestine the Jewish Legion was raised late in the Great War and almost strangled at birth by the efforts of an unsympathetic HQ Middle Eastern Forces.

Recruiting started in August 1917 and resulted initially in the raising of the 38th and 39th Battalions of the Royal Fusiliers. The 38th Bn consisted largely of British volunteers, as well as members of the former Zion Mule Corps and a large number of Russian Jews. The 39th - which mustered the following year - was made up almost entirely of Jews who were resident in the United States and Canada.

In Palestine itself and following Allenby's successful campaign in Palestine local Jews flocked to the colours including 92 men who had been serving in the Turkish army and were captured early in the campaign. This group made up the 40th Bn. The 41st and 42nd Bns formed the Regimental Depot in England. All the soldiers who enlisted in the five Bns received regimental numbers with a J prefix.

Only the 38th and 39th Bns reached the front before the cession of hostilities and many members of the 41st & 42nd never left England. There are thus a number of sole awards of the BWM.

After the war the vast majority of the Jewish troops were demobilised, with just one Bn retained for internal security work in Palestine. As a final bit of spite HQ MEF concealed from the Bn for 12 months the fact that it's name had been changed to 1st Judeans and that it had been granted it's own distinctively Jewish cap badge.

1st Judeans was demobilised in 1920 - which by coincidence is the birth year of the Haganah - and the unit is widely regarded as the grandfather of today's IDF.

A good reference is Colonel John Patterson's With the Judeans in the Palestine Campaign which has been reprinted recently. He commanded the Zion Mule Corps in Gallipoli and the 38th Bn RF in Palestine.

J-4707 Corporal Jacob APTEKMAN
39th Battalion Royal Fusiliers
1st Judeans
Royal Air Force

Jacob Aptekman was born on 15 August 1895 in Azov in the Don Region of Russia, the son of David and Deborah. His early upbringing was not Jewish but rather he grew up in close proximity to Cossacks and from them, learned how to ride horses and use weapons. His father died when Jacob was about five years old, and he was sent, without his mother, to live with an uncle in the city of Koban in North Ossetia. After a few years, his sister's husband told him about the Jewish settlements being established in Palestine and that they were looking for people like him who knew how to handle horses and weapons. He was 18 years old when he decided to go.

In order to avoid the limit placed on Jewish immigration to Palestine by the Ottoman Turks he bought a set of papers from a Gentile named Mamanov. He seems to have used the two identities at the same time throughout his life but retained his original name for his British Military service. He was then instructed to report to an address in Odessa.

Traveling there by train from Koban took four to five days after which he was put up in a hotel with a group of young people destined to be part of the Second Aliyah, or wave of pioneers to Eretz Israel that began in 1904 and ended in 1914. Once a few dozen would be immigrants had been gathered they sailed for Jaffa – a six-day voyage. It was 1913 when he reached Palestine.

Jacob settled first in Rishon Le Zion just south of Jaffa. Founded in 1882 by Russian Jewish immigrants, Rishon Le Zion was the second Jewish farm colony established in Palestine. He initially worked the vineyards of Rishon le Zion and Rehovot, then with cattle in Gedara but in due course he was employed as a watchman in Rishon Le Zion – an innocent enough term that says more than appears at first sight.

In 1907 some of the early Jewish immigrants to Palestine decided to band together for self-protection. As a result the Bar-Giora – named after a Jew who fought the Romans in about 70AD – was formed in 1907. In 1908 the name changed to HaShomer – or Guild of Watchmen – which in turn was one of the groups that made up the HaGanah in 1920. Members received some rudimentary military training and wore something approaching a uniform of rather Arabic appearance.

With the outbreak of the Great War in 1914 the Turkish Government declared the HaShomer an illegal organisation and many members – including Joseph were moved from town to village, as they were needed and always just a step ahead of the Turks. In Petach Tikvah they lived 18 to a room before moving to Hadera and then on into Galilee and through Wadi Ara to Tel Adashim and on again to Yavne'el where he stayed for a year and a half. Conditions there were very bad, their clothes were patched, they used sacks to protect their legs while on guard in the mud and the rain and slept on straw covered by their ‘Abaya. When attacks took place in the area they were moved as needed to protect Jewish settlers.

Finally the Turks caught up with Joseph and he was conscripted as a labourer and worked on paving the road from Mascha (today Kfar Tavor) to Tiberias and later on the road from Rosh-Pina to Safad. Conditions, he said, were very hard – no clothes, no food except a loaf of bread and a cup of lentils without salt or oil each day. Finally a small group of five or six deserted and moved to Degana and Tazemach where they rented a room and found work sawing wood for Turkish train locomotives

A further move took them to Poria where they guarded to almond and apricot orchards until after the harvest when they moved to Kineret and worked on the land removing stones. Working alongside them was A D Gordon, one of the revered founding fathers of Jewish Socialism.

Following a spy scandal involving an alleged British agent named Yossef Lishansky the Turkish hunt for HaShomer members was intensified and Jacob was arrested along with others. They were initially held in Jerusalem but later while they were being transferred to Damascus Jacob and some 17 others broke out, chased away their guards and escaped. They initially hid out in the mountains where local Jewish girls fed them. As the English army approached they approached them but were initially arrested as spies. They were taken to Ramla and later released.

Jacob went back to work as a guard in the orange orchards of Rishon Le Zion but when recruiting started for the Jewish battalions of the Royal Fusiliers he joined up.

The soldiers of the 38th and 39th Battalions of the Royal Fusiliers were almost entirely Jews from Britain, Russia, America and Canada. The 40th Battalion was composed of Jews from the Ottoman provinces of Palestine and other areas; they included some 90 Jewish ex-prisoners of war from the Ottoman Army. Jacob’s enlistment is dated 16 June 1918 and he gave his mother, Deborah Cherokow, of Vladikavkas, Russia, as next kin. He was initially allocated the number 1228, subsequently changed to J-4707.

Private Aptekman was initially posted to the 39th Bn and only transferred to the 40th on 1 December 1918 after the war was over. He was appointed unpaid Lance Corporal on 28 of February 1919 and granted paid rank on 25 of July that year.

On 4th of November he was posted to the 38th Bn and on 30th of April 1920 was appointed paid acting Corporal. The 38th was retained on local duties in Palestine after the remainder of the Jewish Legion was disbanded. It name was also changed to 1st Judeans. However it was itself disbanded in 1920 and on 27th December Jacob again became a civilian. Coincidentally this is the year the HaGanah was formed.

Jacob’s address on discharge was given as Segal Colony, Rosh-Pinna near Saffed in Galilee. Rosh Pinna was founded in 1882 by group of Romanian Jews as the first lasting settlement in the Galilee. The settlement was named Rosh Pinna, or cornerstone, after Psalm 118:22: "The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner."

Following a major clash in 1920 between Arabs and Jews at the settlement of Tel Hai Jacob moved there. In 1922 he was sent to the Borochov workers settlement which later became a suburb of Tel Aviv – here he was charged with recruiting and training members of the Jewish underground force – the Hagonah.

In 1921 Jacob married – or at least formed a formal liaison - with Chaya Zoltolovsky, a girl he had met on the boat to Palestine in 1913. Many Jews of their generation were rejecting the traditions of their European ancestors to create a new kind of Jew, a fighter who also tilled the land. Many marriages were simply publically announced agreements to live together and share what they had.

The couple were among the very first founders of the HaShomer moshav or agricultural settlement of Tel Adashim in the Jezreel Valley but also lived in other HaShomer settlements in Galilee, Kfar Giladi and Tel Hai. Jacob may well have been involved in the defence of all these places. His first son, Yitzhak was born in Safat in 1922.

The following year the family moved briefly to Jaffa/Tel Aviv where Jacob joined the police. He served the Tel Aviv police for three years and was involved in the defence of Jaffa and Jerusalem during the Arab riots.

His second son, David, came along in 1923, and in 1926 the whole family returned to Tel Adashim where Jacob remained a farmer until his death in 1970. In 1934 Jacob and Chaya separated, and Jacob formed a liaison with Miriam Glik from Haifa.

His grandson, Avinoam Mamanov, says that from all the stories he has heard from his father and people who knew his grandfather he can form a picture of the man who was Jacob Aptekman Mamanov. He says he was physically very strong, absolutely independent and not especially sociable, though he had a lot of close friends in the moshav. He played a small accordion or garmoshka at social gatherings and was considered by all to be the mukhtar or leader of the moshav. Mukhtar, he says, is an Arabic term, adopted by the Jews to depict the natural leader of a village but not an elected position.

But that was not the end of Jacob’s military career. It seems certain that he continued to be involved in some of the unofficial military activity of the period between the wars and running up to the Arab revolt of the late thirties. In later life he wore a pin awarded to the "Defenders of the Jezrel Valley" otherwise known as the Special Night Squads.

But in 1940 a further opportunity presented itself. The Battle of Britain was raging and the Royal Air Force withdrew hundreds of ground crew from squadrons based in the Middle East and replaced them with locally enlisted airmen, among them Jacob Aptekman. He was allocated the service number 774989, which is from a block of numbers allocated to local Middle East enlistments. He gave his first name as Yakob, the Hebrew version of Jacob.

Jacob enlisted in the RAF on 23rd of July 1940. Just a few days earlier – on the 14th he had taken the precaution of legally marrying Miriam, or Marina as the RAF would have it. At the time of his enlistment he was described as 5ft 5in tall with black hair, frown eyes and a fresh complexion. His occupation is listed as farmer.

His initiation into the RAF was at RAF Ramleh – which is today Ben Gurion International Airport. On 30th of August 1940 he joined 70 Squadron, a long serving Middle East Command unit which when he joined was operating Valentia 1 bomber-transport aircraft and was based at Heliopolis near Cairo. The Valentia was a clumsy bi-plane aircraft from another age, no match for any modern Axis aircraft it might have come on. It could carry up to 25 fully armed troops and gave sterling service lumbering around Arabia and North Africa.

In September 1940 the squadron was re-equipped with the modern Wellington 1C and moved to Kibrit airfield. On 18th September 70 Sqn commenced operations in North Africa in support of the 8th Army. It remained at Kibrit until September 1942 and thereafter moved forward to a whole series of airfields as the army advanced into Libya and Tunisia.

On 15 November 1943 the squadron was relocated to Djedeida, an area about 20 miles west of Tunis which comprised of two airfields, designated Djedeida No 1 and 10 miles to the north, Djedeida No 2.These airfields put industrial targets in the North of Italy, such as Genoa, Turin and Milan within easy reach and reduce the need of mounting targets by Bomber Command from the UK.

Finally in December that year the unit moved to Cerignola in Italy on the east coast between the heel and spur of the Italian boot remaining there until dispersed in October 1945.

Meanwhile in the London Gazette of 2nd of June 1943 Cpl Y Aptekman is listed as having been awarded a Mention in Dispatches. He’s just one in a very long list of RAF, SAAF and RNZAF officers and NCOs and it seems likely the award was for service rather than gallantry. He would have been 48 years old.

Throughout his RAF career Jacob was employed as an Armourer and although appointed unpaid acting Corporal almost as soon as he joined he was not finally appointed to the rank – and paid – until 1944.

The war in Europe ended on 8 May 1945 and in July that year Jacob was on the move. He reported to 54 Personnel Transit Centre on the 8th and on the 23rd he was officially back in Palestine at Ramleh air base.

However in the meantime he surfaces in the Palestine Post of 15 July 1945 in which he’s named as one of “seven locally enlisted Palestine Jews who were released under the Demob Scheme in Ramleh on Tuesday” after five years service – the men’s trades are noted as including” electricians, armourers, clerks, instructors and aircrafthands”. It’s also noted “a goodish supply of equipment – shoes, pullovers, shirts, underclothing, socks, towels, gloves. Kitbags, brushes, trousers, toilet articles, etc. – may be kept by the released airmen”.

Following the Second World War Jacob went back to farming. But that was not the end of his military life because during the 1948 War of Independence he volunteered for service the nascent Israeli Air Force. He was then 53 years old.

This old warrior died in Tel Adsham in 1977 at the age of 82. Miriam followed him in 2000.

Avinoam writes: “He was not a warm, genial person. I do not think he was the best father, certainly not according to today's standards. My father worked very hard as a child, suffered hardships, but so did most of the children of his generation in the outlying farming communities. I was fortunate in that my father decided to raise his children differently.”

Primary Sources:
Jacob Aptekman. WW1 service record
Book of the Second Aliya – autobiographical memoir. ND c 1925?
Jacob Aptekman. WW2 RAF service record
The London Gazette
Encyclopedia of the Yishuv Pioneers and Builders. ND
Memoir of Avinoam Mamanov (Grandson)
Palestine Post files
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File Type: jpg 1st Juds Off Sil.jpg (63.0 KB, 19 views)
File Type: jpg First_judean_flag.jpg (32.5 KB, 19 views)
File Type: jpg Jacob Aptekman.jpg (43.2 KB, 27 views)

Last edited by Eddie Parks; 21-04-15 at 01:21 PM.
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  #9  
Old 21-04-15, 02:38 PM
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Is Aptekman one of the men in the above photos?

Did all units of the Jewish Legion wear the star insignia on the sleeves?
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Old 21-04-15, 03:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leigh kitchen View Post
Is Aptekman one of the men in the above photos?


The first photograph shows Jacob Aptekman circa 1940.

The second photograph with medals shows Jacob Aptekman circa 1963.

Leigh click onto this website:

http://www.jewishgen.org/JewishGen/T...13January.html
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File Type: jpg Jacob and Miriam Aptekman c. 1940rev.jpg (36.6 KB, 18 views)
File Type: jpg Jacob Aptekman c. 1963rev.jpg (33.1 KB, 11 views)
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Old 21-04-15, 03:27 PM
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Had a quick look - interesting. I'll have a closer read on desk top rather than squint at the phone.
I meant was this man one of those in the photos posted earlier. hence the info re. him.
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Old 21-04-15, 03:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leigh kitchen View Post
Did all units of the Jewish Legion wear the star insignia on the sleeves?


Photographic evidence shows the members of the 38th Battalion and 40th Battalion wore the Star of David on their sleeves.

http://ssns.frontiersd.mb.ca/SeniorY...oorevitch.html
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Old 21-04-15, 03:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rolfi View Post
The three Jewish battalions of the Royal Fusiliers used:
38/Royal Battalion: purple
39/Royal Battalion:red and
40/Royal Battalion: blue.
RW

rofli:

Do you know what color blue and what color purple?

This photograph Leigh posted appears to show a yellow or light color Star.
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File Type: jpg Fusilier no cap resize.jpg (70.3 KB, 13 views)
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  #14  
Old 21-04-15, 05:01 PM
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Yes, it appears light, but yellow would show dark in photos of the time, as would light blue?
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Old 21-04-15, 08:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leigh kitchen View Post
Yes, it appears light, but yellow would show dark in photos of the time, as would light blue?
No.

Interpreting colors from black and white photographs isn't easy, but it can be done. WW II nose art photographs is a good way to learn since you can have color photos and b/w photos of the same plane.

Look closely at these two Jewish Legion portraits. They clearly show light and dark Stars being worn. The background colors of the tunics really emphasize this.
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File Type: jpg Fusilier no cap resize.jpg (70.3 KB, 14 views)
File Type: jpg Jewish Legion World War One Sam Geller Jewish Legion (1).jpg (36.5 KB, 15 views)
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