by Rosalyn Livshin
Every year, Reverend Brodie reads out the names of all those, who fell in the two World Wars, who belonged to or were connected with our congregation. The names are always familiar especially to those who have been attending Stenecourt for a number of years. But they are just names with little else known about the people behind the names. Hence the reason for this article, which will focus on four people with known relatives living in Manchester, some of whom belong to Stenecourt.
Flying Officer Harold Louis Jacobs DFC
Harold Louis Jacobs was born in 1922 in Bellott St, Manchester to Ettie and Nathan Jacobs. Nathan had come from Roumania at 18 and had married an English born girl, Ettie Glass. They had three children, Gus (Wilkins) born 1913, Vera (Raynes) born 1916 and Harold, their only son. In 1927 the family moved to 100 Scholes Lane, Prestwich and Harold attended Kings Rd Primary School and Stand Grammar. With the outbreak of war he volunteered to train as a pilot for the RAF and he flew in Coastal Command and in bomber raids over Germany. On one such raid a Lancaster dropped a bomb on the wing of Harold’s plane and he and the navigator managed to fly the crippled plane back to Britain. As a result of this achievement he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. He was then posted to the Middle and Far East. In a letter written from India on 18 November 1943, Harold wrote
“At long last I have received some mail from you……I am pleased you received some of my mail…..from the Middle East and ….from India.
I expect you are all rather bucked at me getting the DFC. I did not know about it until yesterday. Actually I was not very surprised as I had learnt I had been put up for a gong (medal) by my old squadron. However it is quite a nice thing to have and we will have a trip to Buckingham Palace when I get back to England. What a lark! I am pleased to say I am keeping very fit. I can’t praise the climate too much, it is just perfect…. I will certainly be able to tell (his nieces and nephews) some interesting things when I get home as I have certainly seen a bit of the world recently. I was in Calcutta again the other day for a few hours but I was on duty and not able to do much….
Love to you all, regards to the family.
As a postscript he wrote a little note to his brother in law David Wilkins, a past President of Stenecourt.
I drew 4 cards at Poker the other night and they were all Aces. Cigars are a penny each here but brill cream is 10/6. What a country!”
This was the last letter the family received. Harold was killed in action on 26 Jan 1944 when his Lancaster crash landed during a test flight of the plane at very high and very low altitudes. He was buried in Kirkee Military Cemetery, near Poona, India. He never did go to the Palace to receive his DFC.
Private Norman Apfelbaum
Norman Apfelbaum was born in 1913 to Jane and Isidore Apfelbaum. Isidore had emigrated from Cracow and married English born Jane Kenner. Isidore imported bentwood chairs, grand pianos and later became a diamond merchant. They had 6 children, Mark (Arnold), Basil, Sadie (Pollock), Lily (Brunert), Bertha (Abel) and Norman. Sadie’s daughter is Doreen Kershner, a member of Stenecourt. The family lived in Fenney St and then moved to a big old house in Wellington Street before the war. Norman, the youngest son, joined the Pioneer Corps and was sent to guard enemy aliens who had been interned in the Isle of Man. In the summer of 1940 it was decided to ship groups of these internees to Canada and Norman was to guard them on board ship. He was one of 200 officers and men of the British army on board. The SS Arandora Star set sail from Liverpool on 30 June 1940 without escort or convoy. She carried 712 Italians and 478 Germans as well as the soldiers and 174 crew. On the 1st July, she was pursued and on 2 July she was hit by a torpedo below the waterline and sank at 7.40am. 10 of the 14 lifeboats managed to save some of the passengers but the ship sank with many still on board. In total 586 were saved out of 1,216. Norman was not one of them. He was one of the 37 army guards who died. He was buried in Carnmoney Jewish Cemetery in Belfast.
Lieutenant Philip Silvert
Phil was born in 1916 in Manchester to Barnett David Silvert and Sophie nee Freizeit. The couple had emigrated individually from Lithuania and Russia and had married at the United Synagogue in Manchester. Sophie Freizeit was an aunt of Neville Fraser. The couple had 7 children, 6 of whom survived infancy. There were 4 boys and 3 girls, Jean (Carlick), Hymie, Phil, Sadie, Lily, Jack and Sidney. Phil attended the Jews School and then spent a little time in London studying. He returned to Manchester to enter the family business. His father was a grocer/greengrocer with a shop (Silverts) on Leicester Road, where Halperns is today.
Phil was conscripted into the army and served in England. He joined the 4th company, 716 Battalion Royal Army Service Corps (Airborne Division) and was sent to France for the D-day invasion on 6 June 1944. He was one of many soldiers who did not survive the day and was buried in Ranville Military Cemetery, 7 kilometres outside Caen in Normandy.
Sapper Victor Bailey
Victor Bailey was born c 1923 to Eva and Harry Bailey. Eva and Harry were married in Poland, where their first child was born in 1912. Harry came over to England in 1913 but his wife and child were prevented from joining him until after the First World War. The family lived first in London and then moved to Manchester. Victor was one of 6 children, 3 boys and 3 girls, Phil, Hymie, Victor, Hannah (Barrett), Toby (Beilis) and Nita (Selwyn). His sister Hannah Barrett was the mother of Harvey Barrett. Victor was possibly a cutter after he left school, working with his brothers Phil and Hymie in P & H Bailey Ltd, Weatherproof Manufacturers. His father was a baker.
Victor was conscripted into the army and saw active service and the end of the war in Europe. Due to a minor ailment he was not sent to fight Japan with the rest of his battalion. Whilst still serving with the Army of Occupation in Germany he was involved in a motor accident in which his truck skidded. The others in the truck were shaken but unhurt, but he, being very tall, banged his head on a bar, fractured his skull and died. He was buried in Standort Lagvett, Munster, Germany, on 16 August 1945, aged 21.