Chelsea Women’s manager interviews Jewish veteran to honour ‘hidden heroes’

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Chelsea Women’s manager interviews Jewish veteran to honour ‘hidden heroes’

Emma Hayes spoke with Ruth Bourne, who joined the Women’s Royal Naval Service in 1944 before transferring over for ‘special duties’ at Bletchley Park

Emma Hayes interviewing Ruth Bourne
Emma Hayes interviewing Ruth Bourne

The manager of Chelsea Women’s football team interviewed a Bletchley Park recruit as part of a project to honour ‘hidden’ Jewish heroes of the war effort.

This comes after a fixture between Chelsea Women and RAF Women – dedicated to the around a thousand British Jewish women who served in the UK forces during the Second World War – was cancelled due to coronavirus.

It was due to be played as part of the club’s partnership with the Royal Air Force Museum and the ‘Hidden Heroes’ project, which seeks to raise awareness of the vital roles played by Jewish personnel in the RAF during the Second World War. The remarkable stories of three Jewish women – Muriel Byck, Hannah Scenes and Vera Atkins – have also been highlighted through a publication issued as part of the initiative.

Manager Emma Hayes spoke with Ruth Bourne, who joined the Women’s Royal Naval Service in 1944 before transferring over for ‘special duties’ at Bletchley Park, which was the UK’s code-breaking site, and is often credited with shortening the war and saving millions of lives.

Emma Hayes said: “Through our partnership with the RAF Museum, we are committed to sharing the important story of the critical role the Jewish personnel played in winning the Second World War” she said.

“While it’s disappointing the Remembrance match cannot take place, it’s important we still share these fascinating stories such as Ruth’s, as they offer a powerful window to the past, through which we can make links to today and use their stories to inspire future generations and ensure their legacy continues.”

Maggie Appleton MBE, CEO, Royal Air Force Museum said: “The stories of these exceptional Jewish women are an inspiration to us all. Their determination to stand up to fascism and contribute to a future that was free from hatred and discrimination is a legacy we all have the responsibility to live up to.

“Their future is our present, and the Royal Air Force Museum is delighted to work with Chelsea FC to ensure we share – and strive to live up to – their brilliance.”

In January 2018, Chelsea Football Club launched a ‘Say No To Antisemitism’ campaign, with the support of owner Roman Abramovich.

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