Jewish ex-serviceman awarded France’s highest honour for Normandy role
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Jewish ex-serviceman awarded France’s highest honour for Normandy role

IMG_4942
Mervyn proudly displaying his medal with a beaming smile

A Jewish ex-serviceman who took part in the Normandy landings was this week awarded France’s highest honour for his role in liberating the country during World War Two. 

Mervyn Kersh, 90, who lives in Cockfosters with his wife Betty, was awarded the Chevalier of The Order of the Legion d’Honneur, only 16 months after French President Francois Hollande first promised it.

“I’m not sure what took so long. I think they’re waiting for us to die off!” he said at home this week, after receiving the solid gold insignia, which he will wear in public on Sunday, as he leads the march at the Royal British Legion National Remembrance Parade in Whitehall together with 11 other Veterans.

ARMY DAYS01
Mervyn as a young man in the army

In a personal letter, the French Ambassador said: “As we contemplate this Europe of peace, we must never forget heroes like you, who came from Britain and the Commonwealth to begin the liberation of Europe by liberating France.” 

Mervyn’s daughter Lynne this week said the whole family was proud, as she looked forward to Sunday. “He has attended these Parades at the Cenotaph every year since the War and will continue to do so, as he is as fit as a fiddle and as bright as a penny!”

The letter
The letter
IMG_4945
The medal

Asked how he felt about receiving the award, Mervyn said: “I’m deeply honoured, especially given that I can’t even ride a horse.”

Mervyn, who turns 91 next month, is president of AJEX’s Southgate branch, but grew up in Brixton Hill, enlisting at the age of 18 along with his brother, who led the RAF’s medical service in Iraq. After the war, in 1946, the two brothers hitch-hiked to Cairo and smuggled themselves into Israel for Pesach.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments