NATIONAL NEWS
Sister was unable to listen to First World War songs after death of her hero brother

HERO: Lieutenant Ezra Hyman

BY SIMON YAFFE

SUNDAY is Armistice Day, which marks 100 years since the end of the First World War.

And for Ruth Daintree, the day will have extra poignancy.

For, on November 1, 1918 - 10 days before the Great War ended - her uncle, Lieutenant Ezra Hyman, died of wounds received during the Allied Hundred Days Offensive on the Western Front, while serving with the 11th (Service) Battalion (St Helens Pioneers) of The South Lancashire Regiment, attached from the 3rd Gloucesters.

He had entered the war in the London Regiment but, in December, 1917, received commission as a second lieutenant.

Lieutenant Hyman, who was just 24, is buried in Roisel Communal Cemetery extension, on the Somme, in France.

"I have always known that I had an uncle whom I never had the opportunity to meet," said Ruth, of Whitefield, Manchester.

"What happened to him hits me worse as I have become older, probably because he never had the chance to become old. He also looked like my mother, which may also have something to do do with it."

Lt Hyman was raised in London, one of eight children born to Rebecca and Morris Hyman.

Ruth's mother, Bertha, was one of his sisters.

His grandfather, Rabbi Abraham Spier, served as minister at Plymouth Hebrew Congregation.

Following Lieutenant Hyman's death, one of his sisters wrote to the hospital in France, which looked after members of the British Expeditionary Force, to ascertain how he died.

A letter came back from the nurse to tell her there were no details, apart from the fact he died of his wounds.

"Ezra didn't initially have a Jewish headstone," Ruth said. "One of his sisters visited the cemetery in the 1950s and was horrified to see that he had an ordinary headstone, so it was changed.

"My grandmother never really got over what happened to her son.

"My mum was Ezra's favourite sister and she was unable to hear any First World War songs without becoming extremely upset, as she was so close to him."

Lt Hyman's parents later moved to Manchester and Morris Hyman was a founder member of South Manchester Synagogue.

Today used as a Jewish students' centre, there is a large, stained-glass window dedicated to Lt Hyman, which faces where the ark used to be.

Ruth, 88, added: "This is the time when Ezra should be remembered and the wider public should know just how many Jewish soldiers served in the British army during the First World War.

"It is important because of the way things are at the moment."

Meanwhile, Mike Stoops, of Manchester, is looking for more information about his maternal great-uncle, Sergeant Jackson Stahl.

He lived at 1 Bellott Street, Cheetham, Manchester, and was killed in action on September 23, 1917. He is buried at the Oxford Road Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery, near Ypres, in Belgium.

Born in 1887, Sgt Stahl's parents were Miriam and Alfred Stahl, and he had two brothers, Maurice and Henry.

A member of the East Lancashire Regiment's 7th Battalion, he worked as a journalist.

* If you have any details about Sergeant Stahl, phone 0161-741 2631 or email newsdesk@jewishtelegraph.com


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