This week AJEX have visited both schools to run workshops with the Year 9 History students. We were visited by Paula Kitchen (education officer at AJEX), veterans Leonard Stern (National Serviceman) and Frank Ashleigh (Fighter pilot during World War II) and Jonathan Kober (telling Jack Lewis’ army story). A range of activities helped all of the students to learn about the first-hand experiences of these Jewish Veterans.

The last activity consisted of three presentations by the students. This is an extract from the excellent presentation by Shua, Chananya, Ami and Shaul:

“Frank Ashleigh was born in 1924 and grew up in London. He volunteered for the British Army on his 18th birthday in 1942. He was part of the Glider Pilot Regiment.

Training lasted six weeks. The first exercise of the day before breakfast was a 5 mile run for 1 hour wearing full equipment. He had to wake up at 5:30am every day and had to know how to use every German and British weapon. He also trained in hand-to-hand combat.

Ashleigh worked as a glider pilot in the battle of Arnhem in September 1944. Field Marshal Montgomery planned to capture the bridge over the Rhine from Holland to the Ruhr, the industrial area of Germany to stop German production. His glider plane landed safely and discharged four soldiers, a jeep and two trailers. He volunteered for a reconnaissance mission. He and the three others including one officer went to a place swarming with German soldiers. They hid in a church, went up to the roof and went for four days with no food. There was a window and each day they would go up and down, firing a few shots. The Germans didn’t know they were there. A German then came into the church. The officer stood up and got shot in the stomach. He went down and the Germans found out where they were and ordered them to come down. The three remaining soldiers disabled their weapons and went down. They were taken to a camp until the end of the war. They were taken on an 87-mile march for 17 days to another camp until they were rescued by the Red Army and were sent back to England.”

Thank you to the History Department for organising these very important visits, and to the veterans- it is such a privilege to have them visit us at Hasmonean.