History Students Interview Danny Yank

Danny Yank is a Jewish serving Staff Officer at Army Headquarters. He attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and then joined the Royal Artillery, learning how to operate a variety of weapon systems, including Artillery, precision strike missiles, drones and radar. In his career he deployed on active operations to Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as training in a plethora of other countries including the Falkland Island & South Georgia, all over the USA, and various countries in the Middle East and Asia. In total, he has been to about 40 countries in his role as an Army Officer.

Danny volunteered to be a part of Commando forces and passed the selection to do so. He was then selected for further training and completed the military Parachutist course to become an Airborne soldier. He is very likely the only serving Airborne Commando Jewish member of the British Armed Forces.

Danny said that he has moved home 13 times, including living all over the UK and abroad.

The boys asked Danny a variety of questions:

Gabriel E. – ‘How do you deal with mental health problems?’ Danny told us that in the British Armed Forces they are very good with trauma management. People can get help and there isn’t a negative stigma attached to needing support.

Gabriel E. – ‘How does it feel if your friend is shot dead?’ Danny explained that under his command, some soldiers have been killed and seriously injured. He said that this was really demanding but it’s important to continue with the mission, keep the soldiers focussed and make time to grieve at a later date.

The boys also asked about how easy it is to keep Shabbat and Kosher when you are deployed to a war zone. Danny explained that it is really easy to keep Kosher but it is difficult to keep Shabbat because the 7 days a week nature of the job. When your rank is higher keeping Shabbat maybe more manageable because you have more control over your time.

The best question came from Yonatan S. – ‘What made you want you want to become a soldier?’ Danny was inspired by his grandfather (Manny Yank) and his uncle (Arthur Anderson) and other elders who had seen action in The Second World War. He once happened to meet an Arnhem Veteran from the Second World War on a bus journey and this cemented his decision to become a soldier himself. The man he sat next to was a paratrooper who jumped into Arnhem, liberated Bergen Belsen and fought all the way to Berlin. His story was amazing. He went on to join the SAS.

We are really grateful to Danny for taking time out of his day to speak to us. It will be lasting memory for the boys.

Written by Mrs L Yaros