On Holocaust Memorial Day

Assuage my pain, and renew my youth as the eagle’s. Vouchsafe wisdom unto the physician that he may cure my wound, so that my health may spring forth speedily. Hear my prayer. Prolong my life, let me complete my years in happiness, that I may be enabled to serve thee and keep thy statutes with a perfect heart. The Jewish Prayer for the sick and wounded

Henry Bloom was born in Stockton-on-Tees in 1889 and was a practicing solicitor in Middlesbrough before the war. He joined the Durham University Officer Training Corps (OTC) in late 1914 and was commissioned into the 12th Battalion of The Yorkshire Regiment (as the Green Howards were called at that time).

Lt. Bloom was the battalion’s Machine Gun Officer Battalion and he sailed with them to France on 1st/2nd June 1916.

In early 1917 the battalion was employed on road repairs and defensive works in the Rancourt area and it was here, on St. Valentine’s Day 1917 that Henry Bloom was killed by artillery fire. The War Diary for the day simply reads ‘All work in progress. Lt. H. Bloom killed in ABODE LANE.’

Henry Bloom lies in Guards’ Cemetery near Combles; he is also remembered on the Middlesbrough War Memorial as well on a memorial tablet in The Prayer House on Ayresome Green Lane.

Phil LevyPhilip Levy (known as ‘Phil’) was born in Sunderland but his family lived in Middlesbrough. Little is known of Private Levy, but he was killed in action five days before the Armistice.

On 6th November 1918 the War Diary notes: 9th Yorks Regt. formed advance guard. A Coy under Capt. W. L. Blow vanguard. Slight opposition along main road. One troop cavalry and two armoured cars operated with us. Held up by M.G. fire on left and right of road before MAIRBAIX. MARBAIX occupied by A & C Coys about 1400 hrs. had a running fight with enemy but could not come in close contact with him. 5 prisoners and eight M.G. taken in MAIRBAIX. Enemy shelled village slightly about 1600 hrs. Outpost line taken up outside village.

Philip Levy was wounded during this action and later succumbed to his wounds. He was 21 and he lies in Busigny Cemetery.

An article in The Jewish Chronicle noted his death and paid testament to his life and character: Phil Levy liked a busy life. He loved his work and spoke fondly about the coloured prospects of his career. In addition to a high sense of duty, he had many personal charms; not the least were his modesty and calm dignity. His death will be a dreadful blow to his widowed mother, who looked to the approaching manhood of her son with growing confidence and hope, and whose affectionate devotion was a consoling support to her. May the almighty enable her to bear this grievous loss!