Read about the

'We Were There Too' Battlefield Trip

to The Sommes and Arras

In mid-March of this year, 19 people participated in a 4-day London Jews in the First World War - We Were There Too trip to the Somme and Arras areas of the Western Front. In bitterly cold weather the group, led by project historian and battlefields guide, Paula Kitching, travelled across the region around Arras visiting Cemeteries where British Jews lie alongside their fellow servicemen.

Magen Davids were planted wherever a Jewish grave was found.

They went from Dud Corner to Bailleul Road Cemetery and visited war poet Isaac Rosenberg’s grave, from Notre Dame de Lorette to Serre, Newfoundland Park, Lochnagar Crater and Gommecourt British Cemetery where project volunteer Lola Fraser laid a wreath on her Great Uncle, Joseph Josephs grave, the participants learned about the tragedy of the first day of the Battle of the Somme and its legacy; the Battle of Arras and about the advances in warfare technology and the horrific loss of life on all sides of the conflict. The group then visited the Thiepval Memorial to remember those that remain missing in action, including 19 Jewish boys who fell on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, and at the Fricourt German Cemetery where respects were paid to German Jews who also gave their lives for their country. The final stop was at Vimy Ridge and the moving Memorial to the Canadian forces that fought and died in the region.

Lola Fraser said: ‘The visit to see the grave of my Great Uncle, 2nd Lt. Joseph Josephs was a hugely emotional experience; particularly when I discovered his name, written in Hebrew was not just Joseph but Abraham Joseph and that my father; his sister's son, had been named Abraham (Aubrey) after him.’

His record along with over 2000 others can be found on the London Jews in the First World War database:

https://www.jewsfww.london/joseph-josephs-423.php

The stories of each of the Jewish men whose graves were encountered on the trip will be researched and added to the Personal Record archive on www.jewsfww.london

We will remember them and we will remember that We Were There Too.

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