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Thread: Palestinian (Israeli) Pilots

  1. #1
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    Default Palestinian (Israeli) Pilots

    Dear all

    I have a Sergeant Pilot who served with 41 Squadron in 1945-1946 named Aharon Remez, who was born in Tel Aviv and went on to command the fledgling Israeli Air Force in 1948. His family believe he may have been the only Palestinian to have successfully completed training and become a fighter pilot with the RAF during WWII.

    Does anyone know if this is true, or know if any other Palestinians served with the RAF between 1939 and 1946?

    Thanks
    Steve
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946
    http://brew.clients.ch/41sqnraf.htm

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    Steve,

    There have been more:
    George Ernest Goodman, born in Haifa, pilot in Battle of Britain and Western Desert; later President of Israel Ezer Weizman, born in Tel Aviv, was in the RAF in India.

    Obituary of Weizman on http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article385281.ece
    speaks of a score of recruits from Palestine who earned their RAF wings....

    Regards,

    Leendert

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    Thanks Leendert

    I have passed this on.

    Steve
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946
    http://brew.clients.ch/41sqnraf.htm

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    Goodman was British, just his family was employed in Palestine when he was born. Another Palestinian was Klibanski, who later flew in IDF as Modi Alon.

  5. #5
    Rod Guest

    Default 'Volunteers in Blue'

    Hi Steve,

    there is a book that potentially answers your question. I'm presuming that the relatives may read Hebrew, because that is the language of the book:

    'Volunteers in Blue' (English title), by Yosef Shavit
    ISBN: 965-05-0792-2
    1995, Ministry of Defence, Israel

    This work is a study of Palestinians/Israelis who served in the RAF. The Appendices list (in English) 2,645 Palestinian men and women who enlisted in the RAF from within Palestine and Egypt between 1940-1945. While these appendices are excellent, they only detail the classification upon enlistment (i.e. they don't indicate the results of any aircrew training).

    These appendices are ordered by service number, and show: service number, name, rank on enlistment, trade/classification upon enlistment, date of enlistment, place of enlistment, date of discharge. Assigned service numbers range between (men) 774100-775999, 769400-769528, and (women) 2992001-2992616.

    The main body of the book (completely in Hebrew) does detail members of aircrew.

    I don't know if the book details RAF service by any Palestinians who enlisted outside of Palestine/Egypt.

    There are wide-ranging a number of books in both English and Hebrew that contain details on Palestinian Jews serving as aircrew in the RAF.

    What is certain is that there were many Palestinian Jews who flew operationally during WWII. so the families' claim is not strictly correct...

    Cheers

    Rod

    PS - Aharon Ramez is pictured in the cockpit of a Spitfire, as a F/Sgt, between pages 96-97 of the book. No doubt, he is mentioned elsewhere in the text.
    Last edited by Rod; 8th June 2008 at 00:32. Reason: Additional information

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    Thanks Franek and particularly Rod

    Rod, this is a great help, thanks. I'll pass this information on because, as you correctly assume, the family reads Hebrew. In fact, they still live in Israel. In regard to the number blocks you mention, Remez is slightly different as his number was 605523, but this is clearly as he joined the RAF in Canada.

    Thanks
    Steve
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946
    http://brew.clients.ch/41sqnraf.htm

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    Brian Raises was killed with 601 Squadron in 1942, and home given as Tel Aviv:

    http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=1282286
    Last edited by thorne83; 8th June 2008 at 16:06.

  8. #8
    Rod Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Brew View Post
    Thanks Franek and particularly Rod

    Rod, this is a great help, thanks. I'll pass this information on because, as you correctly assume, the family reads Hebrew. In fact, they still live in Israel. In regard to the number blocks you mention, Remez is slightly different as his number was 605523, but this is clearly as he joined the RAF in Canada.

    Thanks
    Steve
    Hi Steve,

    thanks for the reply. I picked up my copy of the book in Israel, possibly at Halperns second-hand bookshop on Allenby Road in Tel Aviv.

    I didn't find Remez's name in the book's listing, so I assumed that he must've joined up outside of Palestine.

    Dan Tolkowsky, who commanded the IAF after Remez, was another 'Palestinian' who joined the RAF outside of his home country. He enlisted while studying in London and went on to fly Spitfires on the Western and Mediterranean fronts.

    As has already been mentioned by Franek, Modi Alon flew Spitfires in the RAF (and would ironically be killed while flying a Czech version of the German Bf109 for the IAF).

    Cheers

    Rod

    PS - other books that may be of interest to the relatives:

    'No Margin for Error', by Ehud Yonay
    'Israel's Best Defence', by Col. Eliezer "Cheetah" Cohen

    Both of these books were published in the 1990s, in both Hebrew and English, while I'm sure that many more have come out since then..

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    Actually Alon/Klibanski flew Mustangs with 112 Shark Squadron.

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    Default Lili Bankier

    Rod,

    Welcome to RAFC, sounds like you are just the sort of man we need - at least I do.

    Could you tell me if there is an entry for Lili Stefania Bankier please? I know she was born in Lodz and managed to escape from the Germans in about September 1939. Her Service Number was 2992592, which made me think she could have enlisted in the WAAFs in 1944. She was a LACW when she was killed in an aircraft accident on 22 July 1945. It is believed her unit at the time of death, was 23 Forecast Unit, Lydda.

    I'd really appreciate any additional information that is listed in the book. I suppose my other question would be 'Were there any other Bankiers?'
    TIA
    Brian

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