Tragic soldiers are honoured

ANNIVERSARY: Charles Seramber's gravestone on Mount Scopus

THE life of Charles Seramber was remembered in a ceremony on Mount Scopus, Jerusalem, 100 years after his death.

Charles, of Stockport, served in the Jewish Legion during the First World War, as part of the 38th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers.

At the start of October 1918, his battalion, under the leadership of Colonel John H Patterson, made an arduous journey on foot from the Jordan Valley to Jerusalem, escorting Turkish prisoners of war.

But many soldiers became ill with malaria, including Charles. He died of malaria on October 8, 1918, and was buried in the British War Cemetery on Mount Scopus.

The son of Abraham and Bertha Seramber, he was born in Poland in 1879 and had two siblings — Louis and David.

The Seramber family emigrated to London shortly after. He married Rose and had two children, Nathan Abraham and Gertrude Morris. He moved to Stockport in 1911.

His army career saw him sent to then-Palestine, participating in the campaign to conquer the area from Turkish rule.

He fought in battles on the way to Nablus and in the campaign in the Jordan Valley.

To earn a living, widow Rose sold lace on Stockport market.

His story is memorialised in the Jewish Legion Museum (Beit Hagdudim) in Avichayil, Israel, as well as in the Yizkor book of the Jabotinsky Institute, and in John Patterson’s book With the Judaeans in the Palestine Campaign.

The memorial service was preceded by worldwide archival work to document the biographies of the fallen Legion members, whose life stories were mainly unknown, by a group known as Giving a Face to the Fallen.

Closer to home, First World War casualty Private Lewis Magnus Cohen was honoured on Sunday by members of the Royal Regiment of Scotland Scottish Reserve Infantry Charlie Company, 6th Scots Battalion, at Glasgow’s Garnethill Synagogue Western Necropolis Cemetery.

After Garnethill Bal Torah Stanley Kaye recited the memorial prayer, each member of the Battalion guard of honour laid a stone at Private Cohen’s grave, to the strains of the regimental piper.

The event was organised by company commander Major Scott Menzies and Garnethill life president Bernard Goodman. Also attending were Garnethill Shul congregants and representatives of the Highland Light Infantry Veterans Association.

The Scottish Jewish Archives Centre has provided information on Private Cohen. He was born in Dundee, in 1894. He came from a Garnethill family and his father was a hatter.

He worked as a solicitor’s clerk and volunteered to serve his country. He was shot in the arm in France and returned to Scotland where he was treated at Stobhill Hospital. After six months, on May 11, 1916, he died from tetanus.

An estimated 1,500 Jews in Scotland served in the British forces in the First World War and SJAC has compiled a list of 126 who gave their lives.

* Anyone with information on relatives of Private Cohen, should email

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