‘James Bond tame com­pared to Jack’

World war spy one of hun­dreds pay­ing re­spects

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Will Ack­er­mann will.ack­er­mann@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

A REAL-LIFE James Bond fig­ure and a fel­low war veteran were among the hun­dreds who paid their re­spects to the na­tion’s war dead last week.

Be­tween 600 and 700 peo­ple gath­ered on Tues­day, Novem­ber 11 at the North­wood War Memo­rial, in Green Lane, in­clud­ing Jack Mann and Cyril Sher­wood, both long-stand­ing mem­bers of the North­wood & Pin­ner Lib­eral Synagogue (NPLS).

The pair, both aged 92, laid wreaths at the mon­u­ment, as did guides, scouts, stu­dents and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of other lo­cal or­gan­i­sa­tions.

Dur­ing the Sec­ond World War, Mr Mann was part of a team that car­ried out spe­cial mis­sions in Africa, Greece and Italy.

The team was es­tab­lished by Win­ston Churchill in re­sponse to the de­feat on main­land Europe in the win­ter of 1939. Its mem­bers were the first ‘de­ni­able’ se­cret op­er­a­tives to strike be­hind en­emy lines, mean­ing that, if caught, the Bri­tish gov­ern­ment could deny all knowl­edge of them.

The team’s story has been turned into a book ti­tled Churchill’s Se­cret War­riors, which has been ded­i­cated to Mr Mann. Pro­duc­ers from around the world are vy­ing for the rights to turn the story into a film.

Mr Sher­wood was a young of­fi­cer serv­ing in North Africa dur­ing the war.

He last laid a poppy wreath for The As­so­ci­a­tion of Jewish Ex- Ser­vice­men and Women (AJEX) at the Armistice Day pa­rade in 1942, at El Alamein, in Egypt. The ex­pe­di­tion proved to be a vi­tal turn­ing point in the war.

NPLS vice-pres­i­dent Brian Sass said the sto­ries of both vet­er­ans made yes­ter­day’s ser­vice es­pe­cially poignant. Re­fer­ring to Mr Mann, he added: “Ap­par­ently James Bond is quite tame by com­par­i­son.”

The event was or­gan­ised by the Ruis­lip branch of the Bri­tish Le­gion and at­tended by Nick Hurd MP and the com­mand­ing of­fi­cers for all branches of the ser­vices based at the North­wood Head­quar­ters, among other dig­ni­taries there to re­mem­ber those who died for their coun­try.

A Royal Navy mil­i­tary band and a bu­gler played the Last Post as clergy of all faiths stood to­gether for the oc­ca­sion as the na­tion fell silent. Rabbi Lea Mühlstein, from Ger­many, con­cluded the ser­vice with the Pri­estly Bless­ing in He­brew and English.

Go to www.getwest­lon­don.co.uk for a gallery of pic­tures.

Jack Mann (left) and Cyril Sher­wood

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