Aliyah Bet & Machal Virtual Museum
North American Volunteers In Israel's War of Independence
Canadians & Americans Who Gave Their Lives
The Volunteers from Canada
(in the order in which they fell):
† George 'Buzz' Beurling
George 'Buzz' Beurling, 26, of Verdun, Quebec, May 20, 1948. Beurling was Canada's top fighter pilot of World War II. He and co-pilot Leonard Cohen, of Britain, were killed when the airplane they were preparing to ferry to Israel crashed at Urbe Airport near Rome. Buried in Haifa Military Cemetery.
Harvey Cohen & Edward Lugech
Harvey Cohen, 19, and Edward Lugech, 19, first cousins from Toronto, June 1948. They were with the First Battalion of the Palmach's Yiftach Brigade. They disappeared sometime during the first UN Truce, when their unit was at Sarafand, southeast of Tel Aviv, for rest and reorganization. It is believed that they were waylaid nearby by Arab irregulars. Missing and presumed dead.
Reuben Schiff, 22, of Toronto, July 11, 1948. A former Aliyah Bet sailor on the Paducah, Schiff was with a Palmach unit known as the “Beasts of the Negev.” He was killed near the village of Abu j'Ab in the Negev while looking for his comrade Lou Ball of the USA, who failed to return from an action the previous night. Buried Nachlat Yitzchak Cemetery, Tel Aviv.
Sidney Rubinoff, 22, of Toronto, July 17, 1948. A member of the Palmach, he was wounded during an attack against Latrun, on the road to Jerusalem, and died on the way to a hospital. He had participated in the battles of Nebi Yusha, Malkiya, Operation Danny, and the capture of Lydda and Ramleh. Buried Nachlat Yitzchak Cemetery, Tel Aviv.
Sidney Leisure, 19, of Toronto, September 7, 1948. He was in the 72nd Battalion of the 7th Brigade. He was killed in the battle for Tamra Hill, near Birya in the Galilee. Buried Nahariya.
† Leonard Fitchett
Leonard Fitchett, 25, of Vancouver, October 20, 1948. An ex-RCAF pilot, his Beaufighter was shot down by anti-aircraft fire while making a low-level attack against the Iraq el Sueidan police fortress in the Negev. Buried in Haifa Military Cemetery. The remains of his two crewmen, pilot Stan Andrews of the USA and navigator Dov Sugarman of Britain, were never found.
Wilfred Canter, Willy Fisher & † Fred Stevenson
Pilot Wilfred Canter, 27, of Toronto, navigator Willy Fisher, 25, of Winnipeg and co- pilot † Fred Stevenson, 29, of Vancouver, October 24, 1948. They had just taken off on a night supply run to Sdom on the Dead Sea when an engine caught fire. Their C-47 soon exploded in the air and fell to the ground near Ekron, south of Tel Aviv. Canter and Fisher are buried in Rehovot. Stevenson is buried in the Haifa Military Cemetery. Killed with them were navigator Leon Lightman of Britain, and Air Force supply officer Michael Wimers.
Ralph Moster, 24, of Vancouver, December 7, 1948. Commanding officer of the IAF's No. 1 Squadron, his amphibious Grumman Widgeon crashed into the Sea of Galilee. Killed with him were pilot Oliver Holton and mechanic Alvin Levy, both from USA. Buried in Nachlat Yitzchak Cemetery, Tel Aviv.
The Volunteers from the United States
(in the order in which they fell):
Bill Bernstein, 24, of San Francisco, July 10, 1947. Second Mate of the Exodus 1947, he was clubbed to death while resisting British efforts to seize control of his ship. He was the first of the American volunteers, and only Aliyah Bet seaman, to lose his life in Israel's struggle for independence. Buried Haifa.
Moshe Perlstein, 22, of Brooklyn, January 16, 1948. He was a Hebrew University student in Jerusalem when he joined the Haganah. He and 34 others were killed while attempting to bring supplies on foot to the besieged Etzion block of kibbutzim near Jerusalem. They posthumously became known as "The 35." Buried Mt. Herzl, Jerusalem.
Dov Seligman, 26, of the Bronx, January 19, 1948. He came to Israel as a seaman on the Aliyah Bet ship Wedgwood. He was in the Haganah Field Corps when killed at Kibbutz Ein Dor, Valley of Jezreel, by a sniper's bullet. Buried Ein Dor.
Ari Lashner, 33, of New York City, March 15, 1948. An ex-US Navy radio operator, he came to Israel as a crew member of the Aliyah Bet ship Norsyd. He belonged to the Haganah Field Corps when killed at Kibbutz Kfar Blum in the Galilee by a sniper's bullet fired from across the Jordan River. Buried Kfar Blum, Upper Galilee.
David Livingston, 29, of New York City, April 13, 1948. He served on two Aliyah Bet ships, Ulua and Pan York. He joined a Palmach unit after being released from Cyprus, and was killed defending Kibbutz Mishmar Haemek in the Jezreel Valley against a fierce attack. Buried Afula, Jezreel Valley.
William Gerson & † Glenn King
Pilot William Gerson, 35, and flight engineer † Glenn King, 31, both of Los Angeles, April 21, 1948. They were killed when their C-46, one of five being ferried to Israel, crashed while taking-off at Mexico City after one of its engines failed. They were the IAF's first casualties. Both are buried in Los Angeles.
Harold Monash, 24, of New York City, April 23, 1948. An ex-US Army officer, he suspended his studies at the Haifa Technion to join the Palmach. He was killed in an encounter with Arab irregulars near Jerusalem. Buried Kibbutz Kiryat Anavim near Jerusalem.
Jerome Kaplan & Mandel Math
Jerome Kaplan, 23, of Bayonne, NJ, and Mandel Math, 21, of Brooklyn, arrived in pre- state Israel on the same ship and promptly joined the Haganah. Both failed to return from an attack against Latrun, on the road to Jerusalem, May 13, 1948. They are buried next to each other in the Mt. Herzl, Jerusalem.
Moshe Geberer, 27, of New York City, May 17, 1948. A U.S. Army veteran, he arrived in pre-state Israel in July 1947 and soon joined the Haganah. He was felled by a sniper's bullet while on a scouting mission preparatory to the capture of Jerusalem's railway station. Buried Mt. Herzl, Jerusalem.
Moe Rosenbaum, 28, of Brooklyn, May 23, 1948. A World War II navigator and prisoner of war, he was with the IAF's Air Transport Command. His C-46, with its vital cargo from Czechoslovakia, crashed into a low hill several hundred yards short of the Ekron airfield runway near Rehovot while attempting a night landing in fog. He was the only casualty. Buried Rehovot.
Baruch Linsky, 27, of New York City, May 26 1948. He served on the Aliyah Bet ship Ulua. He enrolled at the Hebrew University following his release from Cyprus, and joined the Haganah after the UN resolution of November 29, 1947, to partition Palestine. He was killed at Kibbutz Hulda near Rehovot during a bombing attack by Syrian aircraft. Buried Haifa.
Jacob Klein, 32, of New York City, May 30 1948. A U.S. Army veteran and Haganah sapper, he had the task of preparing minefield defenses of Negev settlements in anticipation of a major Egyptian offensive. He was laying mines at Kibbutz Kfar Menachem when one blew up accidentally in his hands. Buried Hatzor, Upper Galilee.
Irving Sevin, 27, of Chicago, June 9, 1948. He was killed on a mountain trail while carrying Haganah orders from Kibbutz Mayan Baruch in the Hula Valley to Tsefat in the Upper Galilee on the day after its liberation. Buried Tel Hai, Upper Galilee.
David "Mickey" Marcus
David "Mickey" Marcus, 47, of New York City, June 11, 1948. A renowned ex-US Army Colonel who contributed much to breaking the siege of Jerusalem, he was killed accidentally near Abu Gosh on the road to Jerusalem by one of his own sentries. Buried West Point.
Lou Ball, 26, of New York, July 9, 1948. An ex-Paducah sailor, he was in the Palmach's "Beasts of the Negev" unit with his shipmate Reuben Schiff of Canada. He was killed during an action against the Iraq el Sueidan police fortress. Buried Nachlat Yitzchak Cemetery, Tel Aviv.
† Bill Edmondson
Bill Edmondson, 21, of Chicago, July 9, 1948. A non-Jew of Irish descent, he was killed in an ambush on the road to Jerusalem. He saw the Zionist cause as a continuation of the struggle against British imperialism. Buried Haifa.
Bob Vickman, 26, July 9, 1948, of Los Angeles. He was a veteran World War II fighter pilot. He failed to return from a mission in the El Arish region of the Sinai. It is believed that his Messerschmitt ME-109 plunged into the sea after being hit by anti-aircraft fire. Missing in action, presumed killed.
Joseph Kahn, 40, of Los Angeles, July 17, 1948. A US Army veteran, he arrived in Israel on the Altalena and joined the Irgun Zvei Leumi in Jerusalem. He was killed in the joint Irgun and Stern Group attempt to secure a foothold in the Old City of Jerusalem. Buried Mt. Herzl, Jerusalem.
† Spencer Boyd
Spencer Boyd, 25, of St. Louis, July 18, 1948. A veteran of both the RCAF and US air force, he and four of his seven passengers were murdered by passing Arab irregulars after his plane made a forced landing near Nabi Rubin, close to Rehovot. One passenger survived by playing dead. Two others had gone for help. Buried Haifa Military Cemetery.
Edward Troyen, 22, of New York City, July 19, 1948. A US air force veteran, he was an IAF maintenance mechanic at Ramat David Air Base. Although not obliged to do so, he volunteered for a flying mission during which he was wounded by enemy fire. He died next day in a hospital. Buried Haifa.
Stanley Andrews, 25, of Los Angeles, October 20, 1948. Born in the Bronx and Jewish, Andrews had been a World War II fighter pilot. He was on Len Fitchett's Beaufighter as an observer when it was downed by anti-aircraft fire as it attacked the Iraq el Sueidan police fortress. His remains, and that of British navigator Dov Sugarman, were never found. Missing in action, presumed killed.
Jack Shulman, 20, of New York City, October 21, 1948. After his US Army service, Shulman, returned to France, where he had been born. He soon continued to Israel as a volunteer and joined the Palmach's renowned French Commando unit. He was killed in the battle for Beersheba. Buried Nachlat Yitzchak Cemetery, Tel Aviv.
† Oliver G. Holton & Alvin Levy
Pilot Oliver G. Holton, 34, of Lakewood, Ohio, and mechanic Alvin Levy of Long Beach, New York, December 7, 1948. They were killed when their Grumman Widgeon crashed into the Sea of Galilee during a training flight. Killed in the same mishap were pilot Ralph Moster of Canada, and the cook of the IAF's Sde Dov base who had gone along for the ride. Holton is buried in the Haifa Military Cemetery. Levy is buried in Nachlat Yitzchak Cemetery, Tel Aviv.
Sam Pomerance, 38, of New York City, December 18 1948. An aeronautical engineer and licensed pilot, he was flying one of several Spitfires being ferried from Czechoslovakia to Israel when he encountered a blinding snowstorm and flew into a mountain in the Yugoslav Alps. Buried Nachlat Yitzchak Cemetery, Tel Aviv.
Philip Balkin, 19, of Los Angeles, December 27, 1948. Balkin was in an armored corps commando unit in the Negev. He was killed in the battle for El Auja during Operation Horev, the final campaign against Egypt. It was the last round of fighting of the war. Buried Nachlat Yitzchak Cemetery, Tel Aviv.
Jacob Rothman, 37, of Newark, NJ, December 31, 1948. A World War II Merchant Marine radio officer, he was on a commercial flight to Nice, France, on an Air Force assignment, when foul weather forced the plane to head for Rome instead. It crashed into a mountain near Rome. Buried Nachlat Yitzchak Cemetery, Tel Aviv.