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Purity of Arms

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Boris Bressloff  E-mail

Boris BressloffI joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) in 1941 and trained in Canada as a navigator.  On completion of my training, I was commissioned, eventually flying 53 operations with the Pathfinder Force.  When the war ended I was posted to India and until my demobilization in 1946, I commanded the headquarters of the RAF Movement Control, Southern India.

Like so many ex-servicemen, it was difficult to settle down to civilian life.  I tried several unrewarding jobs and reluctantly returned to my pre-war occupation as a hairdresser.

When the War of Independence started, I read that ex-Nazis were offering their services to the Arab forces, no doubt to continue their late Fuhrer’s work.  That was enough for me: I volunteered for the Israel Defense Forces.

I traveled to Israel through the camp at Grand Arénas in France, where I embarked on the Pan York, arriving in Haifa in September 1948.

After a brief spell at Sarafand to accustom us to Hebrew commands and methods, I joined 69 Squadron IAF at Ramat David.  I flew 20 operational missions with them as a navigator.  Later, the squadron moved to Ekron.  When the fighting was over I flew a couple of trips with 109 Squadron, to supply an army unit in the Negev.  I also did a stint as an instructor at the first school for IAF cadets.

It was at Ramat David that I had the good fortune to meet my wife Nita.  She was the squadron secretary and we married after a very brief courtship.  Nita, a Habonimnik, had also arrived in Israel as a volunteer at about the same time as I, and was training for the Chen at Sarafand when Baron Wiseberg, who was commanding 69 Squadron at the time and was a family friend, got her transferred to the IAF and to Ramat David.

When the squadron moved to Ekron, the conditions there were bad.  Nita suffered some very debilitating attacks of gastro-enteritis.  We decided that we would have to return to the U.K. for the sake of her health.

During the thick of the fighting, an Israeli said to me, “Everybody leaves something in Israel, either his heart or his body.” I certainly left my heart.


Author:  Boris Bressloff