Bio: I am a chartered clinical psychologist and independent military historian specialising in the first world war.

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  1. Dear Dr Hodgkinson
    I have just read ‘Glum Heroes’ (twice!) and want to thank you for it; and I am also fascinated by your blog, and grateful for the Great War resources on your internet site.
    I’m busy trying to write a biography of my great-uncle (Harry Levy, (1892-1917, 1st Bttn. DCLI) who enlisted on 22nd August 1914 and was killed at Broodseinde on 4th October 1917. Your exploration of the coping strategies of the British soldier, based on values which are very different to ours, answered many of the questions which arose about his life – and death – in the trenches.
    But Harry was an East End Jewish lad, and I would be really interested to know if during your research you came across any material which threw a specifically Jewish light on the subject: in your chapter on religion, for example, you mention only the Christian denominations. I’ve read the article by Anne Lloyd in your Resources section, but she deals with the history of the community, rather than with the psychology of the individual soldier. Were there any specifically Jewish references among the letters and memoirs you used in your research? For example about kosher food, religious observance and Jewish burial? Were individual Jews accepted on equal terms as ‘mates’ when they served in overwhelmingly Christian units?
    I have no letters by or about Harry, and no photograph of him. He has no known grave: my wife and I hope to pay our respects to him at Tyne Cot at the end of this month at the commemoration of the centenary of Passchendaele, so I am especially eager to learn as much about him and his way of life as possible before we leave. Not having easy access to English-language archives and libraries makes this quite difficult, so I would be very grateful for any pointers you could give me about specifically Jewish coping mechanisms during the Great War.
    I hope you don’t think this is a chutzpah, and understand of course that I must do my own research – it’s just that it would be very helpful to be pointed in the right direction.
    With sincere thanks for any help you can give
    Derek Stavrou
    Kfar Sava, Israel


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