Bravery of British PoWs who made human shield around Jewish soldier

Mail Online | 3/20/1945 | Rod Ardehali For Mailonline
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The extraordinary moment British PoWs formed a human shield around a Jewish soldier to stop him being taken by the Nazis has come to light in a new book.

Corporal Alec Jay was captured at Dunkirk in 1940 and taken a notorious German prison camp.

Afternoon - Prisoners - Football - SS - Officer

One afternoon, while the prisoners were playing football an SS officer arrive, stopped the game and shouted out: 'Where is Alex, the Jew?'

The British soldiers formed a protective ring around him and told the Nazi he would have to 'shoot them all' to get to him. A tense stand-off ensued and the German guards carrying machine guns eventually backed down.

Story - Light - Cpl - Jay - Son

The remarkable story has now come to light after Cpl Jay's son John discovered his late father's memoirs and has published them in a book 'Facing Fearful Odds'.

His father never spoke of his wartime experiences although in his final years he began to write his memoirs before abandoning the project.

John - Financier - Transcript - Mother - Typewriter

John, a 61-year-old financier, discovered the transcript which had been typed out on his late mother's typewriter in a plastic bag while sorting through her belongings following her death.

He said: 'In recent years I have often puzzled over why my father began yet abandoned his memoir.

'Perhaps - Demons - One

'Perhaps he began because he felt he could finally confront his demons; perhaps he stopped because he felt no one would be interested; perhaps it was too painful.

'After the surrender, my father faced fearful odds because he was imprisoned by a regime dedicated to exterminating his race.'

Cpl - Jay - Clapham - Common - Stock

Cpl Jay was born in Clapham Common in 1919 and worked on the stock exchange before the outbreak of war.

He was a Bren gunner in the Queen Victoria Rifles who although vastly outnumbered held out for four days against two German Panzer divisions during the siege of Calais.

Rearguard - Soldiers - Enemy

The crucial rearguard of 3,000 British soldiers against an enemy...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Mail Online
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