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New plaque unveiled in Anglesey to record Jewish ancestry of Welsh war hero

27 May 2021 3 minutes Read
The new plaque unveiled to Admiral Max Horton

A new plaque recording the Jewish heritage of a Welsh naval hero has been unveiled at the base of his statue on Anglesey.

Admiral Max Horton, who served in both World Wars, was born in Rhosneigr in 1883.

Horton was previously commemorated by a small plaque in the local library. In 2019, a statue of him was erected in his hometown on Anglesey, initiated by local Councillor Gwyneth Parry. Neither mentioned Horton’s Jewish heritage.

The new plaque came about when, in 2020, the Archivist of The Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women of the UK (AJEX ), Martin Sugarman, in London, contacted Mr Klinger to point out that the inscription failed to say anything about Horton’s  Jewish heritage.

Mr Sugarman said, “The Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women of the UK (AJEX, also known as the Jewish Military Association), are very proud of our war hero Admiral Max Horton.”

The new plaque now points out Admiral Horton’s other ethnic heritage and has been added at the foot of the statue.

It was funded by American historian and philanthropist, Jerry Klinger, of the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation.

Tactics

Admiral Max Horton was born in 1883 in Rhosneigr, Anglesey, Wales, son of Robert Angel Horton and Esther Maude Goldsmid of the famous D’Avigdor-Goldsmid British-Jewish family.

In 1898 he joined the Royal Navy as an officer cadet and soon won a bravery award for rescue operations at sea.

At the beginning of WW1, he commanded a submarine and by the end of the war, he commanded the British overseas Submarine flotilla serving in the North Sea and Baltic and winning three DSO medals for sinking several enemy ships.

He also initiated the tradition of submarines flying the ‘Jolly Roger’ flag on returning after successful patrols. A Captain of various battleships by war’s end, he was soon promoted to Vice-Admiral in 1937, commanding the Reserve Fleet, and then to Rear Admiral commanding all British submarines.

The statue of Admiral Max Horton in Rhosneigr

As WW2 began, he created Atlantic Convoy rescue ships to pick up survivors from U boat sinkings, with fully equipped hospital facilities and naval surgeons, and then in 1942 became a full Admiral in what was to be his most important wartime role –  Commander-in-Chief, Western Approaches.

He not only introduced new tactics to increase the defence of convoys but also created the fleet of hunter ships to destroy the U boats, and so in the opinion of many historians and Winston Churchill himself, saved Britain from certain defeat in the Battle of the Atlantic, by keeping open the food, munitions and troop supplies coming from North America.

He asked to be retired in August 1945 and received not only the GCB but a dozen other high-level foreign awards from allied nations. He died in 1951 and there is a memorial to him in Liverpool Cathedral.

It is planned that the new plaque and statue will be included in the forthcoming map of Anglesey’s Jewish History currently in production by Bangor University and Menter Fachwen.

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stuart stanton
stuart stanton
17 days ago

Great story, Gwyneth introduced me to it while helping with research into the war memorials of the parish. The names of the men on these are worth looking at.

Benjiman Angwin
Benjiman Angwin
17 days ago

Diolch yn fawr. Da / Good. We need do to more for Wales’ Jewish community.

Mandi A
Mandi A
17 days ago

Shame about the photo of the statue, it makes him look haggard. Terry Macdonald’s sculpture has brought Admiral Max’s achievements to the notice of many people and made a peaceful corner where people like to sit. He looks out over the sea in all weathers, as it should be. Max’s Jewish heritage was not mentioned previously because he didn’t mention it, as many Jewish people prefer not to. This plaque has been installed with no community consultation. The intent was honourable but the Admiral has been used to promote someone else’s agenda. The inscription reads “Honoring British Commonality and Diversity”… Read more »

DEVRA
DEVRA
17 days ago
Reply to  Mandi A

I take your points about consultation, the Welsh language etc and think that’s fair. However we need to disassociate the fact that Admiral had Jewish heritage with the issue of Palestine and the actions of the modern state of Israel. This linking of all Jews and Israel is precisely what fuels racism and anti-antisemitism, The area should be proud of the fact that his success and his heritage can be openly celebrated.

Mandi A
Mandi A
17 days ago
Reply to  DEVRA

Thanks, yes, think local.

Mandi A
Mandi A
17 days ago
Reply to  DEVRA

This linking of all Jews and Israel is what makes a person Jewish.

martin sugarman
martin sugarman
17 days ago
Reply to  Mandi A

How do you know what Max Horton said in private or public, about his Jewish heritage? Were you there Mandi? I think not. Do you think he denied his mother’s Jewishness? I think not. The only person in this e mail trail with an ‘agenda’ is you, not the initiators or the wonderful Cllr. Gwyneth; and as a famous Jewish MP once said to me, ‘anti-Semitism is hard to prove but it stinks like hell’. How do you know that Jewish people ‘prefer not to mention’ they are Jewish? I always make a point of letting people know whenever and… Read more »

Mandi A
Mandi A
17 days ago

P’nawn da Mr Sugarman, you have saved me the trouble of writing to you as I had intended. I think you had better stop right there. 1 As a community member here of many years standing, I was involved in saving our library and from that, we set up exhibitions including research into Max Horton. My partner is very knowledgeable on 20th century military history specialising in naval matters and we possess a large and comprehensive library. 2 I have not at any point suggested that there was anti-Semitism, I prefer the term anti-Jewish, within our community. My concern was… Read more »

Mandi A
Mandi A
17 days ago

Having followed your ‘conversation’ with MandiA I am waiting for your profound apology!

Mandi A
Mandi A
17 days ago

I must caution you on your choice of language for any future public conversation with my partner Mr Sugarman!

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
17 days ago

The whole world thinks they can ride roughshod over Ynys Mon! Re: Trip hazard who would be responsible?

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