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Ashe Lincoln

by Abdulla S. Dangoor

Not long after my acquaintance with Ashe Lincoln, I took my nephew, Richard Moshi, who was then called to the bar, to seek his advice as to which Chamber he should join. For many years, Ashe was a pillar of the community and privy to its problems. It was Mr Creditor, the Editor of a Yiddish paper who confided in him that he only consented to his daughter's marriage to Hugh Gaitskell, leader of the Labour Party, on condition that Mr Gaitskell be circumcised. He personally took him to hospital to have the operation performed. Mr Lincoln joined the Royal Navy in 1939 and played a great part in the detection of mines and torpedoes, and helped in the recovery of one of the first magnetic mines. He then volunteered for the commandos and took part in the allied landing in Salerno. He later, was one of the first British officers to cross the bridge at Renagen on the Rhine, the only bridge left standing after the Germans had blown up the others.

After a distinguished war service, he aspired to become a Tory member of Parliament but was thwarted by crude anti-Semitism. He withdrew as prospective candidate as some of the then members of the constituence association were anti-Semitic. In fact, one member resigned in protest. In the 1945 election, even Mr Macmillan was unscrupulous in his utterances. "Do you want to see dark faces across the benches?" he asked the electorate. "The overwhelming majority of rich people in Britain," he declared, "were Jews and Armenians." When Ashe mentioned the racial trend in the Tory party to Mr Churchill, the great man was not unsympathetic. "Look what they have done to me" he told him. It is ironic and a far cry from his anti-Semitic sentiments, one of Macmillan's daughters married a man of Jewish descent whose father Leo Amery drafted the Balfour declaration.

In 1948, Lincoln devoted his energy to the service of Israel and advised Ben-Gurion on the need for a navy which apart from a great advantage in military operations, was instrumental in the protecting the many immigrant ships on their way to Palestine.

Mr Lincoln was Master of the Bench of the Inner Temple, a recorder and deputy judge of the Crown Court and deputy world president of the international Association of Jurists and Jurors. His book "Secret Naval Investigator" and "Odyssey of Jewish Sailor" were of immense interest.

Last October, I attended the Memorial service held at the New London Synagogue and watched the judges and senior Naval officers pay tribute to a great Jewish sailor. Among the speakers was vice-Admiral Sir John Coward. With Standards flying aloft, I realised that at long last the Senior Service of the realm had embraced him as one of their own.



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