תמונה

Robert Marks

ID NumberJ/2588
RankPrivate
Parents: Aharon and Paula
Birth Date: 1895
Birth PlaceLondon, England
Death Date כ' אלול התרע"ח
Burial PlaceJerusalem War Cemetery Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Pvt.  Robert Marks (service number J/2588) was born as Pinkus Shleifstein in 1895 (5655 according to the Hebrew calendar) to Paula and Aharon Shleifstein, apparently in London, England.  As an adolescent he changed his name to Robert Marks, and subsequently to the Hebrew name Pinchas Ben-Aryeh.

Robert joined the British Army during World War One, and was assigned to the Jewish Legion 38th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers.  He fought in France as well as other fronts, ultimately reaching the shores of Palestine and participating in the battle against the Ottomans.

During the month of December 1917, Jerusalem was captured by the British Army.  On December 11, 1917, General Allenby entered the gates of the Old City of Jerusalem.  Robert was present for policing duties, and was amongst those who entered with the British forces into Jerusalem.  In describing the event, he wrote to his mother and his sister, Annie, "Perhaps this will give you great pleasure to know that I was one of the first English Jewish soldiers to enter the City [Jerusalem] as I was in the place the same day it was taken on police duty."

During fighting in Umm esh Shert in the Jordan Valley, Marks was fatally shot by Turkish soldiers, while on night patrol.  His fellow comrade-in-arms, Pvt. Gordon, refused to leave him behind and carried him under heavy fire back to the British forces.  Robert succumbed to his injuries that day, the 28th of August, 1918 (the 20th of Elul 5678).  He was laid to rest in the British War Cemetery on Mt. Scopus in Jerusalem.  In his book, With the Judeans in the Palestine Campaign, his commander, Lieut.-Col. John H. Patterson, writes, "It was unfortunate that Private Marks' wound proved to be a mortal one.  He had only joined the Battalion some three days previously, and this was his first encounter with the Turks.  He had served in France and other war centres, and had passed through many a fierce fight, scathless.  We gave him a very impressive burial the following morning, under the lea of a little hillock, with his face turned towards Jerusalem; the spires of the buildings on the Mount of Olives could actually be seen from the spot where we were standing around his grave."

Circumstances leading to Robert Marks' death are described in the book With the Judeans in the Palestine Campaign by Colonel J. H. Patterson, commander of Robert's battalion. Marks' name is also commemorated in the Jabotinsky Institute Yizkor Book, and in the Jewish Legion Museum ( Bet Hagdudim) on Moshav Avichayil.

Robert Marks' biographical details appear in part in the Yizkor website of the Israeli Ministry of Defense.  His life story was researched and completed in 2018 by volunteers of "Giving a Face to the Fallen". 

 

 

Contributed to research:

Ayana Kimron, volunteer, "Giving a Face to the Fallen

Yochi Miler, volunteer, "Giving a Face to the Fallen"

Ron Rabinovich, volunteer, "Giving a Face to the Fallen"