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One family, Five Sons, All Serving in H.M.Forces

by Ron Goldstein

Contributed by 
Ron Goldstein
People in story: 
Lou,Jack,Mossy,Mick and Ron Goldstein
Location of story: 
In the UK and Overseas
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
12 November 2003

The Goldstein boys at war

I come from a large family. My parents, of Blessed Memory, were Joe and Fanny Goldstein and when war broke out on September 3rd 1939 the family was based in Boreham Street, Bethnal Green in the East End of London.

Head of the family in every sense was Dad, otherwise known as Joe, Mr.G. or the Guvnor.
When war broke out he was aged 56.
Mum, known as Fanny, or Faigele was 55
Annie , the oldest daughter, was 31
Lou, the oldest son, was 30
Jack, next in line, was 27
Esther was aged 26
Mossy, one of twins was 23
as was
Gertie, his twin
Polly was aged 22
Mick was aged 19
Debbie was aged 18
Ronnie was 16
Jean was aged 9

By 1944 all the boys were in the forces as detailed below

Lou was a Lance Corporal in the Royal Army Service Corps from 1941 to 1946

Jack volunteered for the RAF in January 1944 and served in 166 Bomber
Squadron at Kirmington in Humberside. As a Sgt.Air Gunner he flew on fifteen operations over Germany and was tragically Killed in Action over Nuremberg on the 16th March 1945.

Mossy was a Corporal PT Instructor in the Kings Royal Rifle Corps and stationed in the UK between 1940 and 1946.

Mick enlisted on 24th July 1940, initially served with the Royal Fusiliers and subsequently became a Sergeant Major in the Royal Artillery. He volunteered for the Jewish Brigade, served with them in Italy and was de-mobbed in January 1947.

Ron, that’s me, was called up in October 1942 serving firstly as a Wireless Operator in Light Ack Ack in the UK, North Africa, Sicily and Italy and was later re-trained as a Loader/Operator. He finished the war with the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars and was demobbed a Corporal in March 1947.

In addition to the boys all serving, Esther, Gertie and Debbie all had husbands in the Forces and Polly was in the Land Army.

1. By the time that this website became a 'sealed' archive in January 2006 and following on the passing of his much loved brother Mick in November 2005, Ron was the sole surviving brother.

2. Jack's son Michael has written movingly about his father in a series of articles which can be found at U2883517

© Copyright of content contributed to this Archive rests with the author. Find out how you can use this.

Forum Archive

This forum is now closed

These messages were added to this story by site members between June 2003 and January 2006. It is no longer possible to leave messages here. Find out more about the site contributors.

Message 1 - Only FIVE ?

Posted on: 29 December 2003 by Leonard J Smith

Sorry, Ron but you have a long way to go to match my family, I come from a family of 16, 12 boys and 4 girls.and 9 of us boys ALL served in the army and saw active service and whats more incredabale we all came back, only 2 recievd war injuries from which they soon recoverd. All so my sisters where all married to service men three Army one R.A.F. Only myself and one other brother who is 90yrs.old and two sisters still remain.


Message 2 - Only FIVE ?

Posted on: 30 December 2003 by Ron Goldstein

I gladly hand over the 'Largest Serving Family in WW2' crown to the undisputed champion family of them all.
The BBC are really slipping if they haven't realised what a wealth of material is available to them.
So nice to hear about your mob... let's have lots of stories on this site.
With all best wishes


Message 3 - Only FIVE ?

Posted on: 30 December 2003 by Leonard J Smith

HI Ron, So very pleased that you recieved my message, and thank you very much for your comments about my family,I think thats about the best acculade any one has ever payed us so
thanks once again.I have posted the first part of my story four weeks ago under the title-The Way I Saw Charmingsmudgerlen.
If your interested click on number 18 or 19 to read.
I have just finished the second part of my story which is about my army service,but not yet submitted.
May i take this opertunity to wish you a very HAPPY NEW YEAR.



Message 4 - Only FIVE ?

Posted on: 16 April 2004 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

Dear Len

The astonishing contribution made by your family to the armed forces in WW2 was brought to my attention by Ron. Nine serving brothers seems to me to be a world's first. This should be brought to the attention of the Guinness Book of Records. Click her for their current entry: links

Kindest regards,



Message 5 - Guiness Record

Posted on: 22 April 2004 by Leonard J Smith

Hi Peter,
Thank you very much for your comments and the ifno with regards to to Guiness Book of records Entry for the largest number of members from one family that served at the same time in the forces between 1939-1945. I did write to them sometime ago but never recieved any reply so i took it that they were not interested.

best wishes LEN

Message 1 - Bethnal Green

Posted on: 19 August 2005 by Harold Pollins


Just noticed that you lived in Bethnal Green. My paternal family opened a grocer's shop in Bethnal Green Road, at the corner of Teesdale Street, in 1902 and it remained in the family, managed by a succession of aunts and uncles until the early 1960s. Two doors away was a haidressers and my brother married one of their daughters in 1953.



Message 2 - Bethnal Green

Posted on: 19 August 2005 by Ron Goldstein


I've only one question to ask of you?

Did you ever attend or belong to the C and BG Boys Club in Chance Street ?



Message 3 - Bethnal Green

Posted on: 19 August 2005 by Harold Pollins

No. I should say that my immediate family lived in Leytonstone not in the East End but we used to make regular forays to the East End. My brother, my younger sister and I belonged to Habonim.



Message 4 - Bethnal Green

Posted on: 19 August 2005 by Ron Goldstein

Was that somewhere in the Far East ?
Only kidding :)


Message 5 - Bethnal Green

Posted on: 19 August 2005 by Harold Pollins


My father's story to explain why Leytonstone is this. When he was demobbed after WWI he decided to move with his wife and daughter from the East End. He aimed to go to Hackney where many were going but got on the wrong tram and ended up in Leytonstone, and he stayed. A bit of a joker. We belonged to the West Ham District Synagogue and we all went to the Hebrew Classes. Actually I sang in the shul choir.
I published a story entitled 'Mach tsu de tir is a druff' based on what my mother told me. There was a women's gallery in the shul and there was a man who acted as a supernumerary shammas, telling the women the page, shouting 'Shah' and sometimes leading the women in singing. On one occasion he sang. 'Mach tsu de tir is a druff' and all the women repeated it until it dawned on them that they had implored God to 'shut the door, there's a draft.'


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