Cyril Anekstein, DFC
Squadron Leader, 7 Squadron
Service number 87066
Died 31 August 1943
Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery
‘MARK THE MAN OF INTEGRITY AND BEHOLD THE UPRIGHT”
Cyril was born on 31 August 1916 in St Olave, London to Polish born Simon and Dora née Gilbert. His father Simon was a minister-reader at Holland Road Synagogue in Hove. Cyril was born during a Zeppelin raid on London and died on his 27th birthday. He attended Varndean Secondary school in Brighton where he was captain of cricket, football and chess teams. He also excelled at tennis and table tennis. Cyril was known as a “captain of all sports”, to the extent that in the 1950’s the Maccabi Cyril Anekstein Cup was created in tribute and is still awarded in the Maccabi football league today.
Cyril trained as a lawyer before the war and enlisted in September 1939, as an aircraftman and obtained his commission in October 1940.
On 8 June 1942, Cyril was awarded the D.F.C. whilst with 25 O.T.U. ‘Flying Officer Cyril ANEKSTEIN (87066), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. This officer has participated in many raids on the enemy. He was pilot of an aircraft which took part in the mass raid on Cologne. During the run-up to the target, despite severe damage to his aircraft by anti-aircraft fire, he persisted on his course until the bombs had been dropped and then made a skilful return flight to base. During the mass raid on the Ruhr on 1st June, his bomber was damaged severely by an enemy fighter, but he manoeuvred his aircraft cleverly and enabled his gunner to fire at point blank range and destroy the attacking aircraft. He later made a normal landing at base although all landing wheel tyres were punctured and part of the covering of the aircraft wings was shot off. This officer is cool and skilful when in action and sets a high standard of devotion to duty’.
Cyril was the pilot of Lancaster JA936 which departed from RAF Oakington at 00.56 on a night operation to Mönchengladbach. The aircraft was shot down by a night-fighter and crashed in the target area killing five of the crew. Those who died were originally buried in the Stadtfriedhof cemetery but their original graves are now lost. A headstone marks a special grave in Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany.
A/G, Walter Herbert Cross, 148485
A/G, Vincent Thomas Perdue, RCAF, R/115239
Nav, Harold Smith, 124700
W/Op, Stanley Thorogood, 1270263
F/E, Jack William C. Genney, 1104337, POW, Stalag Luft L3
George Arthur Atkinson, 124643, POW, Stalag Luft L3