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Harry Dreebin (1894-1918)

Sunderland born Jewish man served with the King’s Own Scottish Borderers

Harry Dreebin was born on 7 January 1894. He was the eldest son of Simon and Leah Dreebin, nee Morran, who were both Russian immigrants. On the 1901 census Harry was living at 1 Meaburn Street. His father, Simon, is listed as a traveller. Leah’s parents, Solomon and Rachel Morran, were also living with them at this time.

Harry was admitted to Hudson Road Infant’s school in 1898 and then went on to study at Hudson Road Boys school from 1901.

By the time of the 1911 census the family had moved to 12 Eden Street in Sunderland. His mother Leah was now listed as head of the household, although is still listed as married, rather than a widow. As well as his mother, Harry was then living with his grandfather, two younger brothers and one younger sister. The census records that his parents had had a further child who had not survived beyond infancy. Harry was working as a general dealer. A boarder was also living with the family, Herman Shafir, also from Russia, and also working as a general dealer.

Harry enlisted into the army in Sunderland. He initially served as a private in the 6th King’s Own Scottish Borderers (KOSB) with the service number 22915. He then became part of the 7/8th KOSB and then the 1st KOSB. At the time of his death he was serving in the 1st Battalion KOSB as a lance corporal. He was killed in action on 11 April 1918 at Flanders.

Harry was awarded the Victory Medal and the British War Medal for his service and is remembered on the Ploegsteert Memorial in Hainaut, Belgium. He is remembered locally in the Book of Remembrance at Holy Trinity church in Sunderland.

He is also remembered locally on a brass plaque now housed at the Jewish Military Museum in London. This plaque was originally unveiled by the Mayor of Sunderland at Moor Street Synagogue, Sunderland in 1922. It was moved to Ryhope Road Synagogue, upon the closure of which it was transferred to London. The inscription on the plaque reads: “In honoured memory of the undermentioned members of the Sunderland Jewish Community who made the Supreme Sacrifice in the Great War 1914-1918.” On this memorial Harry’s surname is recorded as Dribben. This plaque was originally accompanied by the British Jewry Book of Honour with the names of the fallen inscribed.

Civil Parish: Sunderland

Birth date: 7-Jan-1894

Death date: 11-Apr-1918

Armed force/civilian: Army

Residence: 1 Meaburn Street (1901 census)
12 Eden Street, Sunderland (1911 census)
128 St. Leonard’s Street, Sunderland (Address of family at time of death)

Education: Hudson Road Infant’s school
Hudson Road Boys school

Religion: Jewish

Employment: General dealer (1911 census)

Family: Parents: Simon Dreebin, Leah Dreebin nee Morran
Siblings: Maurice Dreebin, Rachel Edith Dreebin, Barnett Dreebin
Grandparents: Solomon Morran, Rachel Morran
Boarder: Herman Shafir (1911 census)

Military service:

1st Battalion, King’s Own Scottish Borderers
Lance Corporal
Service Number 22915

Medal(s): Victory Medal
British War Medal

Memorial(s): Ploegsteert Memorial, Hainaut, Belgium
Book of Remembrance, Holy Trinity church, Sunderland
Brass plaque, Jewish Military Museum, London

Gender: Male

Contributed by Sam - Durham University Intern | Fiona Johnson