NEWS 2019

Kindertransport presentation by Arnold Ullman on 13th August 2019


Kindertransport - The Arrival  stands outside Liverpool Street Station in Central London

At the August 2019 meeting of the Probus Club members were privileged to be addressed by a member of the club who had been evacuated from Germany in the 1930’s by way of the Kindertransports arrangement.


Arnold Ullmann began by explained how when German Jews were facing oppression from the Nazi Party then ruling Germany (A well placed fear for what we only learnt much later in the war 1939 to 1945 it was the Nazi programme to exterminate all Jews) the British Government gave permission for Jewish and non-Aryan children with specified needs to come to Britain. Each child had to have a guarantee of £50, then a great deal of money, so that the people of Britain did not have to support them. The travel and resettlement was financed by world-wide and British Jewish organisations.


The exodus from Germany and Austria began in 1938 and 10,000 children found refuge in Britain by the end of August 1939


Arnold told us of how the growing oppression bore down on his family and how circumstances lead to his father migrating initially from pre-war Poland to Berlin. His parents married by Jewish faith and he was born in Berlin. He told of his Jewish education and finally to the parting as he left Berlin in a Kindertransport train to Holland and then to England never to see his parents again.


Gloucester was his final destination where he took up residence in the hostel provided by the Gloucester Association for Aiding Refugees. He entered the British education system, made contacts and his life and career settled down. Employment started assisting maintenance operatives at Gloucester Cathedral followed by an apprenticeship in Carpentry and Joinery.


Just before the end of the war, although he was not subject to military service, he managed to join the Jewish Brigade of the Palestine Regiment where he served in occupied Europe and Northern Ireland until 1948. Upon completion of his service in the army he was granted British citizenship and returned to complete his apprenticeship in Gloucester.

Later by joining the Air Ministry Works Department as a trades Foreman he progressed and by his initiative and by study increased his responsibilities. Marriage and children followed and he served an interesting and progressive career with the AMWD in Britain and overseas and was finally absorbed into the merger of the Works Directorates of the three services into the Ministry of Works and titled Public Building and Works.


While with the MPBW he was posted to the notorious (In Construction Industry terms) Marsham Street Towers structures as one of the four Senior  Clerks of Works. Promotion and experience followed. Later a London posting to Headquarter Controlled Special Sites HQSS led to responsibilities for staffing and the training arrangements of Technical site staff. This continued until with three extra year’s service he retired in 1988.


Arnold, for Services to the Construction Industry, was presented with the MBE by H M Queen Elizabeth one day before his 63rd birthday.

He had lost all contact with his family via the Red Cross by 1943 and subsequent research indicated they went to Auschwitz 3 March 1943. On a more sober note his marriage to Bertha had lasted for 58 years until she passed on and today he is nigh on 94 years old.


Report by Henry Chapman 9/19

Probus BBQ Tuesday 2nd July 2019


This year the annual Probus BBQ was kindly hosted by Jeremy and Angela Vevers at their home in Copthorne.

The day was hot, with some cloud cover providing a comfortable environment.


The cooks for the day were Roy Page and Chris Tollast.

At the end of the day the Club presented a bouquet of flowers to Angela Vevers and pot plants to all the lady helpers.

Thanks must be given to Jeremy and Angela for hosting the BBQ, and to all the helpers.