Marine Traning

ORT’s Marine Training Scheme was set up in 1946 with the aim of supplying the growing merchant army of the Yishuv (the Jewish inhabitants of  Palestine under the British mandate) with qualified sea officers. The ship used for the training scheme was originally called 'The Cutty Sark' and belonged to the Duke of Westminster. During the Second World War it was taken over by the Royal Navy and employed as an anti-submarine vessel. After the war, the ship was acquired by ORT, and converted into a training ship capable of accommodating sixty boys. It was renamed ‘Joseph Hertz’, in memory of the chief rabbi of the British Commonwealth between 1913 and 1946. Describing the training on board ‘Joseph Hertz', ORT Chronicle reported:

‘The director of the school and commanding officer of the ‘Joseph Hertz’ is Captain N.F.Israel D.S.C., who has made several cruises around the world and who distinguished himself in the last war in the Pacific and the Battle of the Atlantic as well as in the invasion of Europe. Lately, the boat went on a rather extensive voyage in the course of which the pupils proved themselves fit for all the hardships of a sailor’s and diver’s life and observed the strictest discipline. [1]'

Most of the students at TS Joseph Hertz were aged sixteen to eighteen. They were all displaced persons, and most of them were concentration and labour camps survivors. During their training the boys wore Royal Navy uniforms with a Star of David badge attached to their sleeves. The scheme proved highly successful and a number of qualified officers were trained on board. Many of them ultimately left for Israel where they served both in the merchant navy and later in the newly created Israeli navy. The Marine Training Scheme closed down in October 1947.

[1] World ORT Archive d07a007: Chronicle ORT (ORT Union Geneva) no.18