(Hillel Kuttler/JTA)

(Hillel Kuttler/JTA)

By Hillel Kuttler - March 16, 2015

Originally appeared here in The Times of Israel

MOSHAV AVICHAIL, Israel (JTA) – On a crisp February morning in this community near the Mediterranean Sea, the sound of Israel’s flag whipping in the wind likely pleased the soul of John Henry Patterson, whose ashes were buried a few yards away.

Patterson was a lieutenant colonel in the British military, and during World War I he commanded the Zion Mule Corps and the Jewish Legion — the first Jewish military units in two millennia.

Although he was Christian, Patterson had expressed an interest in being buried in Israel alongside the men, many from pre-state Israel, he had commanded. Patterson had been reared on the Bible and a love for the Jewish people and their land. But his family could not afford to transport the body to Israel when he died 67 years ago in Los Angeles.

In December, his wishes were finally honored: his remains and those of his wife, Frances, were moved to the cemetery at Avichail, a moshav founded by many of his soldiers. Read More