Sam was born in Manchester in 1902. His mother (who was not Jewish) died when he was young. Sam went to live with his relatives from his father’s side. This family, the Aarons, were observant Jews. So, at the age of 11, Sam was forced to embrace the Jewish religion. He was circumcised within two weeks of entering his aunt’s house, started to attend synagogue, and was sent to cheder (Jewish religious school) and the Jewish Lads Brigade to mix with other Jewish boys.