Saturday, 15th February, 1947 ‘B’ Squad being best Squad at Law went on a tour of this District of Palestine. They tell me they swam in the Sea of Galilee & looked over Acre Prison etc. The work here has eased up considerably since half term. We are now going through the C.C.O. in law.
This afternoon I spent wholly in cleaning “Black Beauty” my rifle. Bob Matthews is now operator of the Camp Cinema. The film tonight was “Boom Town”
Sunday, 16th February, 1947 This morning started bright & fine but by 10.30am this had changed to heavy rain. Spent most of the morning on my rifle then wrote home to Mum & Dad & one to Joy.
February 1947. Group of Arabs and myself taken outside the Mohtar's house in Horsha Village near Shafa Amr. I changed headdress with an Arab who fancied the cap. Note Cactus
Went on guard tonight. I received the developments of the snaps I took in Horsha village today
Today we had another lecture from the Senior Medical Orderly about
Following this Mr Rowland Tims gave us a lecture on all branches of
the Police Force & asked us if we had any special qualifications to put in an
application for any of these branches.
After a lot of difficulty in making up my mind I put in an application
for Mounted. The wireless branch does
not attract me, though to return to the B.B.C. I suppose I should go into this branch but I will try to get
into the Mounted and perhaps transfer from that branch if I should find I have
erred in my judgement.
We had our law exam results today I had 82%. Highest in ‘C’
Mr Rowland Tims joined the Palestine Police on 17.6.1939 as British Constable 526, was promoted Sergeant in March, 1942 and appointed Acting Assistant Supt in 1946 becoming a Platoon Commander in the PMF in 1947
Prior to signing up for the Palestine Police, Dad was working for the BBC as a
I’m guessing from this and Dad’s
references to ‘A’ & ‘B’ Squad that he must have been in ‘C’ Squad! I know… get my detective skills!
Friday, 14th February,
We rose at this morning to find it very dull & stormy outside.
Today we are going to Jenin where we draw our rifles & proceed to
the range. We left Shafa Amr by truck at
about & arrived in Jenin at . We fired
rifle, L.M.G. and T.S.M.C. I am sorry to
say that as other than my single shots rifle I was not very great. The T.S.M.C. stopped every round &
between it & Mr Tims I did very poorly on this weapon. The day cleared up so that by mid-day we
discarded our Denham jackets. Our
haversack rations were soon disposed of at lunchtime after which I met Raymond
Bloomfield & had a chat with him for a short while.
It was dark when we got back to Shafa Amr & we were all very tired
I felt much better this morning.
Arms Drill “Slope & Order Arms”
Arabic with an officious new teacher.
A stack of mail came in today including three Valentines, a letter
from Aunt Rosa, 2 from Mum & Dad & 1 from Joyce.
Wrote to Mum Dad and Joyce (15)
Wednesday, 12th February, 1947
Fine again today, brilliant sunshine.
P.T. at .
Parades and lectures during morning. More rifle drill. I am afraid one of these fine days I am going to turn about so well that my rifle will be so surprised that it will not accompany me but drop to the ground.
This afternoon we spent digging out a rifle range at the rear of the camp.
The ground was nearly all stone bound together with sandy soil so was very hard even with picks and shovels.
I wrote to Aunt Fan early in the evening, then went to the cinema to see “Honky Tonk” starring Lana Turner. It was a very good film, of old time America.
This morning we had the usual Interior Economy in which the Barrack
Room was washed out and the dexterity of the inmates made the floor more dirty
than it was prior to washing. We also
had a lecture by the S.M.O. on V.D. His
Arabic English was difficult to follow but we got the gist of it.
This was followed by the theory and practice of Riot Drill in which
stones were thrown with pleasure at some of our felloe recruits protected by
shields & pick shafts This evening I went to the camp cinema to see “Strike
Up The Band” starring Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney.
Sunday, 9th February, 1947
It has been a really glorious day today. Most of us treated it as a true day of
rest. I was on “stand-to” over night but
one of the chaps on guard took my T.M.C. back for me. I scrubbed my webbing white & spent the
remainder of the morning, afternoon & evening playing pontoon. Over the day I won 200mils. Tonight party sent out to Shafa Amr. “Wog” riot rumoured.
Monday, 1oth February, 1947
Glorious weather again today.
I came over bilious during the morning & felt very ill at lunch time.
I went sick during the afternoon & was excused drill.
This morning the P.M.F. sergeants have had their true police ranks
granted. 1st B Serge down to
2nd & 2nd B Serg. Either down to acting unpaid or to
B.C. [British Constable]
We had our first lecture on map reading on Palestinian maps. The only differences are the symbols – many
additional ones of course, such as mosques and minarets, sheikh’s tombs etc.
Went this evening to see “The Great Waltz”. I saw this before in England but this did not spoil my enjoyment of every
moment of it.
Bob received a Xmas cake from his home today and he kindly shared it
After the stirring music of Strauss & the home thoughts stirred by the cake I went to bed in a very happy frame of mind.
Tuesday, 4th February, 1947
The British wives in the station left today for their evacuation with them went their children. The sergeants accompanied their wives away from the station so we were left very much to our own devices.
We had a very interesting lecture by Sergeant Palfreman on road checks. This lecture opened my eyes to the many things hitherto undreamed of by me to which we may be called upon to act when we pass out from our training. I hear today that the government have issued an ultimatum to the Jewish agency in so much that if they do not decide within the next few days to help us clear out the terrorists then we shall take it fully into our own hands. Pointing again to Martial Law.
Very heavy thunderstorms during night & continued periodically
during night. I was taken ill at this morning after medicine received last
night. We were late for parade this morning so told to parade at .
One of the chaps in the hut went into Haifa today & brought back two films I had
developed. Much “Bull Shitting” in hut
& indeed all over camp tonight in preparation of grand parade tomorrow.
We had a petty test on small arms this afternoon.
Wireless anncts. Tonight say “all British Women & Children will
leave Palestine & remaining British Personnel will be guarded 'so that army can get on with the job' ”
British Police living away from their stations must move into their
stations. Operation “Booker” came into
operation this afternoon.
Saturday, 1st February, 1947
Showery this morning, clearing during the day. We had our law examination this morning. Also inspection by A/ASP [Acting Assistant Superintendent of Police] Rowland Timms. Sorted out my mail this afternoon.
Went to camp cinema this evening to see Micky Rooney and Judy Garland in “Babes on Broadway”
Sunday, 2nd February, 1947
Fine this morning.
I sorted out the snaps I have to send home.
Wrote home (11) and enclosed snaps. Wrote to Aunt May [enclosed] snap. Wrote to Aunt Daisy.
Muddy this morning but not raining.
I reported sick after P.T. at 6.45.
The M.O. told me to abandon the reduced diet & go back to full diet
for two days & see how this affects me.
We were told this morning that the Abducted Judge had been released
& that Police had not found the Major.
The Airborne rumours seem to have been unconfounded [unconfirmed?].
We were paid today £P16.200m.
Heard from Mum.
Wrote to Joyce & Mum & Dad (2, 9 & 10)
Thursday, 30th January, 1947
Fine this morning.
Had lecture from A.I.G. Brig Ferguson on the conditions in Palestine at the moment. He told us that the abducted Major was released last night when the curfew had been lifted for a while for the specific purpose. The condemned terrorist has appealed against his sentence. Dov Grumer is his name & he took part in the attack on Ramit Gan Police Station last April, being left mortally wounded by his companions.
Dov Grumer (or sometimes Gruner) was executed on 22 April 1947
Ron's sister, my Auntie Joyce, and his Mum, Florence Gladys with Biddy and Chang the Pekinese...
Slept from to when I did the second part of my guard. Cold wind still blowing. Received a copy of C.C.O. today. Heard today that at yesterday a retired British Major in Jerusalem had been abducted by the Jewish Terrorists. Also today 8 of these terrorists, armed,
entered a District court Session in Tel Aviv & abducted the President of
the Court. Unofficially I heard today
that 12 airborne Soldiers had been abducted with a threat that they will be
“Publicly” hung if the death sentence on the captured terrorist is fulfilled.
Had lecture at lunchtime by the Chief Padre of the Palestine Police.
We were told today that the High Commissioner had summoned the two
leaders of the Jews in this country & gave them an ultimatum in so much
that if by tomorrow
the Judge and Major abducted were not returned, certain areas of Palestine would be put under Martial law.
I have reported sick again twice today with no improvement.
This evening the car used in the abduction of the judge in Tel Aviv
was found in North Haifa.
Lectures on Arabic. L.M.G.
Rifle, Law and First Aid continue.
My diarrhoea has continued also.
Received letter from home today No1.
Saturday, 25th January, 1947
Not raining today. Reported
sick. We had our first official period
of “Internal Economy” here today. All
recreation trucks to Haifa have been cancelled until further notice. This is because one of the last caught
terrorists is to be hanged and his pals have threatened if the sentence is
fulfilled to hang any Police or Soldiers they can. Troops have been confined aswell.
We had Identification Parade today as one of the Canteen Wogs was
found wearing a K.D. shirt. He said it
was sold him by one of the recruits. He
picked a most unlikely chap at this Parade.
Wog put in lock up. Went to camp
film show to see “Her Highness and The Bell Boy”
Sunday, 26th January, 1947
Very fine this morning but chilly.
Reported sick again though feel better.
Wrote to Joyce and to Mum & Dad. (7 & 8)
On guard tonight from 10-12 o’clock.
From 6 – 10 we talked with 1st Sergeant Jones, a man of great experience
in the Near East.
He corrected the impression I had that Arab girls do not go to school.
Usual lectures and the beginning of a series of lectures on First Aid
which may end in our taking the St John’s exam. This
evening I went to the camp cinema which has just been set up and housed in the
mess hall. There are three performances
each week, entrance fee 50mils for B.C.’s and 75 for sergeants. The film showing this evening was the “Broadway
21st January, 1947
Rain stops parades once
more. Camp swamped out. One of the trainees here took my two films
into Haifa to get them developed. A complaint was lodged by a chap from another
squad about the smallness of our meals of late.
We left it as it was before as we thought the deficiency was due to
settling in. This chap kept his
breakfast of a small piece of liver & a few carrots & potato & took
it to the commanding officer Mr McCloud.
He agreed with the complainant and the rest of the meals have been, today, very good.
Received a letter from
home today – it was posted on 12.1.47 and arrives in Shafa Amr today. Wrote reply to it tonight.
Irgun Zvi Leumi  threaten
to attack Police installations tonight
"January 19th 1947 Shafa Amr Police Training Depot
Group on a Sanger
with "Wilson Brown" Police Station
Right to left
Ron Brown Jock Bruce Blondy Pierson
Lofty Spencer (Ganet) Paddy Graham
A Storm coming up so hurried snap."
Fine Today. Lectures &
Drill in the morning. Passed the
afternoon “Bull shitting” boots.
Heard this afternoon that it is my turn to go to Haifa on the “Passion Wagon”. Left camp at with a party of 20 on a three ton truck bound for Haifa.
From Friday to Saturday Jewish Sabbath. Not many shops reopen on Saturday night so
not much to do. All café’s & bars in
Kingsway & Jaffa Rd. out of bounds.
I went to St Andrews Club for something to eat and wandered Haifa with another chap who used to be here in the
R.A.F. Several of our 20 inebriated,
(fools to call it enjoyment) [Ha! ...Dad enjoyed the odd pint of Tanglefoot later in life!] Bought
watch £4.10s 
Sunday, 19th January
Rained slightly this morning after we had scrubbed out Barrack room.
Police Band gave recital at today. Very
good. Band composed of German Jews. Finished Letter No. 3 home. Wrote Joyce No. 4. Billiard table now in use. Played on it tonight. Very Good. Lost Game.
 I remember this watch well. Dad wore it for many years until one day, after mislaying it, he discovered it in the ashes of a garden bonfire he had made a few days before.
A very good night on guard.
Cold wind but dry. T.A.C. from could not speak much English & was inclined to
be lazy. I slept from then went on guard from to with a new T.A.C. This one was
very cheerful and wide awake & spoke very good English. He was a Moslem and told me of his religion. I told him of English ways of farming. This last guard soon went by. Came off at .
Mugshots of Menachem Begin, arrested 1940 Commander of the Irgun from 1943 - 1948 source: wikipedia.org
No P.T. Inspected on Parade by B.I. Trehern - not too good a turn
out. Blanchard displeased, so stiff
Drill. Fine all day. Heard that N.M.O. has declared they will kill
any policeman they find, where the chances of their being caught are few. Not a new threat however. C.I.D. Bulletin report Arab castrated after
acquittal on charge of raping Jewish Girl.
Jews in trucks. [ -Can't say I really understand this remark!] Wrote home (3).
 The NMO, or "National Military Organisation in the Land of Israel" was also known as The Irgun. This was regarded as a terrorist organisation with the Zionist goal of creating an Israeli state - it's logo; a fist gripping a rifle, with the legend 'Only Thus'. The Irgun Commander in Chief at this time was Menachem Begin - later to become 6th Prime Minister of Israel
Sergeants Palfreman & Blanchard away on a case in Jerusalem. To occupy
the two squads we were sent out on a manouver.
At we were briefed in camp. Six of the forty six were sent on to hide in
a prearranged cave, unknown to the rest of us, at about five miles distant to
the camp on the Horsha to Shafa Amr track.
I remembered this cave from our trip on Sunday. We were split into three squads under squad
commanders nominated by ourselves. Simkiss was ours. We single filed from the camp
at 09.30 and after a fairly stiff cross country march we arrived on the hill
above the cave at 1300 hrs. Our squad
& another were good but the third squad commander lost command of his squad
& arrived in the rear of his squad.
We then went onto another ruin where the commanders were hiking up. Quarry blasting mistaken for advance signal
so it fell through. 20 miles. Am on guard tonight, first guard .
William Ernest Simkiss B/C Born 15.9.1928 service commenced 3.12.1946 A&T Shafr - Bethlehem 12.3.1948
General Richard Gale
Tuesday, 14th January, 1947
Rain Continues. No
Parardes. Lecture by General R. Gale O.C. 1st Division of army in Palestine. He talked
to us on the reasons for the army and its duty in Palestine & what it wanted from the Police. Very little happened today. I wrote to Mrs Catley this evening – also Miss
Wednesday, 15th January, 1947
Not Raining this morning so Parades continued as normal. Did not rain all day. Our first Arabic lesson today. After lunch, as recreational training we went
for a five mile cross country route march up over the jebels, under Serg. Cass
as guide. Wrote to Dave. Dad always blamed his acquiring of Arabic for the deterioration of his grasp of French! He clung on to a few phrases of Arabic which he would sprinkle into conversation. My knowledge of Arabic is non-existent however and so in order to repeat them here I rely on phonetic representations... "Inshallah" - meaning "God willing" and " "A'halin musa'halin mor u'haputein" for which I have no definition. If any reader with a knowledge of Arabic can hazard a translation I'd be grateful!