Monday, 29 April 2013

11th - 13th April 1947 - Ron showing his continuing lack of prowess with a gun... and somehow Patrol turns into coffee time...

Friday, 11th April, 1947
It was very hot again today.

I was up at 5am this morning & went to the rifle range on the Jiftlich track.  I did not do very well on the firing.
It became terrifically hot there at 9 o’clock when ot came time for us to go.  We had to walk the two miles back & I cannot remember any two miles that so taxed our energy.

At twelve, midday, we had an arms inspection which was rather foolish I thought as the barrels had by no means fully contracted to their normal size.

This evening a cinema show “They were expendable” about the American Motor Torpedo Boats was put on in the club.  If it pays it is to be a regular thing.

Saturday, 12th April, 1947
I was on Prowler Guard today from midnight to 6am.  Nothing untoward happened.

Graham & Reilly left this morning to attend a wireless operators course in Jerusalem.
I packed parcel (2 films) to Aunt Daisy.

This evening I went on Road Patrol again principally to give me something to do.  Bicknell & I had another pleasant evening & chat at the Balata Café.  We received an invitation to attend a wedding in the village tomorrow.

Sunday, 13th April, 1947
On his inspection of the station a few days ago the I.G. was displeased with the state of the garden so all availables were asked this morning to join in weeding the plots.  We all did a share & revealed gravel paths which I did not know existed.

Friday, 26 April 2013

9th & 10th April, 1947 - Ron's 19th Birthday and he learns about courtship customs in Palestine...which occurs without the use of punctuation it seems!

Just a picture of a 1940's birthday card I found online -
not one of Ron's - but couldn't resist the coincidence!
Wednesday, 9th April, 1947
This is my birthday which I already feel will be unlike any I have so far spent.

The day was very warm & for want of anything else to do I stayed in the billet & read.

In the evening I was on road patrol with Barclay.

We walked up and down several times over the set beat then about 8 o’clock we decided to take a coffee at Balata.  We found one of the very hospitable café men spoke English.  We conversed with him on many subjects including weddings as one was taking place in the village.  He explained to us all the proceedings in an Arab courtship & Marriage.
The lad fancies a lass puts the question to her father if he says yes they drop the question for a couple of months then the lad calls with gifts for the girl & they become engaged a ring is used as in England.  He went on to tell us the wedding day procedure which interested.

Thursday, 10th April, 1947
Today was very warm but as I was not called upon for duty I did not have occasion to exert myself very much but lay beneath my mosquito free from the torments of multitudes of flies which for all the gauze windows & doors seemed to get into the room.

Monday, 22 April 2013

7th & 8th April, 1947 - A Trip to Jerusalem and a visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Monday, 7th April, 1947
I was on duty from 12 midnight to 5 o’clock this morning on a Road Patrol with Jock Reilly.  We intercepted several people & vehicles but did not find anything to make our first arrests on.

Tuesday, 8th April, 1947
Today I was on duty at 6am as escort to a prisoner who was being taken to Jerusalem to be tried at a Military Trial on a charge of being in possession of a pistol & 5 rounds.
He pleaded guilty so the trial was short.  The Lt Colonel, Major & Captain pronounced a sentence of 6 years imprisonment.  The accused had two previous convictions.

After the trial Barclay & myself wandered around the city.  The New Part is quite pleasant except for Barbed Wire everywhere.  After lunch in an Arab restaurant we met one of the three Palestinian Inspectors we had come with.  We went with him into the old city in the Sukh.  Here we paid a visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre,  The chapels in it are most resplendent in ornament and jewels.  On the right of the place where Christ’s Cross stood is a statue of St Mary & its ornaments are 
valued at £2,000,000.  The entrance to the Holy Sepulchre is so low anyone entering must bow low.  Although still partially in ruins from 1927’s earthquake the church which embodies 4 sects of religion is magnificent.

Monday, 15 April 2013

4th - 6th April, 1947 - Easter weekend - no chocolate but a Mule Race!

Friday, 4th April, 1947
I was off duty this morning as I am on Prowler Guard at 6pm to 12pm.

'A square formed where five of the Sukh's
market roads meet in the old part of Nablus.
April 1947.'
The weather is very nice today with a steady breeze blowing.
I went down to the Sukh this afternoon to collect some snaps from a shop.  They came out quite well I though but plenty of room for improvement.[1]

I went on Prowler at 6pm & Inspector Pattles condemnation for reading my colloquial Arabic.

Saturday, 5th April, 1947

After nearly a month free from convoy duty I went on this trip today.  The job is not altogether unpleasant & apart from the exhaust fumes & the lack of a meal between 8am & 3pm I enjoyed the trip.

In the evening we went to the cinema & saw a, if not thee (sic) silliest film I can remember.  A fight every five minutes.  I should imagine it was one of the old serials.

Sunday, 6th April, 1947
Easter Sunday was spent very quietly in the Taggart.  It was a fine day but not too hot for Comfort.

In the afternoon a party of us went to an Army Camp at Nathania where we attended a Mule Race in which some of our members took part. 

Mule Racing for Palestine Police at Nathania, 6th April 1947

[1] I recently came across this blog in my researches where Danny has posted a sound recording of Nablus Sukh

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

1st - 3rd April, 1947 - April pranks and serious terrorist activity.

Tuesday, 1st April, 1947
This morning at 5 o’clock Jock woke me to watch Mountford.  He got up & washed and as usual dawdled about so that he had to hurry to get to the M/T yard by 5.30.
After he had been there about a quarter of an hour he went to look for the sergeant who unknown to him was in Lyda.  He came back to the billet in a thoughtful mood which was soon dispelled when he was confronted by our grins and laughter.

This evening I was on a road patrol with Graham from 7pm to midnight.  We took a wog in thinking we had a drunkard but he turned out to be the local mad man.

Wednesday, 2nd April, 1947
This morning I went to Sarona to bring back some recruits. " went to Urban Station

It is very hot at midday now & I hope we soon go into K.D.[Khaki Drill] shorts & discard our battle dress.

 Thursday, 3rd April, 1947
I was on duty at seven this morning as escort to an armoured car going to Acre to bring back the two murdered brothers whose 15 days remand has now expired.

We passed near Haifa and saw the oil still burning sending up a 50 feet thick column of
Haifa Oil Refineries
source: wikipedia 

When we brought the prisoners back we took them to court to receive further remand.  While there they had the audacity to ask for bail.

The Arabic lecture was quite good this afternoon.

Monday, 8 April 2013

29th - 31st March - More cinema, escort duty and planning an April Fool...

Saturday, 29th March, 1947
I was not called on for duty today so I spent the time reading in a shaded place.

In the evening we, i.e. five of my pals & myself went to the cinema in Nablus to see an old Shirley Temple film called “Fantasy”.  It just shows how old the films here are as she is
now married, but she was only a little girl then.  Three of us sat through the Arab film which followed.  This film was typical of the Arab made, mechanical acting around a poor story.

Sunday, 30th March
This morning Mountford & I went on escort to a truck going to Jiftlich with a T.A.C.[Temporary Additional Constable] on transfer.  The 68 kilos of road is not made up so the dust curled up into the rear of the truck covering us all with a coat of dust.  The post is about 1000’ below sea level & is therefore hot.  There are no British personnel there & the Palestinians can only stand the temperature two months.

Monday, 31st March, 1947
Today I went with Graham as escort to the P.W.D. [Police Works Department(?)] pay truck.

We paid labourers in the Jenin Sub District.
While we were there we noticed a considerable darkening of the sky.
We were later told that the Jews had blown up an oil refinery in Haifa.  The burning oil caused this cloud of smoke travelling 10 to 15 miles inland.

Tonight the rest of my room mates & I decided to play an April Fools trick on Mountford tomorrow.  Before dinner we battoned him.

After dinner we told him he had to report for duty at 5.30 in the morning.  He believed us and booked an early call with the Prowler.

Friday, 5 April 2013

27th & 28th March, 1947 - Ron goes out bothering the locals....

Thursday, 27th March, 1947
A lovely day but rather sultry.

In the morning Montford and I were called out as escort for the D.C. but when we reached his office we found he had gone to the Urban Station & took an escort from there, so we went to the club & played snooker there.  The afternoon & evening we spent in the barrack room.

The last couple of nights a hot wind has been blowing making everyone feel muggy & making sleep difficult.

Friday, 28th March, 1947
From midnight to 5am I was on a road patrol outside the station.  With Graham.  I did not see anybody until about 4 o’clock when a few shepherds & cowherds passed us.  We stopped and searched each one but they were not carrying any offensive weapons or any contraband.  I went to bed after breakfast and slept until lunch time.

In the evening I was called out on an escort to a truck going down the Jiftlich track to pick up a government truck with two punctures.

It was nearly dark & the deep gorge draped in shadows was an even more majestic thing than in daytime when the excessive heat and brightness show up the barrenness.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

24th - 26th March, 1947 - Pay roll escort duty, Arabic lunch, a gazelle and Ron's first impressions of the Sukh...

Monday, 24th March, 1947
I was up with “the lark” this morning & reported to the P.W.D at 7.30am.  Myself & another B/C & a truck with a Palestinian driver were to act as escort to the P.W.D pay truck.  We left Nablus at 9.30am & went tearing over the country paying all the labourers.  For each job a labourer does he receives a card on which his payment is recorded.  He gets paid every fortnight or at the end of the job.  99 out of every 100 sign for their pay with a red ink thumb print.  For lunch we were given chicken with a dish or Arabic bread spread with fried onions.  It was very nice even though eaten with our fingers in a field.  As the Arabic foreman said “This is how Henry VII liked to eat chicken” he had seen the film in Cairo.  I saw my first gazelle this afternoon bounding up the mountain side.  No spare rounds.  We were given coffee & cigs at almost every stop we made.  We got back at 6.30pm, in time for dinner.

Tuesday, 25th March, 1947
A lovely day.

I was not called upon for any duties until midnight when I went on guard.

This duty from 12 to 6 was quickly passed, I do not remember it passing quite so quickly before.

Wednesday, 26th March, 1947
I came off guard & went to bed but I could not sleep as I felt sweaty.

At 10am we were paid.  I have saved £10 out here so far.

In the afternoon Graham & I went into Nablus & down the Sukh.

Nablus Sukh then...

Ron wrote on the reverse of this picture:

"April. 1947.  
One of the main roads
 in the Sukh.  Nablus.  
Note the crowded 
shop space & the 
sacking hung up to 
give shade.  
This picture cannot unfortunately convey 
the true amount of 
filth & the smell."

...and now

A corner of the Sukh Nablus
- April 1947

Monday, 1 April 2013

21st - 23rd March, 1947 - A pretty relaxed weekend for Ron...

Friday, 21st March, 1947 
A very fine day today.

In the afternoon I played tennis and snooker & in the evening started to get the mail situation under control before going on Special Guard from 10pm to 2am.


Saturday, 22nd March, 1947 
Attention, Baldwin!
I was up and ready for work by 8.30 but the prisoner escort to Acre I was to do was cancelled.  I spent the morning writing letters.  In the afternoon I once more played tennis & snooker.
The 6pm to 10pm Special Guard Duty fell to my lot this evening.

While I was on this duty an identification parade took place.  A woman in a village had sold her land & the money was taken from her by two armed robbers.  One of two suspects was identified.

Sunday, 23rd March, 1947 
A lovely day which I spent in the barrack room and as a break in the morning played a short game of tennis.
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