Thursday, 31 October 2013

20th - 24th September, 1947 - Ron's settling into the work at Nablus and there's time for a little recreation.

Saturday, 20th September, 1947
I am getting into the swing of the job here now & and tackle most jobs after a fashion.

Sunday, 21st September, 1947
I did not go to the office this morning as there was nothing to do.

Monday, 22nd September, 1947
My hours are not set but usually from 8am to 1pm then 4pm to 6pm.

I have been playing a great deal of chess in the evenings of late.[1]
 [1] Ron had previously enjoyed playing chess during his time at the BBC where games would be played between operators in different parts of the world via the radio...  He later taught us - I'm not sure I ever beat him!

Tuesday, 23rd September, 1947
Plenty of work again today.

Wednesday, 24th September, 1947
These pictures were of the Mule race that took place at Easter but...
Went to Jeruslaem today to see the Force versus the Irish Guards at sports.  Myself & two others did not take rifles we thought we would have a change.  We went into the city but as all the shops were shut we were back & watched the sports.  Several races were very good, and other events.  There were two comedy races a donkey race for officers and a bicycle race also for officers, they had to mount from the wrong side and dismount the same side – no easy feat. can't have too many pictures of people mules!

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

16th - 19th September, 1947 - Settling in at Nablus, Ron finds the work somewhat more demanding on his fingers!

Tuesday, 16th September, 1947
Still settling in today.  I have to learn to typewrite as all correspondence is typewritten here.  What a difference to the Tubas methods.  There I had the office to myself & Mohd.  Here the station sarg shares half.  There are files & books everywhere.  I think I shall settle down one day but it is very much more of a rush than it ever was in Tubas.

Wednesday, 17th September, 1947
I have been doing a lot of typewriting today and put a lot of old cases straight.  When I see what is done here I see what pointless trouble we took in Tubas.

Thursday, 18th September, 1947
I go to the office at eight and finish for lunch about 12.45pm.
Conway the B/C. ‘I’ has told me that he never gets back again till 4pm so I need not.  Then we finish for the evening anytime after 5.30pm.

Friday, 19th September, 1947
I wrote in all the new cases today, cases ranging from attempted murder to affray with 25 accuseds.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

12th - 15th September, 1947 - Ron is Nablus bound...

Friday, 12th September, 1947
Enough work again today to keep me busy.  Sarg Ahmad is still keeping out the way.

Saturday, 13th September, 1947
Mohd came back from Nablus today with the surprising news that I am on transfer to Nablus on Monday.  I wonder if I shall make it this time. Or get it cancelled at the last moment as last time.

Sunday, 14th September, 1947
Sargeant Blanks has asked me six times today if I am packed ready to go.  In the evening I stood beers all round but Sarg. refused - as an excuse he said that if he had a beer he would be expected to keep the bar open all night.  He did have a glass of Port from Mohd’s bottle.
Nablus Rural was a fully mounted Police Station which
seems to offer an appropriate opportunity
to post this picture of Ron on his mule!

Monday, 15th September, 1947
Well I made the journey this time and arrived at Nablus Rural again.  I went to the office this afternoon but of course did not do very much work.

Monday, 28 October 2013

8th - 11th September, 1947 - A couple of prisoners and a bit of trouble among the sergeants

Monday, 8th September, 1947
The Palestinian Sargeant went to Nablus this morning by truck.

In the afternoon B/C Duck and patrol returned with two prisoners.  One was a shop keeper from Aqqaba village the other a Transjordan Frontier Force Private.

The former was arrested for selling contraband tobacco and cigarettes.  I was present when he was interrogated & made his statement.  The poor fellow had no hands they looked to be cut off right across from the second joint of the thumb.  What surprised me most was to see him pick up a pencil with the centre of his palm and sign his name in much better writing than many fully capable Arabs.

The T.J.F.F. man caused us a bit of bother he created a disturbance when he was arrested and no-one but Sarg. Blanks knew what procedure should be adopted as he was a gov employee.  Sarg let the Pal. Sarg. worry for a while then told him.

Sgt Blanks ( Blanchard )
Tuesday, 9th September, 1947
Sarg. Blanks & Ahmad Hussein are still at loggerheads but neither admits it.  All Blanco admits is that although he hasn’t a face that shows knowledge he has it in his head.  No one argues with him but thought put forward many arguments.

Wednesday, 10th September, 1947
Very much work this morning but I managed to clear up outstanding jobs by lunch time.

Thursday, 11th September, 1947
Mohd. admitted to me this morning that Sgt Ahmad keeps out the way as he knows nothing of the work.  He has told Mohd. to do as he likes.  This of course would lead to many complications.

Friday, 25 October 2013

5th - 7th September, 1947 - Poultry rustling and a whirlwind...

Friday, 5th September, 1947
A case of theft reported this morning.  The Tubas village school poultry house was broken into & 33 chickens and 2 hens stolen.  I went out to the case.  After investigations we drank coffee with Sgt Ahmad in his house.

Saturday, 6th September, 1947
A case of trespass reported this morning

I received some snaps from the photographers in Nablus.

Sunday, 7th September, 1947
Starting at 7am this morning Sgt Ahmad, Ryan, Roughton & I went down to the Ghore by the rough route.  On the way we visited the scene of the trespass yesterday.  Nothing extraordinary or out of the ordinary happened today except that I experienced my first whirlwind.  I was in a tent and first the light became dull with a breeze then the storm hit and everyone had to hold onto the tent ropes to keep it down.  2 minutes and it was over and the dust had settled.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

2nd - 4th September, 1947 - More Army comings and goings... and a spectacular "firework display"!

Tuesday, 2nd September, 1947
Some new Army arrived here today the party is again Welsh Guards fewer in number this time.

Wednesday, 3rd September, 1947
Nothing very much today.

Two C.M.P’s [1] arrived here this afternoon to gather details of the boys who were killed.  I told them all we knew and let them copy some of the statements.

[1]Not quite sure what "C.M.P" stands for but I imagine it was some sort of Military Policeman - anyone know?

Thursday, 4th September, 1947   
This morning the army began to move out.  No more are coming I think.
About two kilos from the station the road becomes very steep & has a double bend in it.  The army ammunition truck would not climb this and while a Dispatch Rider was by the side of the truck the motor bike went up in flames.  The canvas cover to the truck caught and soon the blaze was beyond control.  It burned for ¾ of an hour and all the ammunition exploded.  The noise was terrific as mortar bombs & grenades exploded.  The rounds going off sounded like a battery of machine guns.  Many arms including 8 Brens, & 2 stens  a number of rifles & mortars were destroyed.
The Dispatch Rider was the only one injured and he only sustained a slight burn on his thigh.
Sgt Blanks was soon off on his horse with the 1st Aid Kit under his arm.

29th August - 1st September, 1947 - "Mrs Parkington" and a local feud...

Friday, 29th August, 1947
Very hot day today.

Myself and three other B/Cs went to Nablus to the Club Cinema.  “Mrs Parkington” was the film and I think I was the only one of our party that enjoyed it.

I received a parcel of newspapers from home and “Charles Dickens” from the Book Club.

Saturday, 30th August, 1947
Another case was reported today.  On the night of 28/29.8.47 some firewood belonging to a man in Tubas was set on fire.  The accused is unknown by me but we suspect the relations of the two boys who were blown up the other day.  The boys were buried on the 28th and the comp. family were celebrating a wedding.  Their festivities are believed to have provoked the other family.

We were paid today.
The army left today more are expected.

Sunday, 31st August, 1947
Everyone turned out in civvies today a true day of rest.

Monday, 1st September, 1947
This morning I did all the reports I could before the Inspector goes on leave.

Monday, 21 October 2013

25th - 28th August, 1947 - The impressive Welsh Guards, some real crime and a taste of the Jordan...

Monday, 25th August, 1947
An eventful day at the station.  The Palestinian Corporal came back off leave and is probably remaining here as the Inspectors relief when he goes on leave shortly.

The Army arrived at the station this morning in the persons of 40 Welsh Guards.
Inside half and hour they had pitched 4 big tents inside our perimeter wire and had the kitchen going.  By night fall they had the messes and many small tents put up.
The Sargent Major came in to have a shower and stayed for a bottle party with the Sarg. and some of the boys.  A major is i.c. with a Captain.

Tuesday, 26th August, 1947
The P/Cpl [Palestinian Corporal] reinstated today.  Mohd Kanan a bit sorry to lose his control over the T.A.C.s since the Cpl has been on leave.

Went for a walk down the Waddi this evening with Peter.

Wednesday, 27th August, 1947
I went to court this morning with the Inspector.
There we learned of a robbery which had occurred in our station area but which had been reported to Nablus Rural.  We went to the Rural and took over what turned out to be a series of three armed robberies on the main road.

We went to the scene of the crimes and found Sgt Blanks and the Divisional Tracker had finished their investigations.  At the point where the hold-ups took place the road is on the bend on the side of a mountain and it was down into the deep valley the tracker traced the robbers.  They followed tracks for 3 kilos then lost them owing to the nature of the ground.  When we got back to the station we found a wireless message from Jiftlich reporting another armed robbery by the Jordan…  P.T.O.

River Jordan
Again thanks to Harry C Farmer
Thursday, 28th July, 
… The robbers had stolen 85 sheep from 5 shepherds travelling from Beisan with 1000.
We rushed our lunch and raced off on this new case.  We contacted Jiftlich Police and the tracker scouted around until he found some tracks.  I drank my first drink at the Jordan this day.  The water is deep but appears to be muddy.
We followed the tracks in the truck for 5 kilos on the main road then they left the road and we walked three kilos into the mountains in the sweltering heat of the Ghore.  Then those too faded owing to the rocks replacing the sandy earth.

We returned to Jiftlich where the Inspector took very many statements and we dined before leaving at half-past midnight.

Today, Thursday, has therefore been a very busy day in the “I” Branch Office.
Two boys were killed by mortar bomb left by Army in the mountains near here.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

21st -24th August, 1947 - Court, "the last of the gazelle" and a little light police work...

Thursday, 21st August, 1947
Went to Nablus to the trial of Mohd. Rajah Mustapha.  I was not called to give evidence as the Judge was quite confident the man was telling lies.
He got 6 months & his licence on his last case taken and a further 12 months in its place.

Friday, 22nd August, 1947
Very quiet day today.

We saw the last of the Gazelle today.[1]

[1] Is he saying what I think he's saying?  "Saw" the last of the gazelle - hmmm!

Saturday, 23rd August, 1947
Nothing very much doing today.
Sarg. asked me if I would like to go with him on a patrol tonight.  To make a change from the office I said I would.
We went to Tubas by truck.  McShannon & I caught a fellow on a horse carrying 25 cartridges in his saddle bags.
Sgt. Got two lots of contraband from some shops.

Tubas Police Station -
Apologies for the poor quality of this photo but I think you can see
the rough terrain through which the two 'Nablus Boys' have hiked... 
Sunday, 24th August, 1947
A very quiet day.

We were very surprised to see two of the Nablus Boys turn up at lunch time they had just walked from Nablus straight across country in 2 hours.  Quite an achievement and one I should not like to undertake, not over those mountains.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

18th - 20th August, 1947 - A couple of quiet days then a trip out to Ghore...

Monday, 18th August, 1947
The Palestinians are still bedecked in best civvies today.

Tuesday, 19th August, 1947
Nothing of importance happened today.

Wednesday, 20th August, 1947
An excellent day today.
Went to Ghore via “No Road” past MALEH hot springs with its green valley.  In the Ghore the P/I commandeered 3 horses & we rode down to the Jordan.  I expect to be stiff tomorrow.
Many cups of coffee from the Bedouins.
Excellent lunch from Tubas Muchtar living in a tent in the Ghore.  A big “preserving pan” held the meal enough for 36 men.  The guests eat from it first and then in order of importance down to the boys and then into the next room for the women.
The meal consisted of bread (Arabic) on the bottom then stacks of rice then a roast lamb on top.

On the way back Paddy shot a Gazelle.  What revelry there will be.  First shot at 400yrds up in the mountain.  Everyone was very happy about this.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

15th - 17th August, 1947 - After the Cinema, Ron abstains from the drinking but does allow himself a little gamble!... and then experiences Eid!

Friday, 15th August, 1947

As usual very little work.  I did the weekly returns and I returned to my law studying.

This evening in the company of Sgt Blanks, B/C’s Randal & Duck, I went to Nablus to the Club Cinema.  The film was “Waterloo Bridge
A very good story.  As they had two projectors in action instead of just one there were very few breaks for a change.  Therefore the show ended much earlier than usual in fact at 9.30.  This left time for drinks for the drinking fraternity.  The Sarg noted with concern that the S.P & his three chums got through a whole bottle of whisky.  Randal in a semi state seemed very concerned at my abstinence possibly because he had no real claim on a pint from me.  We did not have to walk back this time but had to endure Randal cursing the ?Ashi discooking? Etc etc
Sometimes Dad's handwriting defeats me... it looks
like maybe he had had a drink or two after all!

Saturday, 16th August, 1947
Plenty of Law again today.

The tennis court was made today before the Sarg got to hear of our activity.

This evening I played chess and after a game of cribbage – not for money but for two orangeades, a meat pie & two pieces of cake.

Sunday, 17th August, 1947
The Wogs end their month of Ramadan to-day.

Several times this morning I was greeted with “Merry Christmas” as the feast they have today is equivalent to our Christmas.

11th - 14th August, 1947 - For an adventure, nothing much is happening at the moment and the swotting is a struggle!

Monday, 11th August, 1947
Nothing very exciting happens here at any time.
We are rather looking forward to the Army as it will be some change in local conditions.

Tuesday, 12th August, 1947

A Major in the Welsh Guards turned up today to look the district over before sending his troops here.
“Blanko” asked him of his intentions, he replied “Too damn hot here for them” so it looks as if that’s off.  
Masoud Shedadeh did not apparently let the Palestinians know about these troop movements as the wireless operator, a peculiarly bad-tempered Palestinian, came and asked me if I knew anything about it.  I told him it was probably too damned hot for them here.  This apparently satisfied him.

Wednesday, 13 August, 1947
I went to Court this morning, was bored stiff with the many R.T.O. contraventions the fines fore which have very little affect on the finees I fancy as the majority were smirking rather contemptuously as they left the dock.

Our Prisoner accused of robbery down the Ghore was dismissed as the Magistrate saw reason to doubt the truth of the complainant’s statement.

Thursday, 14th August, 1947
Bags of Law again today

Why can’t those words like “Dwelling House” “Law” “Public” etc have shorter definitions.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

7th - 10th August, 1947 - (That word again...) Expected inspection doesn't occur... Ron summoned as a police witness... and the Army arrival imminent.

Thursday, 7th August, 1947
I was left alone this evening while the rest of the Foot were out on a patrol.  Joseph came over for me & I went and played cards with them.  I was very amused tonight to hear one of the Palestinians tell another in similar tone & words as we use when one member of our mess tells another to control his language in front of a “Wog”.

Friday, 8th August, 1947
Nothing spectacular happened today we were told to expect A.S.P so we all got dressed up in uniform & boots & even got our rifles out of our wardrobes where they are kept locked except on visits such as this.

He did not turn up however which pleased us and annoyed us at the same time.

Saturday, 9th August, 1947
Nothing very exciting today.

I was given a summons to appear as a witness on the 23rd, in a robbery case.  I only have to give witness that I was present when the accused voluntarily gave his evidence.

Sunday, 10th August, 1947
I dressed up in civvies today just so that I will not loose the touch of the finer materials.

We were told today that very shortly a party of troops are going to pitch a camp just outside & go on manoeuvres over the area to get to know it in case of trouble.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Glossary and Abbreviations

I'll add to this list as things come up but don't hesitate to leave a comment if you have any questions... There's a direct link to this post in the right hand sidebar.

B.C and B.C."I"  - British Constable and British Constable Intelligence

£P - the abbreviation used for the Palestine Pound the currency introduced under the British Mandate.  £P1 was made up of 1000mils

R.T.O. - Road Traffic Offence... even in the turmoil of the conflict the majority of policing activity was of a fairly mundane nature.

T.A.C. -  Temporary Additional Constable - local officers drawn predominantly from the Jewish community

Taggart or TegartConcrete fortress-style police stations designed by Sir Charles Tegart

In the diaries Ron refers to Rural and Urban denoting, obviously, different stations and the zones for which they were responsible.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

4th - 6th August, 1947 - More studies planned, and some recreation...

Monday, 4th August, 1947
Sgt Blanks asked me if I would like to take my Pro. Pay exam.  I had not intended to but now it seems I am not to be transferred I think I will try it.

It would be almost impossible if I were in Nablus owing to the never ceasing pressure of work.  If I am to stay here and I work very hard at it I may be lucky.  So much of the law has to be memorised.

Today was nothing like a Bank Holiday here.

Tuesday, 5th August, 1947
Tennis this morning with Ryan on the tarmac before the Station front door.
We have no court but knock the ball with full force at each other.  This gives us plenty of exercise and is about the only way we can exercise except by going for walks.

Dear sarg. won’t let us put a chalk marked court for a form of deck quotes [quoits?] which we have obtained from Welfare complete rings & net.
I think it is probably safe to post this address now, after 63 years.
I don't know whether Cousin Sylvia ever engaged in correspondence!

Wednesday, 6th August, 1947
Swotted some law today or at least started to then Mohd.  Kanan came in and of course engaged me in conversation.

I have sent a letter of his with an introductory one of mine to Cousin Sylvia who wants an Arab to add to the 13 other pen pals.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

28th July - 3rd August, 1947 - Ron is disappointed in his transfer hopes. He hangs with the locals...

Monday, 28th - Wednesday 30th July, 1947
No Entries

Thursday, 31st July, 1947
We were paid today which pleased everyone and especially the Canteen Manager to whom a sum of £30 was owing by all but fo[u]r of us.

Inspector Coles told me to come to Nablus tomorrow.

I packed my case and box and was all ready by this evening.
Sgt Blanks asked me if I would like to go up this evening but while we were discussing this a W.T. message came telling me that the transfer was cancelled.

I don’t know why this is but guess it is because the B/C I at the Urban is on leave & my relief was detailed to do his job.

Friday, 1st August, 1947
Well I must settle down to Tubas again.

This evening all the Foot except me went to the cinema.
I joined the Palestinians and played my first game of cards with them.
15’s it was called very much like Rummy, everyone was dealt 14 cards and one had 15.  He threw one away the next man had a chance of it or the down-turned pile to make blocks of 3 or 4 or runs of any suit.

Saturday, 2nd August, 1947
The truck went to Nablus and when it came back I was told that the B/C “I” in the Rural is going on a Fingerprint Identification Course.

Sunday, 3rd August, 1947
Was very quiet today as usual nothing to do.
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