Friday, 29 November 2013

8th - 12th December, 1947 - Documentation seems to be causing all manner of problems, but the cinema show must go on...

Monday, 8th December, 1947
Nothing very exciting happened today.  I received a letter from court requesting me to return a warrant of arrest issued in 1945.  After looking for it everywhere I gave up in despair and was beginning to visualise seven days pay going when one of the Palestinians informed me that the man was wanted for civil debt.  These are held by the Station Officer.

Tuesday, 9th December, 1947
Within the last few days there has been a file purge throughout the Police world.  All files of military court cases & of a Political nature have been sorted out & sent to H.Q.  I think that the Gov. is afraid the results of these cases would be a slight on the British abroad if they were made public.

Correspondence files and the like have gone to make large bonfires in preparation for Exodus.

Wednesday, 10th December, 1947
Thursday, 11th December, 1947
No entries

Friday, 12th December, 1947
I volunteered to go on the patrol to Tulkarm to bring the Cinema Operator to the Club as he is a Jew and cannot travel without escort.  We passed three Arab road blocks.  By combining to block all the windows and doors of the “rekky” car with our bodies we managed to hide our passenger and to prove we were police.  If the Arabs had known we had a Jew on board we would no doubt have had to fight our way out.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

5th - 7th December, 1947 - A final demonstration and things start to get back to normal - Policing practices are a little questionable though.

Friday, 5th December, 1947
Today the Arabs had their last big demonstrations (for the time being) thousands came into the town and attended meetings addressed by the mayor & other notables.  We warned all the Palestinian Police to pass on the word that tomorrow all roads leading to Nablus would be checked by Police.

I went to the club Cinema to see “The Spiral Staircase.”

Saturday, 6th December, 1947
Last evening some Tulkarm Police were passing through & they met Arabs on the road firing rifles into the air.  They arrested two & brought them into the station.  We told them this was not the policy the Police were adopting (unofficially) and we quietly pushed the Arabs & their arms outside the door.
The road block was also just as farcical.  At 100yds before the block a Palestinian was posted with instructions to tell any lorries loaded as they have …

Sunday, 7th December, 1947
… been of late to turn and go back.  The populace had been well lectured by their leaders on Friday & not one lorry load tried to come into town.  If only Arabs had a leader with brains they could drive every Jew out of the country when we leave.

Today Sunday was as peaceful as ever.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

2nd - 4th December, 1947 - Arab protests at the Partition continue and the loyalties of the Arab police officers are tested...

Tuesday, 2nd December, 1947
There were even more vehicles of all types loaded above capacity with Arabs singing and shouting patriotic slogans.  Here where there are no Jews no damage has been done but in other areas many Jews were killed when Jewish buses were mobbed by the Mobs.  Bombs were thrown at some of these buses.  Many buildings were also set on fire and also Arab buildings.

Wednesday, 3rd December, 1947
Today the only accident I know of occurred just outside the town.  A lorry heavily ladened (sic) with Arabs swerved to avoid another Arab dancing in the road, it turned over & one lad was killed and many injured.  The lorry belongs to the Palestinian Sergeant in Tubas and the boy killed was his son.  This was very bad luck for the old Showeesh who is not too bad a type compared with some.

 Boundaries defined in the UN partition plan of 1947:

  Area assigned for a Jewish state;
    Area assigned for an Arab state;
    Corpus separatum of Jerusalem (neither Jewish nor Arab).

Armistice Demarcation Lines of 1949:
    Arab territory until 1967;

Thursday, 4th December, 1947
Trucks still arriving in Nablus full of singing people and flags flapping.  I counted ten rifles sticking up above the heads of the men in one truck.
Two T.A.C.s this morning were relieved at the end of their guard duties and walked down from the D.C.’s house to the station behind two B/Cs.  The B/Cs found that when they reached the station the T.A.C.s were not behind them.  They had absconded with a rifle & 50 rounds each.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

29th November - 1st December, 1947 - A sudden upsurge in criminality and dramatic local reactions to the Partition announcement...

Saturday, 29th November, 1947
I was working more at ease this morning & more or less looking for work but this afternoon three big cases came in all within a ¼ hour.  An abduction & ATT. murder[1], a Possession of Stolen Property & Illegal Entry into Palestine and the last the two cleaners in the billet were arrested as Police kit had been found in their houses.  I was in the middle of getting this straight when a letter in Arabic was passed to me.  I had it translated and it was to the effect that about 20 armed men not speaking Arabic were walking towards Sulphit.  A recky was sent out & men on the way said they had seen them.  Our people found no trace of them.

[1] Abduction and Attempted murder...

Jews celebrating the announcement of the UN backed Partition
of Palestine source: http://www.timesofisrael.

Sunday, 30th November, 1947
The first thing I was awakened with this morning was the news that the Partition had received its vote.  As this might bring about uprisings in the country a stand to was proclaimed.  Nablus was put out of bounds to all of us.  I went over to the station as normal & did some work.  Police from Jenin who did not know of the Standby were stoned in the town.  The Club above the station was put out of bounds and we all cleared out of the station.

Monday, 1st December, 1947
Foreign volunteers arriving in support of Palestinian Arabs
November 1947 source:

Several trucks & buses loaded with chanting Arabs, men & boys passed up and down the roads of the town in the Anti Partition demonstrations.  Many were armed with rifles & pistols which they fired quite liberally into the air.  They know the police will take no action during the next few days so they are taking advantage of this to show off their strength in weapons.

The exodus of many Arabs from their home territories as refugees from the violence was later to prove catastrophic when they tried to return.  The newly formed state of Israel passed punitive absentee legislation that allowed the State to expropriate traditional Arab lands in the process of judaization of the country and continues to have a powerul impact to this day.

Monday, 25 November 2013

25th - 28th November, 1947 - The calm before the storm .. too busy at work to write much, Ron still manages to get to the cinema...

Tuesday, 25th November, 1947
Lots of small jobs to do today.  Sending off letters requesting this or informing of that.
I have translated several Armed Robbery cases of late but now find that latest orders are that only those where an actual seizure of firearms is made need be translated.

Wednesday, 26th November, 1947
Thursday, 27th November, 1947
No entry

Friday, 28th November, 1947

This evening I went to the club Cinema to see “Up Goes Masie”

Sunday, 24 November 2013

21st - 24th November, 1947 - Ron's first days in his new job and a quick trip to see "Gaslight"

Friday, 21st November, 1947
My first day alone in my newly attained position.  Johnny left me very clear instructions about outstanding things so could not go far wrong today.

I even had time to go to the cinema this evening to see Bogart[1] & Bergman in “Gaslight” it was quite a good story but too long drawn out I thought.

[1]Ever the critic, Ron has actually made a mistake here in that Gaslight starred Charles Boyer not Humphrey Bogart

Saturday, 22nd November, 1947
Work is falling heavier today but so far I have kept my head above water.  Sgt Woods was decent, he did three special reports for me after I gave him the details that saved typing time for oddments.

Sunday, 23rd November, 1947
Unfortunately I could not enjoy this day as a rest day as many jobs were left over from yesterday.

Monday, 24th November, 1947
I find the mornings the busiest time.  First thing is to get the prisoners release from the lock –up typed & signed by A.S.P.  Then any new crimes reported to division for passing to the Duty Officer & onto H.Q. Jerusalem.  Then the 101 other little jobs.  All the bigger things I leave until the afternoon when everything is quiet.  The village Arab coming to the station always comes in the early morning.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

17th - 20th November, 1947 - Trouble with the power supply, a Royal Wedding and a sudden promotion...

Monday, 17th November, 1947

The engine in the Billet began to be troublesome again tonight, it is very small for the load it feeds into and of late has been off more than on.
The Prowler told us all lights would have to be put out upstairs so rather than join the ‘Boozy’ Boys downstairs I and my mates went out for a long walk

Tuesday, 18th November, 1947

This Evening I went to the cinema in the town to see Judy Garland in “The Harvey Girls,” quite good a colourful musical now and again.

Wednesday, 19th November, 1947
A lovely day again today.  The grass is covering the valleys in the short time since the first day of rain and the mountains are looking more pleasant though the colour of the rocks will not change.

Thursday, 20th November, 1947        
I think I shall always remember the Princesses (sic) wedding day.
On my part I went on the investigation of the cases this morning.  A murder in Hawara & a stone quarry man who broke his contract at Deer Sherif. [Dayr Sharaf]
In the afternoon, Bicknell & I played snooker until 6pm.
On entering the Billet I was pounced upon by various people who told me I was wanted in the Station.  I got on the phone to learn that John Conway had just received news that he was leaving for England on leave on Saturday.  I was to take over so all evening up to 10.30pm John was handing over.
I only wish I felt more confident in the responsible position I now hold.

12th - 16th November, 1947 - Lots of guns about it seems.

Wednesday, 12th November, 1947
This morning the chaps went into blues while I went into Battle dress as I was on leave when blues were issued and I have not yet received any.
They look more like Policemen now and the stiff collar makes them hold their heads erect.  It is a very smart uniform the moreso from a distance.

Thursday, 13th November, 1947
We have had plenty of work of late as about seven cases involving firearms have occurred and these have all to be translated into English and submitted to H.Q. for close of court.  That is whether the case will be tried by Civil or Military Courts.  Unless the accused is specifically charged with carrying or purchasing a firearm…(cont’d on next page)

Friday, 14th November, 1947
…the case is usually heard before a civil court.

This evening I went to the Club Cinema to see “No Leave, No Love” with Van Johnson and Pat Roe as the stars.  It was a comedy and I enjoyed it very well.

Saturday, 15th November, 1947
This afternoon I went to Beito with the Inspector & a Police Party to investigate a case of Armed Robbery.
A cow & a calf had been stolen from a little boy who had been grazing them on the mountain side.

Sunday, 16th November, 1947
The sunshine returned today but not enough to make us feel comfortable in our uniforms.

Monday, 18 November 2013

8th - 11th November, 1947 - A couple of days in court, a surprise end to the case and a change in the weather...

Saturday, 8th November, 1947
Today our Khutbeh friends with the entire Assize Court went to Beito Village.  Four B/C’s with stens , a sergeant and four mounted B/C’s formed the Guard.
The Court announced that their findings will be given on Monday.  The verdict is very much in the air.  Our case is good but the Defence have been picking on all the little things and this may go in their favour.  We must now wait to hear the result of this the first of five felony counts held against the brothers by the Police.

Sunday, 9th November, 1947
After the months of sunshine we have had the weather changed completely today giving place to biting cold winds and a thunderstorm which…(cont’d on next page)
Monday, 10th November, 1947
…did not blow itself out until the afternoon.

Today the court passed Judgement on the Kutbeh Brothers.  They were both sentenced to death.  This came as a surprise after the way the trial seemed to be swayed in their favour.

Tuesday, 11th November, 1947

We heard this morning that we go into Blues tomorrow.  I shall feel out of it in Battle dress.  At such short notice the Dobby (Launderer)[1] was crowded out with orders for pressing.

[1]"Dobby" - as Ron says the term used refers to the launderers in service to the Police Force.  "Dobhi" - a Hindu word meaning "launderer" - would seem to be the corrupted source for this.  Given an opportunity I'd ask JK Rowling if this was her inspiration for her house elf!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

5th - 7th November, 1947 - A change of beds, Ron recognises some home truths about his work and enjoys the cinema showing...

Wednesday, 5th November, 1947
I had my second cholera injection at 12am this morning and felt no effect from it at all today.
My bedstead was changed today for a very strong one.

Leaving work at 6pm I returned to the billet to find the engine had failed so that there were no lights.  Proceeding to the Hurricane Lighted dining room I carried my rifle vertically by the trigger guard on my right side.  Sgt Graham came out of the dark on my left and asked me where my rifle was.  I escaped as I had mine but many other chaps were not so fortunate & were placed on charges.  He received a bad chit over the inspection yesterday & I suspect he is trying to curry favour with the powers that be by tightening up on the arm carrying rules.

Thursday, 6th November, 1947
The Khutheh brothers are still in court.  Today the case was adjourned until Saturday when the court intends to visit the scene of the crime as the witnesses are not clear enough in their accounts of the incidents.  It is rumoured that when Conway goes the B.C.“I” in the Urban will replace him & I will go on a B.C. “I”’s course in Jerusalem.  I hope so in a way.  It would be too much for me to take over the Rural “I” branch.  A really competent man is required.  I have reached the conclusion that a B.C.“I” to be any good has to work to a terrific system & have an enormous memory for detail.


Friday,7th November, 1947
The remarkable thing about the Friday evening cinema show in the Club, is the fact that although the defects in production are a regular feature the audience never lessens in density and never fails to see the funny side when the gremlins in the sound box gives a soprano a Basso Profundo voice.

This evening Esther Williams was the attraction playing a non swimming roll in “Hoodlum Saint.”[1] 

[1] Esther Williams was a competitive swimmer as a teenager and later became a Hollywood actress - many of her roles using her swimming skills...

Friday, 15 November 2013

1st - 4th November, 1947 - Working hard in preparation for the inspection and a quick trip to court...

Saturday, 1st November, 1947
Working hard all day again.  The S.P. inspected the Charge Register this afternoon

Sunday, 2nd November, 1947
I was busy getting my hut ready this morning & evening.  With some office work in the afternoon.

Monday, 3rd November, 1947
By getting myself put down for court escort I missed the drill & inspection this morning.

In court were the Khutheh brothers charged with manslaughter in 1939.  They were arrested earlier this year.
Two English & a Palestinian Judge form the bench in this Assize Court.

The Defence council is very clear & it looks to me as though they will get off with it.
Our witnesses are rather hazy on the events that took place eight years ago.

Palestine Police on Parade
source Palestine Police Old Comrades Association 
Tuesday, 4th November, 1947
We were up at 5am this morning to put on our kit ready for A.I.G. Mr Shaw’s inspection this morning.  The parade was at 8.15am.  He inspected all personnel British foot & mounted & Palestinian Foot, Mounted and T.A.C.’s.
All those with rifles were ordered to parade again at twelve.  He next inspected our kit laid out on our beds.  Enquiring about my insect bites he made me strip my bed looking for bugs.  I knew there were none there as I had gone over my bed with a blow lamp only a few days ago.  He agreed with me that my mattress & bedstead were very poor and ordered them changed. 

Thursday, 14 November 2013

29th - 31st October, 1947 - Back to Nablus and straight back to work

Wednesday, 29th October, 1947
Up at 6am this morning complete the last part of the journey.  Half I did by truck, the rest by bus.

I arrived at the station to find [it] in a complete flap.  The “I.G.” is going to inspect the station & records on Monday and everyone is in a flat spin as all the work has to be checked for the year.

I had my first Anti Cholera injection then got weaving on the work.
Stopping only a short time for lunch I rushed back and with the Inspector, Conway, Sgt Woods & a couple of Palestinians we got through about a quarter of the work by 8pm.

Thursday, 30th October, 1947
I was at work by 7.30am this morning in order to get a lot more done.
We all worked solidly again snatching only a short period for lunch.  Conway & I worked

until 10pm, getting some food sent in from the club.

Friday, 31st October, 1947
Bags more work today, forgery doesn’t come into some of the things we have done to get straight.  Signatures & sales

Incomplete Palestine Police emblem embroidery
included in Dad's photo album
I managed to get the evening off & went to the cinema.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

27th & 28th October, 1947 - Ron is laid low with a cold, bad news and 'end of holiday blues'... but Beirut nightlife seems to help.

Monday, 27th October, 1947
I now have a cold, from where I have obtained it I don’t know.  In the club this morning I received a phone message from Dorothy saying that she was too ill to meet me this evening.
I was very disappointed at this and I was not looking forward to and evening alone.

As it happened I went out with Rich & Stan first to the “Dug Out” to hear the really brilliant pianist there then on to a cinema to see “Bedelia.”  We then went to the Kit-Kat for the latter part of the floor show then on to the “Copacabana” for a few beers.  Here we met John who having taken Liz home at 11.30 after a rather dull evening came back here when he saw the light.
We found it amusing that ‘Ajram’ the millionaire owner should favour us with so much of his attention until about 3.30 in the morning.


Tuesday, 28th October, 1947
Well the fateful day has arrived.
All packed and ready to return to the routine of Palestine life.  We had to wait for two hours as the truck had broken down.  This made us late and meant it was dark long before we reached Jenin so that we spent the night there.  I met Bob & we spent a quiet evening in the canteen.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Supplementary Post- Beirut snaps

Dad took a few shots of Beirut that I haven't used in the diary posts... here they are:
"Beirut 1947.
The mountains in
the background are
the home of the 
Winter Sports."

I have now been able to identify this building.  The wonders of Google!  It is the great Umayyad Mosque in Damascus

...but where is this Square?  Damascus or Beirut?
Harmonising horns on high speed American cars...

Ron is on the far left

The lovely Erica... the one with the 18' yacht!
Beach party with the Ladies from the British Council,...

...and now from the other side.

24th - 26th October, 1947 - Ron is troubled by the locals and his best laid plans go awry...

Friday, 24th October, 1947
The trades people (if one can call them that) are a damned nuisance.  A long line of taxis we have to pass and each one in turn asks us if we need one.  Walking along with cameras in our hand does not make us immune to the professional camera man who can’t resist pestering us.  Beggars are very numerous but not too persistent in their requests for “Bucksheesh.” 
The boy driving his flock of turkeys...
After snapping a boy driving a flock of turkeys through the street the other day he was quite put out when we would not pay him.  The traffic laws if any seem never to be complied with here and it is hell at times in a busy street, nearly mad from hearing harmonising horns on the high speed American cars.

To day we went out in the yacht but as there was veritably no wind had to give it up.  The Arab skipper was to have today off so I rather think he was a bit cunning.

Went to see “The Batman” - “More full of action than the American comic.” – We found at the end it was a serial.

Saturday, 25th October, 1947
Joe and I wandered around town this morning looking for suitable subjects to photograph.  We went to the docks where we were told that photographing was not allowed.

After lunch Erica came to the Pension and John returned bearing a note for me from Dorothy in which she said she had developed flue & would be unable to come to the dinner & dance as we had planned.
I'm guessing Erica took this one...
...and here she is - Erica...
Erica, Joe, Rich, Stan & I went out in her 18’ foot yacht and enjoyed a pleasant sail.  Joe was unfortunately sick just before we entered harbour.
I went alone to the cinema tonight and who should sit in the next seats but one, Joe & Erica.

Sunday, 26th October, 1947

I went up to see Dorothy this morning & found her still ill, no arrangements could be made for tomorrow evening.  She liked the photograph & wrote on my copy. 
"To Ron -
Here's wishing you
good luck, and many
more Happy Holidays!

This evening Joe & I went to see “Cloak & Dagger.”
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