The diaries of Ronald Baldwin, British Constable in the Palestine Police Force from 1946 to the termination of the British Mandate in 1948.
Saturday, 28 December 2013
23rd & 24th January, 1948 - Guard duties continue and the troubles come close at hand.
A rather cold day, last night’s rains having turned the paths and
yards of the camp into a mud field.
Further rain held off until the evening when we commandeered the P.W.D.
Night Watchman’s hut while that person sat in the rear seat of a car parked in
the Workshop Garage. We realise now what
a “Hole watcher’s” life is like in England. Like that
fraternity we have a brazier which we feed at regular intervals and which makes
the army guards on the road block outside feel very jealous.
I received a parcel of papers from home today. They are always appreciated and are leaped
upon by all who see them. Reading forms my favourite “escape” from this life of
guards. Since I have been in the country
I have obtained quite a number of books and have formed a habit of reading
which I hope I shall never lose. A book
club to which I belong sends me a book every month and these are of the type I
Today being the Jewish Holy Day not one of them arrived for work
today. Therefore the only person on duty
at the P.W.D. with ourselves was an Arab Watchman who braves the ‘dangers’ and
therefore as he says, defies the Jews.
The Abyssinian Embassy, Jerusalem -1948
Just before when we were awaiting the arrival of our reliefs I was stood inside
the Work yards talking to the Arab Guard.
My fellow Guards had been outside the gate and I saw them move away up
the road to a corner which affords a view along a purely Jewish Street. I then saw some Abyssinian boys from their
Embassy nearby, go jabbering past the gate.
I managed to understand the words blood & stone & the watchmen
told me that something was amiss at the top of the road. I went up there where I saw one of my mates
who told me that the other had just taken an Arab to the P.W.D. offices
suffering form serious bleeding from a knife wound in the neck and from stones,
these being sustained from the Jews as he passed along their street alone. My mates arrived too late to prevent it. I heard later today that the Arab died.