The diaries of Ronald Baldwin, British Constable in the Palestine Police Force from 1946 to the termination of the British Mandate in 1948.
Sunday 16 February 2014
10th & 11th April, 1948 - Weapons returned in Haifa and Ron is impressed by S.S. Samaria.
We had to be up early this morning to
complete all that had to be done and be ready for leaving at 8a.m.
A reduced convoy set off, for the heavy
trucks had continued to Haifa on the 8th.
We had difficulty in finding a road to Haifa for the two main roads
have been blown up in local Arab-Jewish tussles. Eventually by going a long way out of the
normal route and even in one place off the beaten track we did get through.
The Jews where they did not want to close
the road near a settlement, “lumped” it so that vehicles could still use the
road but were forced to travel at a very slow pace.
Initially a luxury cruise ship, Samaria carried passengers around the world. After serving as a troopship during the war, she later carried immigrants to Canada
In Haifa we straightway handed in
our rifles and ammunition which we were glad to lose, then we joined a huge
queue to receive embarkation cards & mess deck places.
We collected our small luggage and boarded a
landing barge which took us out to the 20,000 ton S.S.Samaria.
Last afternoon we left Haifa behind in a cloudy mist
and turned away from Palestine wondering if it would be
The ship is much larger and better than the
one I came out on. We are sleeping in
hammocks with our N.C.O.’s all on the same mess deck. We dine with the military personnel in the
sergeant’s mess. The food is excellent,
better than I have had for a long time.
Last night my friend and I slept on deck in
our hammocks last night. It rained during the night but we were comfortable
in our cover.
This morning we were up by 5.30a.m. and spent the day walking the decks and reading a little.
The swell has been only very slight but
already several of the passengers have been sick.