Patrolling on horseback

I used to patrol to Ein Gedi on horse (17 strong, 2 B/Cs, 15 Arab) from Jerusalem or Bethlehem and it used to take me two days there and two back providing I had no hold-ups en route. The track was across the Arab Sawhra, Arab Abidieh, Arab Tamamra and the Arab Rashidia; the last were the ones whose land enclosed the area of the Dead Sea shore where the Ein is. Harold Jennings did not say anything of the enormous marble pillars and the Roman ruins which lie in the vicinity of the Ein; nor does he speak of the Ein el Doe which lies just behind it to the left of the track going down. The track which used to be the Roman carriageway is now (last time for me was '46) the track at the top of the climb, still shows the old Roman carriageway by large white stones about 2 ft. square and about eight yards apart. The way itself is wide enough to ride four horses abreast quite easy and it runs westward towards Bethlehem, and is plainly seen for at least an hours ride along it. I used to get there about three times a year, unless anything untoward happened which called for the attention of the Mounted Section. There were no ways, repeat, no ways, that foot men could get there unless to walk or go by boat along the Dead Sea; a long job.

On one occasion I had quite a battle down at the Ein itself. There were four Khalilis with a large flock of sheep that they had 'acquired', also they had four rifles and ammunition to help to keep them. I dismounted the Mounties at the top of the very high face of cliffs, left a B/C named Wright and a good Arab with the horses, then with the rest split into two parties. I slipped down the cliff face and asserted the rule of law in no uncertain terms. When we had them tied up, Wright brought the horses down the main track by tying reins and stirrups and walking the horses nose to tail, and the Arab police keeping them up close. It was a good morning's work.

Mounted Police Patrol

As for the Arab Kaakneh that Harold spoke of (NB in earlier newsletter), they lived just over into the Hebron area. They were blighters. I shot it out with them on at least three occasions while I was in Jericho and that area. They used to come up to the river crossings in the Jericho and Jiflick area, about six at a time and ambush the crossings as highwaymen, or cattle raiders, or camel thieves; in fact anything that came their way. They were past masters in those arts and every one had a good rifle and plenty of ammo with a small bag of flour to make bread and a little salt. Each man was as tough and active as old ship leather. The score at the finish was on my side, one dead, one wounded, one captured and one went down the river and I could not find him. All this was over a period of about four years but wherever I met a Kaabneh, I stripped him and searched him, and wherever I found their tents I went through them with a fine tooth comb, but I have to admit they were good hardy men in any kind of action.

Buck Adams. Palestine Police News Letter No.105, December 1976.