Attack at Petah Tiqva - British Forces in Palestine

Official Report of Terrorist Attack near Petah Tiqva

9/10 SEPTEMBER 1946

At 2300 hours 9 September 1946, while at 6 A.D.T.C. Petah Tiqva, I received a signal from 127 Para Fd Amb instructing me to proceed to 2 Para Bde HQ by midnight. I confirmed this with 2 Para Bde HQ and was leaving at 23 15 hours when a further signal was received postponing arrival at 2 Bde to 0030 hours 10 September.

While checking out at Guardroom Petah Tiqva at 2330 hours, I noticed tracer bullets coming from direction of main road Lydda-Haifa. I warned guard to take cover. The alarm was sounded and an armed patrol left the camp. At midnight I left Petah Tiqva 6 A.D.T.C. in my staff car and at junction of road from camp, with Lydda-Haifa road, picked up a jeep detailed by Lt Hughes 2 Para Bn to escort me in direction of Lydda.

The jeep went ahead. After proceeding 1/2 to 3/4 mile I saw a jeep parked facing us about 200 yards ahead, with lights out, and our headlights picked up two shining objects in the road about 100 yards ahead.

We slowed down and in doing so overtook the escort jeep. There was a burst of automatic SA fire from near the parked jeep, followed by another burst a few yards from the road to the right.

During the second burst which occurred at approximately 0005 hours 10 September No 6854402 Sgt Lambert E of 7 Para Bn, in the escort was fatally wounded in the head.

I was standing through the roof of the staff car armed with a sten, at the time of the shooting. The floor of the car had been covered with sand bags before leaving 6 A.D.T.C. Captain (QM) J Webster RAMC 127 Para Fd Amb, was with me in the car.

We dismounted, and went back to attend to the wounded Sgt.

Another Sgt came towards us from the jeep ahead passing the mines on his way. He was 1525 1939 S/Sgt Arnold C who was returning to 6 A.D.T.C. and he stated he had fired directly across the road, and not in our direction.

I then ordered the staff car and jeep to turn around and return to 6 A.D.T.C. We placed the wounded man on the sand bags in the back of the car.

We had proceeded about 1/4 mile when there was another burst of automatic fire including tracer from the road to the West. I returned the fire from my Sten and the jeep ahead also opened fire.

We returned to 6 A.D.T.C. and I found Sgt Lambert was dying.

I attempted to signal 2 Bde HQ and 6 Division HQ but the telephone operator could not get through Central Exchange. Message was then sent by wireless.

At approximately 0145 hours 10 September 1946 Sgt Lambert died having been unconscious from the moment he was hit.

WO 275/42 on Palestine Encyclopaedia

Pte Le Pard was one of those called out:

"Things really started last night - nearest thing to action I've ever been in. I was on inlying picquet, that is, a bunch of bods who sleep fully dressed and in equipment ready to move out fast in jeeps if there's trouble. Well, there was trouble.

At about 11 o'clock the camp came under fire from some half-dozen machine guns. Naturally, out we toddled in our jeeps and dashed down the road in the direction from which the shooting was coming. I was in the leading jeep, sitting next to the platoon sergeant, clutching a Bren and scared as the devil.

It was a beautiful trap the Yids had arranged and we went smack into it. Some two or three hundred yards outside the camp, they opened up again, this time on us, and the sergeant next to me caught it. We stopped, piled out, and went after them - the shooting by now had stopped and it was queerly quiet. The terrorists had had their guns in the fringe of an orange grove and we made our way towards it, but when we got there the birds had flown, so after a bit of a look around we returned to camp. Sergeant Lambert was dead when we got back, he'd had it in the head." 10th September 1946, letter from Des Le Pard to his girlfriend, Barbs.

(Sergeant Lambert left a wife and two children.)