Much of the content of this site comes from recordings of Palestine veterans talking about their experiences and books by or about British troops and administrators. To give context I have used books written by Palestinian refugees as well as Jewish immigrants who, whilst recounting amazing stories of their journeys to Palestine, rarely mention the people they were forcing out of their own homeland or what happened to the owners of the houses they have moved into and properties they have acquired. Finally, there is the inevitable other category, and a few on the general politics. Contacting people for permission to quote is difficult and many of the books are very old. Quotations will be immediately removed if asked. Please let me know. Most of the photographs are from Palestine Veterans and some from eBay. If no source is quoted then it's unknown.
British Forces and Civilians
A Captain's Mandate, Palestine 1946-1948 by Phillip Brutton; Leo Cooper 1996. The author was a Staff Officer at 1st Guards Brigade HQ in Jerusalem and describes clearly the experience of being so close to constant danger although he was also able to enjoy a good social life.
A Job Well Done, by Edward Horne; The Anchor Press, 1982. Detailed account of the Palestine Police Force from its creation in 1920 to the final Stand Down in 1948. Serving first in the Royal Artillery, the author was then with the Palestine Police from 1941 to 1946.
A Private Viewing, by WR Garrett. The Book Guild Ltd. Beautifully written account of the author's service with the Royal Sussex Regiment. The vivid descriptions of action in North Africa are memorable as are his experiences travelling throughout the Middle East.
A Reminiscence of War, 1939-1945 by James Glass. Blurb.com. Private Glass, 552 Coy RASC, disembarked in Haifa in January 1940 and went on to Sarafand. He took part in the fighting in Syria, back to Palestine and Persia then on to Alamein and Egypt. The book has many photographs.
An Active Service, The story of a soldier's life in the Grenadier Guards, SAS and SBS, 1935-58 by Richard Dorney; Helion & Company Ltd, 2005. The story of Sid Dowland who had a very active war Dunkirk, North Africa, Italy (captured and escaped), then Palestine and Malaya.
An Undistinguished Life, by Andrew Gibson-Watt; The Book Guild Ltd, 1990. This autobiography covers service with the Welsh Guards in Palestine when the author had more near misses than could have been comfortable.The author died in 2006.
Approach to Palestine by Robin Maugham; Falcon Press 1947. As a travel writer with good connections, the author paid many visits to the Middle East during and after the war. In March 1947 he was able to enter Palestine with the ID of an Arab Legion officer and saw at first hand what was happening.
Bailing with a Teaspoon Douglas V Duff (free download). Recruited into the Gendarmerie, then into the Palestine Police and the Coastguard, served until 1948, the author recounts his experiences in a most lively manner. As a Crusader scholar he usefully knew how to make a mangonel to defend his post during the Arab uprising. He went on to very successfully write over 100 boys' adventure stories. Douglas Duff biography
Biting the Bullet by Anne Yuill; Relativity 2012. The memoirs of Reg Tallentire, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, who after war service found himself in Palestine running a NAAFI gift shop and negotiating prices locally for lingerie for troops to send home.
By Sea and Land, The Story of the Royal Marine Commandos by Robin Neillands; Pen & Sword Military Classics 2004.
Call to Arms by General Sir Richard Gale, an Autobiography; Hutchinson & Co 1968. Having served in the Third Afghan War and in both World Wars, in 1946 General (Windy) Gale KCB, KBE, DSO, MC, was GOC 1st Inf Div endeavouring to somehow combat the increasing violence in Palestine. Obituary
Cordon & Search, with the 6th Airborne Division in Palestine, 1945-48 by Major General R Dare Wilson, CBE MC. As a Staff Officer in Palestine the author was well-informed as to events which he covers in detail. The book has 17 appendices which include Battle Order, Operations, Events, etc. Obituary
Desert and Delta by CS Jarvis; John Murray 1938. The author, a senior British official in Egypt in the 30s (which included the Sinai) provides a light-hearted account of the varied aspects of his duties from road-building to keeping the peace.
Dual Allegiance by Monty Green; Parapress Ltd, 1994. The author's war service began with a Sikh regiment on the North West Frontier of India before a posting to Palestine. He describes the difficulties of being a Jewish officer especially when it came to searching colonies. He went on to become involved with the beginnings of the Israeli army but finally came back to the UK.
Dugout Doggerels, John More, illustrated by Lunt Roberts; Heath Cranton Ltd, London 1919. Although the poems are about WWI, conditions in Palestine and the army were still much the same in the 40s.
Enduring the Hour, Trevor Hall. Arcturus Press 2005. The author was called up in 1945 and arrived in Palestine as a Gunner in the 1st British Infantry Division in 1946. This graphic account, full of detail, describes the daily round of serving in a hostile land.
Epitaph for an Army of Peacekeepers, British Forces in Palestine, 1945-1948; George Webb. Arcturus Press 2005. During the war the author worked amongst the Jewish population of Stamford. In 1946, keen to be part of those who liberated the camps, he volunteered at 17 and went to Palestine with the Royal Artillery. The book includes memories from others, a Roll of Honour and list of incidents and fatalities.
For Love of Justice, The Life of a Quixotic Soldier, John Baynes. Quartet Books, 1997. Biography of Major Derek Cooper, OBE, MC, a gentleman of courage and integrity. After service with the Irish Guards in Palestine he spent most of his life in the cause of refugees and he and his wife, Pamela, battled tirelessly in Lebanon to save the lives of children. After the Sabra and Shatila massacre he became the first Chairman of Medical Aid for Palestinians. | Obituary
Forgotten Conscripts, Eric Lowe. Arcturus Press 2006. The author served with the RASC in Haifa, working closely with both Palestinian Arabs and Jews. Adding many anecdotes from fellow veterans to his own experiences, he has written one of the few books on Palestine by ordinary soldiers.
Fly I Must, A story of Adventure and Travel, LA Bramley; Priory Books, undated. The author, an air gunner, experienced war in the Western Desert, Egypt and a short time in Palestine. He became well-acquainted with desert life and all its discomforts.
Having Been a Soldier, Lt Col Colin Mitchell; Hamish Hamilton 1969. Although best known for his exploits in Aden, 'Mad Mitch' also served with the Argylls in Palestine where he was unfortunately wounded by 'friendly' fire.
How I got my Knees Brown, The Overseas Experiences of an Erk (RAF Serviceman) from Devonshire during World War Two, Rupert C Extence; Woodfield Publishing 2011. The author spent four years in Middle East postings, including HQ Levant, Jerusalem, where he was involved in collecting photographs from refugees to help plan raids like that of the Dambusters. In Palestine he fired his only shot of the war not on a range though hit nothing.
It is Bliss Here, Letters Home 1939-1945, Myles Hildyard MC; Bloomsbury Publishing, 2005. Witty and entertaining account of the life of a rather privileged cavalry officer (Sherwood Rangers) who seems to have known all the 'right' people. He was in Palestine initially but then served in Crete from where he escaped. He went on to fight at Alamein and take part in D-Day, Obituary
Kalanyot, Letters from Palestine; Published by Alan Mead, 2014. Private Mead, 3rd Batt, 6 Para, served in Palestine in a number of camps in from 1945-48, and finally in the Haifa enclave before withdrawal. Some people called the Paras, 'Kalanyot' which means poppy (or anemone), a red flower with a black heart - a reference to their red berets. An alternative meaning offered by a Jewish girl to Pte Mead was, 'the flower that stinks'.
My Middle East Campaigns, Brian Robb; Collins 1944. Whilst these entertaining cartoons relate to Egypt and the Western Desert many are relevant to life in Palestine.
My Trinity, Eric Howard; The Pentland Press Limited, 1999. After service with the Palestine Police, the author had a distinguished career in police and intelligence services in Germany and the Far East.
Palestine Betrayed, A British Palestine Policeman's Memoirs (1936-1948), Robin H Martin; Seglawi Press, 2009. Serving all over Palestine from 1936 to 1948, the author got to know the land and its people very well.
Palestine Police Old Comrades' Association Newsletters. Quotes and extracts by kind permission of the Association.
Palestine Scrapbook, Edited by Eric Lowe. Editions 1-15 are held in the Middle East Centre at St Antony's College, Oxford.
Policing Palestine 1939:, Book One: by Tom Barker and James Barker; 2014; Kindle eBook. Private Barker served in Palestine with the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders from 1939 to 1940 and saw the violence of the Arab Rebellion. Books Two and Three follow his experiences through the Western Desert, Crete and being a POW in Germany.
Straight from the Horsa's Mouth, Ted Hold; Trafford Publishing 2006. Ted Hold was in 6th Airborne Division Signals. Troop-carrying Horsa gliders were much used in WWII.
The End of the British Mandate for Palestine, 1948. The diary of Sir Henry Gurney, Motti Golani; St Antony's Series, Palgrave Macmillan 2009. Covering just one year, the diary shows in great detail what it was like to live in Jerusalem at such a dangerous time with bullets flying all over the place. Motti Golan provides his own commentary to the diary entries.
The First and Only Militia, WT Greenfield, Blackie & Co, 2006. An entertaining account of Bill Greenfield's mostly RASC war service in Europe and the Middle East. Being evacuated from France, then Greece and then Crete all in one year he felt was enough and he was glad to get some quiet clerical work in Egypt and Palestine.
The War (I did it my way), 7674492 Private (Acting Sergeant) Dannatt. Norman's mum told him to go down to the Music Shop and buy copies of all the popular songs of the day. "Then I had to learn to play them on the piano off by heart. As Mum said, 'When they find out you can play the piano, you'll have a better war of it.'" And that was how it turned out.
The General Service Medal, "Palestine 1945-48", David Buxton; Jedburgh Limited (date unknown). This booklet includes detail on the Order of Battle, Honours and Awards as well as a Casualty Roll. It covers the British Army only.
The Honour and the Shame, Bravery has no Rules, John Kenneally VC, Headline 1991, 2008 edition. John Kenneally tells an action-packed account of his time as an Irish Guardsman serving in North Africa and then Italy where at Anzio he won his VC. He then joined the 1st Guards Parachute Battalion and went to Palestine.
The Levant Trilogy, Olivia Manning; Penguin Books 1982. Three volumes: The Danger Tree, The Battle Lost and Won, The Sum of Things. Olivia Manning and her husband, RD Smith (an Anthony Blunt recruit), arrived in Egypt as refugees from Rumania and Greece. In 1942 her husband was appointed to the Palestine Broadcasting Station in Jerusalem and she worked for the Palestine Post. Her books, though fiction are partly autobiographical and paint a graphic picture of life in the Middle East.
The Life and Campaigns of General Sir Hughie Stockwell, from Norway through Burma to Suez, Jonathon Riley; Pen & Sword Military, 2006. Arriving in Palestine in September 1947, Gen Stockwell had the very difficult task of overseeing the smooth withdrawal of troops. In the rapidly escalating violence he did everything possible to ensure this with least loss of the lives of British troops.
The Royal Navy and the Palestine Patrol, Ninian Stewart; Frank Cass Publishers, 2002; Naval Staff Histories series. Detailed and unemotional account of how the Royal Navy endeavoured to prevent illegal immigrants landing in Palestine.
The Sum of Things, David Wilson, MBE; Spelmount 2001. After service in India, the author was in action in Burma, Palestine and then Korea. In Palestine he unexpectedly had to take command of a Battalion of Argylls in Jerusalem after the US press complained about their robust treatment by the previous CO. This highly respected senior officer had not liked the US reporters endangering his soldiers after an explosion. Obituary
The Trumpet in the Hall, Bernard Fergusson; Collins 1971. Brigadier Fergusson (Lord Ballantrae), Black Watch, had a very active regimental career: with Staff in the Middle East, Chindits in Burma and then in the Palestine Police. Following a family tradition, he became Governor General of New Zealand in 1962. Photos
By Eastern Windows,, Delia Khano; self-published in Oxford, 1985. As the British wife of a Palestinian Christian refugee (his family survived two forced exiles), the author has experienced the life of Palestinian Arabs from the inside. She and her husband, Gabriel, own the Guiding Star tour company.
Caught in Between, Riah Abu El-Assal; SPCK, 1999. After fleeing with his family to Lebanon in 1948, the author and his sister risked returning to Nazareth in 1949 and stayed. He became Bishop of Jerusalem.
Once Upon a Time in Jerusalem, Sahar Hamouda; Garnet Publishing 2010. The author was a daughter of the Fitiani family who had lived for centuries in the Dar al Fitiani overlooking the sacred Haram al Sharif. She was a student in Beirut in 1948 and so was unable to return home when the Palestinian Arabs were driven out.
The Disinherited, Journal of a Palestinian Exile, Fawaz Turki; Monthly Review Press, 1972. The author's family fled Haifa when he was a young boy. He describes the life refugees endured after exile from Palestine.
to be an arab in israel,, Fouzi El-Asmar; The Institute for Palestine Studies, Beirut, 1978. The author's father worked for the Palestine Railways and the family was Greek Orthodox. They, like many Palestinian Arabs had Jewish neighbours and friends, the adults of whom were called 'Uncle' or 'Aunt' by the children. They didn't flee but witnessed the Nakba and then experienced discrimination under Zionism.
Legal and illegal immigrants
Building Dreams,, Efraim Margolin; lulu.com, 2011. Fleeing the Ukraine, the Margolin family eventually arrived in Palestine in 1921. The author became an engineer and joined the Haganah. The family didn't stay in Palestine.
Letters from Jerusalem 1947-1948, Zipporah Porath; Temple Israel, USA; 1998. The author, a keen Zionist, came to Palestine to study at the Hebrew University and became involved in events. She joined the Haganah and experienced the Siege of Jerusalem.
No Balm in Gilead, Sylva M Gelber, OUP Canada, 1989. The author, a Canadian, went enthusiastically to Palestine in 1932. She worked as a social worker and then for the Palestine Government (she won an equal pay dispute with the Colonial Office) for 15 years. In 1947 she went home, disappointed at the way Zionism had evolved.
None is too many, Canada and the Jews of Europe 1933-1948; Irving Abella and Harold Troper, Random House New York 1983.
The Secret Roads, Jon & David Kimche; Secker & Warburg, 1955. The organization and method behind transporting illegal immigrants to Palestine.
Underground to Palestine, and Reflections Thirty Years Later, IF Stone; Pantheon Books New York; Reprint of 1945 edition with new introduction and epilogue, 1978.
Where is Home? Stories from the Life of a German-Jewish Emigré, Gad Granach; atara press 2010.
A Naturalist in Palestine, Victor Howells; Andrew Melrose Ltd; 1956. The author travelled around Palestine in 1947/8 but, strangely, makes no mention at all of the situation. His camera kit and film was stolen at the end of his trip and the book is illustrated with his drawings.
Buda's Wagon, a brief history of the car bomb, Mike Davis; Verso 2007. The author traces the development of car bombs from when the anarchist, Mario Buda, filled a horse-drawn wagon with dynamite to today's heinous weapons. Chapter 4 covers the pioneering work by Zionist gangs in the use of car and barrel bombs.
By Blood and Fire, The Attack on the King David Hotel, Thurston Clarke; Hutchinson, 1981. Very detailed hour-by-hour account of the bombing and its aftermath.
Bedouin Doctor, The Adventures of a German in the Middle East, Herbert Pritzke; Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1957. The author, a doctor in the Afrika Korps, escaped from a POW camp in Egypt at the end of the war, spent time with a Bedouin tribe then joined the ALA via the Muslim Brotherhood. He escaped from Jaffa when it was about to fall and eventually took a job in Saudi Arabia where he witnessed slavery and the arbitrary and absolute power of local emirs.
Empire Warriors, BBC series. Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4.. The programme is mostly about the bombing of the King David Hotel rather than British troops. The BBC give a surprising amount of time to the perpetrators and their excuses.
Notes from Ramallah, 1939. Nancy Parker McDowell; Friends United Press, Richmond, Indiana USA, 2002. In her entertaining letters home, Nancy Parker paints a graphic account of life in the rebel town of Ramallah where she taught at the Friends Mission School. The teachers had a good relationship with both the locally-based Yorkshire Regiment and the rebels so have their own viewpoint.
Seven Passports for Palestine, Theo Larsson; Longfield Publishing Co, 1995. Born in Jerusalem into the Swedish Christian group based in the American Colony, Larsson went into business and was the Swedish Consul during the final years of the Mandate. He knew many of those involved on all sides.
The Politics behind the events
Erased from Space and Consciousness, Israel and the Depopulated Palestinian Villages of 1948; Noga Kadman; Indiana University Press, 2015. A detailed study of how the villages and the memory of them was, and is being, eradicated. The ethnic cleansing began before the Mandate ended.
Publish it Not, Christopher Mayhew & Michael Adams; Signal Books, Oxford, 2006 (reprint of 1975 edition). Description of how the media consistently mis-informs the public about Palestine and Israel and how journalists are pressured to toe the line.
Righteous Victims, a history of the Zionist-Arab conflict, Benny Morris, 1999.
The Plight of the Palestinians, A Long History of Destruction, William Cook; Palgrave Macmillan 2010.
The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, Ilan Pappe; Oneworld Publications, 2006. With copious references to original documents, Ilan Pappe describes how the Palestinians were/are forced into exile and their land and property stolen. The story of Plan Dalet (Plan D).
The Palestine Triangle, The Struggle Between the British, the Jews and the Arabs 1935-1948; Futura Publications 1980. This detailed and clear account of the Mandate explains just how and why it all ended in tears. There are many books on the subject but I think this remains the best. He manages to cover everything without flannel or rant.
The books were obtained from a wide variety of sources including: Abe Books | Airborne Shop | Alibris | Amazon | Better World Books | Blurb | eBay | Naval & Military Press | Ogma Books | Oxfam | Pen & Sword | World of Books
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