PP badge link to homepage The Palestine Police during the British Mandate

Intro Section 1
1914-1920
Section 2
1920-1923
Section 3
1923-1927
Section 4
1927-1929
Section 5
1930-1936
Section 6
1936-1937
Section 7
1937-1939
Section 8
1939-1943
Section 9
1943-1945
Section 10
1945-1946
Section 11
Jan-May 1947
Section 12
May-Nov 1947
Section 13
Dec 1947-April 1948
Section 14
Evacuation 1948
Stand Down
July 1948

 Section 8 

Tasks facing the Palestine Police at the Start of WW2

i. Palestine Police at Start of WW2

ii. After Dunkirk

iii. OP Final Fortress

iv. Police Involvement in Syria and Iraq

v. The Lehi and Avraham Stern

vi. Britain's Break with the Palmach

Although Britain did not officially declared War on Germany until September 3rd 1939,during the last week in August preparations for war were in full swing and the public began to panic. There was a run on the banks and people started to hoard non-perishable goods. The government responded on Sunday 27th August, by decreeing a three day Bank holiday.

The provisional Executive of the Jewish Agency and the Jewish National Council came to the aid of the authorities and assured Palestine Jewry via the Palestine Post and Jewish language newspapers that essential supplies were adequate and there was reason for neither hoarding nor profiteering. It added that competent bodies were prepared for war needs and were giving special attention to Air Raid Precautions.

On the evening of the same Monday Raymond Cafferata and other high ranking Haifa police officers took part in a slow moving motor cavalcade with dipped headlights inspecting the efficiency of citizens' blackout from Carmel Avenue in the German Colony to Carmel Point.

traffic police post-war Traffic Police were posted at various points in Western Haifa, stopping cars carrying headlights, while members of the Volunteer Fire Brigade made the rounds of Kiryat Eliahu and Bat Galim, checking that residents were cooperating.
(The photo shows Palestine traffic police.)

On September 1st in a Palestine Gazette Extraordinary Supplement, Sir Harold MacMichael, High Commissioner for Palestine announced he had appointed Christopher Wilson Brown, the Director of Public Works, to take charge of requisitioning materials needed for Palestine's defence. The first of many lists of materials that could no longer be sold to the public appeared on September 2nd. It consisted of the following items:
Galvanized corrugated iron sheets. Galvanised, flat iron sheets. Black flat iron sheets. Zinc sheets. Boiled steel joists, angles and channels. Mild steel rods, bars and flats. Steel mesh reinforcement. Steel and iron mesh fencing. Expanded metal reinforcement. Roofing felt and fabric. Rope and cordage. Steel wire rope. Timber baulks, scantlings and boards. Wire netting. Waterproof canvas. Wire plain. Wire barbed..

All stocks of these had to be reported to Wilson Brown. These lists, of course, meant extra administration tasks for the police.

Templer schoolchildrenAnother job for the police, on declaration of war, was rounding up enemy nationals. Although German Templers had been eligible for Palestinian citizenship by right of residence since 1923, the majority had chosen to remain German citizens. Their young men had already left Palestine, having been conscripted into the German army. The rest of the Templers were now declared enemy nationals. The police had to organize transport to take men of military age to a prison camp near Acre and women, children and old men to four rural German Colonies, now transformed into internment camps.
(The photo, on the right, shows a German Templer school in 1936

An Arab delegation headed by Ragheb Bey Nashashibi, leader of the moderate Arab Defense Party, called on High Commissioner Sir Harold A. MacMichael to assure him that the majority of Palestinian Arabs were loyal to Britain and would support the Government in the current international crisis. The Husseini Party , however, were already negotiating with the Nazis.A1 Jihad, organ of the Arab extremists, asserted that a new war would enable the Arabs to profit from their experiences

Other Arabs were not so definite. Falastin,the principal Palestine Arabic daily, declared that the Arabs would join up with the powers serving their political interests and would incline toward those democracies, which fulfilled Arab demands.

There was one compensation to the police for all the extra work war entailed. With the outbreak of World War II, Palestine became more peaceful than it had been for years. The Arab Rebellion was at an end, both Haganah and Irgun promised to support the allies against the Germans even though Dr. David Bukspan, Palestine leader of the Zionist-Revisionists had been interned in Sarafend concentration camp for a year under the emergency regulations and most of the Irgun leaders were already in detention. Some members Of Irgun were not in agreement with supporting the British. In 1940, under the leadership of Avraham Stern they created a new resistance group known as the LEHI which started negotiations with the Germans, offering to fight the British if the Germans allowed all Jewish nationals in Europe to settle in Europe however, the Germans refused to negotiate.

While everything seemed so peaceful many British members of the Force felt their talents were wasted on administrative tasks that could be accomplished by civilians. The Palestine Police Force in the days before the war was recruited on a contract of service for so many years. Normally at the end of that contract they would have been free to join the armed services of their choice. The Inspector General of Police, while fully appreciating the feelings of his men, could not afford to denude the Force of large numbers of experienced police officers, so that contract of service was cancelled, and men had to remain in the Palestine Police Force as conscripts. Over 300 men, however, were so determined to return to their former regiments, if they had been in the army, or join the RAF or Royal Navy that they took the only way out available. They committed technical military offences, and, after being tried by Court Martial, sentenced to imprisonment and dismissed the Service, served terms of imprisonment initially for one month but increasing to a year as the short sentences proved no deterrent.

Next- After Dunkirk