The British Mandate to administer Palestine became official in 1923. The British government withdrew its troops and made a squadron of the RAF responsible for the military security of Palestine. Lt-Colonel Bramley retired and was replaced by A.S. Mavrogordato.
A.S.Mavrogordato, Esq OBE, who had previously served in Cyprus and Sierra Leone, took over from Lt. Col. Bramley as director of Public Security in 1923. He had previously served in the Cyprus and Sierra Leone Police Forces.
In 1923, the Director of Customs and Ports decided to form a new a Port Police and Coast guard to be raised from naval members of the Gendarmerie. He put Gendarmerie Captain David Wainwright in charge of the new project.
Wainwright decided to beef up the existing Palestinian Port Police by seconding four British Gendarmerie,all with maritime experience, headed by Sergeant Douglas Valder Duff.
Duff,( Photo on left), who had been a midshipman during WW1 and post-war, had led boat raids against groups of fugitive IRA members seeking sanctuary in Irish coastal villages inaccessible by road
The British foursome drove to Haifa in a T model Ford tender, with written orders to requisition the two launches, Progress and Welcome.
This did not sit well with either the harbour master or the Superintendent of Customs. Luckily, however, Duff got on well with Bash Shawish Redwan Zaroubi and the customs police.
For some reason, the British Gendarmerie, based by the Kaisersee at the tip of the German Colony refused to accommodate colleagues who were integrating with a Palestinian unit, so Sergeant Duff set up his HQ in a disused army hospital hut without rations for his men or petrol for the Ford. He overcame all problems with imaginative unorthodox methods.
In collaboration with the existing Palestinian Port Police, he commandeered the two launches and successfully intercepted smugglers of tobacco and hashish. On one occasion he went undercover in Beirut to entrap a drug smuggling ring.
Before long smugglers were being arrested on a regular basis and fishery laws were being obeyed.
Since the end of the First World War there had been a huge increase in the number of Zionist immigrants into Palestine. Many of these were put into quarantine when they arrived. The Port Police had the task of supervising the tented quarantine camp beside the River Kishon where conditions were harsh.
The powers-that-be in Jerusalem were so satisfied with Duff's work that they gave him a new hut as his HQ, and promoted him to assistant inspector. They allocated him a British Sergeant to undertake clerical duties ashore.
(Most of the Material for the articles on the early Port Police came from "Bailing with a Teaspoon" by Douglas V. Duff) This work can now be found online at https://archive.org/stream/.../bailingwithateas012270mbp_djvu.tx
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