Although I have now forgotten many incidents that happened, there are some which will always stick in my memory. The smell of death for example is something which is quite distinct, particularly in a warm climate. It seemed to hang about the scene of a bombing or shooting for many hours after the event.
When a terrorist was captured, if he was wounded we would have to guard him in Hospital, and when recovered escort him to the Military Court where he would be sentenced to life imprisonment. In most cases they would laugh at the sentence saying they would be free when the British left.
One day a male terrorist was killed in our area and taken to the local mortuary. Because in the past the I.Z.L. had retrieved a body from a mortuary, it was decided to put a guard on the body. Guess who was selected ? I was on Late turn (2pm to 10pm), so mounted guard armed with a Bren gun and a revolver.
When I first arrived, the Mortuary Attendant was commencing the Post Mortem. He invited me to watch but I declined, having just eaten my lunch ! The stench of death was very apparent. After completing his post mortem he left and I was all alone.
The mortuary was a new building still not completed and was in a very isolated position. The one redeeming feature was the fact that it was on a hill and I had a good view of the road below. I set the Bren gun up in that direction.
As darkness descended two Orthodox Jews, who I had been warned would come, appeared to carry out their custom of not leaving a body unattended during the night. There being no electricity in the building they lit a candle at each end of the body which was lying naked on the slab, which created an eerie atmosphere. I took up my position with the Bren gun so as not to be distracted by them.
Hearing a rustle in the bushes I drew my revolver with finger on the trigger. One of the Jews had gone to relieve himself. He was lucky that one jittery 19 year old didn't shoot. He was quite oblivious as to how near death he had been !
Soon after 10pm my relief arrived and, to my astonishment picked up the Bren gun saying that the Inspector had decided it was too dangerous to leave a guard just for a dead body !!!