Dec 1947-April 1948
Pages in Section 7
1938 - Arabs take the Old City
i. The Arab Revolt Continues
ii. The Irgun retaliate
iii. The Army takes over
iv. Tegart's Wall
v. Wyngate's Night Squads
vi. Arabs capture Old City
vii. White Paper
viii. Assassination of Inspectors Ralph Cairns & Robert Barker
ix. 1939 Jewish Political Scene
Despite Tegart's Wall and Wyngate's Night Squads, the Arab rebels succeeded in capturing the old city of Jerusalem and using it as a base of operations, with all gates locked from the inside. Secret passages from the Old city gave access to the not fully explored Solomon's quarries beneath the hill on which the old city was built, so siege methods did not end the occupation although they did keep the rebels from taking over New Jerusalem.
The situation in Palestine warranted a further influx of British troops but while the situation in Europe remained volatile, the British government could not spare them.
Once the Munich pact had been signed at the end of September 1938, however, Britain was free to send more troops to Palestine. These troops succeeded in putting down the rebellion before WW 2 started but the means they used were brutal, leading in a couple of cases, to massacres which horrified the police.
Once Palestinian Arabs stopped fighting the British and Jews, each Arab political party turned its attention to assassinating the heads of opposing parties so that by 1948, when Palestinian Arabs most needed strong leadership, they had assassinated all their most promising leaders.
During 1937-1939, according to Martin Gilbert in the 2005 Routledge Atlas of the Arab-Israeli Conflict. (Routledge. ISBN 0-415-35901-5) 5,000 Arabs, 415 Jews, and several hundred Britons were killed. Most British casualties were military but, thanks to Anthony Rae's updated Roll of Honour, we know that at least 28 British Palestine Police were killed, either while on duty or assassinated when off-duty. (There is not yet a completed set of similar data for Jewish and Arab police.)
Next- The McDonald White Paper
Text - Copyright British Palestine Police Association