Dec 1947-April 1948
Pages in Section 11
1947 - Op Polly
i. Dov Gruener's Trial
ii. Haifa Police Station Bombed
iii. Bombing of the Jewish Press Office
iv. The Beginning of the End
v. Op Polly
vi. Executions and Funeral
vii. Irgun Frees Acre Prisoners
On 24 January 1947, Sir Evelyn Barker confirmed the death sentence on Dov Gruner. The planned execution date was 30th January but bhe Palestinian administration needed to secure the safety of British civilians first, so they deferred the execution.
At 2 pm on Friday January 31st the P B S broadcast a short announcement in the three official languages (English, Arabic and Hebrew):
Following on recent events in Palestine it has been decided that British women and children and certain other civilians will be evacuated so that the Government and armed forces will not be hampered in their task of maintaining order. Notification and full instructions are being given to the individuals concerned.
Although this affected all married police of the British Section, it was especially hard on those members of the force, such as ASP Higgins, who had arrived in Palestine as a young Gendarme in 1922. In the early thirties he had married a member of the German Templers, whose family had immigrated into Palestine in the 19th century from a European kingdom that had since become part of Germany. For the Higgins family, like many others, Palestine was home.
Early in February 1947, the great evacuation began. About 100 missionary teachers were evacuated to Transjordan. ensuring the closure of several Palestinian schools. The families of about 300 business men flew to England, via Cairo, but well over 1000 British women and children travelled by plane and train to Egypt, where the military housed them for several uncomfortable weeks in an army camp surrounded by barbed wire at Maadi, virtually imprisoning them because they were on a block visa and so unable to visit friends in Cairo or Alexandria. To add insult to injury, because so many British soldiers had already been demobbed the prison guards were German POWs awaiting repatriation.
For fuller details of Operation Polly see the personal accounts of Martin Higgins and Madge Lindsay at http://www.landofbrokenpromises.co.uk/Palestine/OpPolly/
Executions and Funerals
Text - Copyright British Palestine Police Association