Company Sergeant Peter Henman, 1st Battalion, the East Surrey Regiment, recalls peacekeeping operations in a turbulent Palestine, 1945-1946.
Henry Barker
Company Sergeant Peter Henman

Likewise in Jerusalem you said, that was obviously peace keeping duties for the main force?
Well really again we did not really, there was the Palestine police of course who were still civilian powers there. The military were there to stop again vulnerable points getting attacked by the Israelis. The difficulty of Greece was when we first went there I think you were allowed out in twos, armed at all times and eventually I think you had to go out in fours. One at least had to carry a sort of Sten gun or a Thompson sub-machine gun because the problem of course we were armed with pistols, we did not have in the prisons, we did not have in the prisons, we did not have the normal sort of weaponry they were just hand pistols, Smith and Westerns 38, yes, Smith and Westerns, things like that and the ordinary either Stens or as I said Thompson sub-machine guns, but there always had to be four of you to go walking out into the old town. Now in the old town you always felt reasonably comfortable because it was mainly at that time mostly Arabic and the Arabs were sort of fairly friendly towards us where the Israelis were getting a bit stroppy with us but of course if you go back to 1937 it was the other way around. The Arabs were giving us stick and the Israelis were friendly towards us. Very peculiar political situation there of course but the mandate was given to us in 1919 wasn’t it?
Yes I think it was.
I seem to remember. Well I don’t remember it, but I think the mandate was given to us in 1919 after the first war when the Middle East of course was split up mainly between mainly France and Britain really. The Lebanese was French, Syria was French, Jordan was British, I say British but mandated British anyway and then Jordan became an independent kingdom. A peaceful independence as it is today but frankly when you went out you kept your head down and minded your own business. There were various YMCAs in the town, in the city of Jerusalem itself. They were quite well guarded so you could go in there for a cup of tea or coffee and a cake and all the rest of it but you did not spend time out in restaurants really or anything like that.