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Middle East Centre Archive

British Mandate Palestine Police Oral History Project

The Middle East Centre Archive carried out an oral history project in 2006-2007 interviewing former members of the British Mandate Palestine Police.

Palestine Police Group Photo Beersheba 1937 Palestine Police Beersheba, 1937

The purpose of the project was to record the memories of former Palestine Policemen covering recruitment, training, the journey out and experiences of service in the Police as a research resource to compliment and add to the written records of the Palestine Police.

An article on the Palestine Police Oral History Project has been written by Dr Eugene Rogan for the Council for British Research in the Levant Bulletin and can be viewed here as PDF file. The Palestine Police Oral History Project (PDF File).

The Middle East Centre Archive wishes to thank the Palestine Police Old Comrades Association for its support in this project and also the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum for help in training for oral history interviewing and the many students at the Middle East Centre who volunteered to serve as interviewers and the many former Palestine Policemen who have given of their time to be interviewed.

Special thanks are also due to the Council for British Research in the Levant which awarded the Middle East Centre a grant to enable oral history interviews of former Arab and Jewish members of the British Mandate Palestine Police who still live in the Middle East.

Researchers who are interested in the history of the Palestine Police should note that a Source sheet on the Palestine Police is available online which gives details of the holdings at The National Archives (Kew) relating to the Palestine Police. However please note that this resource is part of a Wiki and therefore the information may not be accurate.

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Why interview former Palestine Policemen?

Palestine Police Recruitment Booklet Recruitment Booklet

During the British Mandate (1920-1948) the Palestine Police formed a crucial institution in which British and Palestinian Jewish and Arab Policemen worked together. The success and challenges faced by the Palestine Police are key to a proper understanding of the history of the Palestine Mandate. For example how did the Police relate to the local population, enforce law and manage crisis situations?

Most of the former Palestine Policemen interviewed for this project served at the end of the Palestine Mandate, typically from 1945-1948 and were 18 or 19 when they joined. Consequently the interviews provide insight into a very troubled era when the Police were having to deal with terrorism, communal violence, political uncertainty and the lead up to British withdrawal.

Although each interview will be unique, with former Palestine Policemen giving an account of their individual service, a framework of questions was devised to cover a broad range of subjects. Please see our Palestine Police Oral History Questions (pdf file) for further details.

The interviews are intended to compliment and add to the written record. These include the records of the Palestine Police Old Comrades Association, Palestine Police Service Record Cards and the papers of key figures in the Palestine Police such as Col. Harry Patrick Rice, Col. Alan Saunders, Sir Charles Tegart, John Faraday and Raymond Cafferata as well as a number of former British Constables. Please see our British Mandate Palestine Police Guide for further details.


The Palestine Police Interviews

Researchers are welcome to come and visit the Archive to freely listen to the interviews and read the interview transcripts.

Copyright in the oral history interviews was assigned to the Archive, so that the Archive can make copies for researchers. Sound files cost £5.00 per interview plus VAT. Please note that the sounds files are too large to email and are thus available only via DVD which can be collected or posted.

Considerable work has been done on transcribing the interviews and transcripts are available for all 15 of the interviews. The cost of transcripts is 36p per page (including VAT). This represents a twelfth of the cost to the Archive of creating transcripts and will go towards funding transcribing work for additional talks that have yet to be transcribed.

The existence of a transcript and its length is noted in the list of interviews below.

Please contact the Archivist Debbie Usher if you wish to order transcripts or sound files.

Interview List

  • Bertie Braddick
  • Victor Cannings
  • John Card
  • Martin Duchesne
  • William Gibbons
  • Gerald Green
  • James Hainge
  • Robert Hamilton
  • Frank Jones
  • Roy Leadbeater
  • Geoffrey Owen
  • Roy Rodrick
  • Francis Mark Russell
  • John Tyrrell
  • Edward Wells

  • Palestine Police Magazine Palestine Police Magazine

    More catalogues will be added to this webpage in due course.


    Bertie Braddick

    GB165-0394

    Served in Palestine Police 1947-1948

    Interviewed by William Ward 7 May 2006

    Interview 76 minutes in length

    Transcript available: 15 pages long


    Victor Cannings Collection Catalogue (pdf file)

    GB165-0386

    Served in Palestine Police 1939-1946

    Interviewed by John Knight 27 Feb 2006

    Interview 87 minutes in length

    Transcript available: 29 pages long

    The Victor Cannings Collection also includes a Police identity card, Criminal Code Ordinance for 1936, Palestine Police Magazines 1939-1947, 3 photographs of the Palestine Police Cricket Team, Certificate of Discharge from the Police, a booklet on Jerusalem promoting the work of the Jewish Agency and press cuttings covering bombings and deteriorating security in Palestine 1944-1946 and an essay on Canning's later Cricket Career, 1958.


    John Card

    GB165-0391

    Served in Palestine Police 1945-1948

    Interviewed by Jordan Toone 31 Mar 2006

    Interview 68 minutes in length

    Transcript available: 24 pages long


    Martin Duchesne

    GB165-0390

    Served in Palestine Police 1946-1948

    Interviewed by Nick Kardahji 23 Mar 2006 and a talk at a seminar on the Palestine Police with a question and answer session on 23 Nov 2006

    Interview 108 minutes, Talk 24 minutes

    Interview transcript available: 20 pages long


    William Gibbons

    GB165-0388

    Served in Palestine Police 1946-1948

    Interviewed by Hilary Kalmbach 14 Mar 2006

    Interview 121 minutes

    Transcript available: 34 pages long.


    Gerald Green

    GB165-0404

    Served in Palestine Police 1946-1948

    Interviewed by Eugene Rogan 19 Oct 2006

    Interview 145 minutes in length

    Transcript available: 27 pages long.


    James Hainge

    GB165-0402

    Served in Palestine Police 1945-1948

    Interviewed by Eugene Rogan 5 Jun 2006

    Interview 114 minutes in length

    Transcript available: 28 pages long


    Robert Hamilton Collection Catalogue (pdf file)

    GB165-0392

    Served in Palestine Police 1946-1948

    Interviewed by Sharif Ismail 20 Apr 2006

    Interview 56 minutes in length

    Transcript available: 13 pages long

    The Robert Hamilton Collection also includes a Police Boundaries map showing civil district, sub district boundaries and Police Station Boundary, June 1947.


    Frank Jones Collection Catalogue (pdf file)

    GB165-0389

    Served in Palestine Police 1946-1948

    Interviewed by Nick Kardahji 16 Mar 2006

    Interview 79 minutes in length

    Transcript available: 15 pages long


    Roy Leadbeater

    GB165-0412

    Served in Palestine Police

    Interviewed by Eugene Rogan 22 May 2007

    Interview 163 minutes in length

    Transcript available: 37 pages long


    Geoffrey Owen

    GB165-0403

    Served in Palestine Police 1937-1938

    Interviewed by John Knight 13 Jun 2006

    Interview 92 minutes in length

    Transcript available: 24 pages long


    Roy Rodrick

    GB165-0395

    Served in Palestine Police 1945-1948

    Interviewed by Katja Zvan 10 May 2006

    Interview 72 minutes in length

    Transcript available: 13 pages long


    Francis Mark Russell Collection Catalogue (pdf file)

    GB165-0396

    Interviewed by Eugene Rogan 16 May 2006

    Interview 119 minutes in length

    Transcript available: 43 pages long


    John Tyrrell

    GB165-0413

    Served in the Palestine Police 1945-1948

    Interviewed by Anziska Seth 8 Jun 2007

    Interview 49 minutes in length

    Transcript available: 17 pages long


    Edward Wells Collection Catalogue (pdf file)

    GB165-0393

    Served in Palestine Police 1944-1948

    Interviewed by Josephine Delap 27 Apr 2006

    Intervew 44 minutes in length

    Transcript available: 13 pages long

    The Edward Wells Collection also includes a photocopy of letter from B.N. Hinga (Commissioner of Police, Kenya) to Mr Wells summarising his career and giving thanks for his devoted service, 23 Aug 1965.